The Full Chaotic Horror Unfolds

Andrew Sullivan —  Dec 9 2014 @ 11:28am

CIA Torture Report

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Shane Harris and Tim Mak report on the “most gruesome moments” from the torture report. Among them:

[T]he CIA also forced some detainees who had broken feet or legs to stand in stress-inducing positions, despite having earlier pledged that they wouldn’t subject those wounded individuals to treatment that might exacerbate their injuries.

The CIA’s utter incompetence is staggering:

While the CIA has said publicly that it held about 100 detainees, the committee found that at least 119 people were in the agency’s custody. “The fact is they lost track and they didn’t really know who they were holding,” the Senate aide said, noting that investigators found emails in which CIA personnel were “surprised” to find some people in their custody. The CIA also determined that at least 26 of its detainees were wrongfully held. But due to the agency’s poor record-keeping, it may never be known precisely how many detainees were held, and how they were treated in custody, the committee found.

Or whether they died. The NYT summary has this:

Detainees were deprived of sleep for as long as a week, and were sometimes told that they would be killed while in American custody. With the approval of the C.I.A.’s medical staff, some C.I.A. prisoners were subjected to medically unnecessary “rectal feeding” or “rectal hydration” — a technique that the C.I.A.’s chief of interrogations described as a way to exert “total control over the detainee.” C.I.A. medical staff members described the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, as a “series of near drownings.”

The report also suggests that more prisoners were subjected to waterboarding than the three the C.I.A. has acknowledged in the past. The committee obtained a photograph of a waterboard surrounded by buckets of water at the prison in Afghanistan commonly known as the Salt Pit — a facility where the C.I.A. had claimed that waterboarding was never used. One clandestine officer described the prison as a “dungeon,” and another said that some prisoners there “literally looked like a dog that had been kenneled.”

This is the professionalism we’ve been told so much about – the tightly controlled, thoroughly humane interrogation practices that the CIA could keep firmly within legal parameters. And what, exactly, did we get for this barbarism? Nothing:

The Senate Intelligence Committee reviewed 20 cited examples of intelligence “successes” that the CIA identified from the interrogation program and found that there was no relationship between a cited counterterrorism success and the techniques used. Furthermore, the information gleaned during torture sessions merely corroborated information already available to the intelligence community from other sources, including reports, communications intercepts, and information from law enforcement agencies, the committee found.

Stay tuned as we mine the actual report for more info.