The moment I saw the CNN feed with respect to the release of the 525-page Executive Summary of the Committee Study of the CIA’s Detention & Interrogation Program by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence come across my monitor this morning I have been considering the impact of its contents on the upcoming December 15th and 16th 9-11 hearings at Guantanamo Bay I am scheduled to attend. Throughout the day I listened to reports and interviews of commentators and others. If there is any good news in this matter, it perhaps comes in the words of Senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, when in response to a question by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer she said: “I want the facts to be there so this never happens again.”
The Committee made 20 findings and conclusions; which are listed in the first 19 pages of the report:
- The CIA’s use of its enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees.
- The CIA’s justification for the use of its enhanced interrogation techniques rested on inaccurate claims of their effectiveness.
- The interrogations of CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than the CIA represented to policymakers and others.
- The conditions of confinement for CIA detainees were harsher than the CIA had represented to policymakers and others.
- The CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information to the Department of Justice, impeding a proper legal analysis of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.
- The CIA has actively avoided or impeded congressional oversight of the program.
- The CIA impeded effective White House oversight and decision-making.
- The CIA’s operation and management of the program complicated, and in some cases impeded, the national security missions of other Executive Branch agencies.
- The CIA impeded oversight by the CIA’s Office of Inspector General.
- The CIA coordinated the release of classified information to the media, including inaccurate information concerning the effectiveness of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques.
- The CIA was unprepared as it began operating its Detention and Interrogation Program more than six months after being granted detention authorities.
- The CIA’s management and operation of its Detention and Interrogation Program was deeply flawed throughout the program’s duration, particularly so in 2002 and early 2003.
- Two contract psychologists devised the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques and played a central role in the operation, assessments, and management of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program. By 2005, the CIA had overwhelmingly outsourced operations related to the program.
- CIA detainees were subjected to coercive interrogation techniques that had not been approved by the Department of Justice or had not been authorized by CIA Headquarters.
- The CIA did not conduct a comprehensive or accurate accounting of the number of individuals it detained, and held individuals who did not meet the legal standard for detention. The CIA’s claims about the number of detainees held and subjected to its enhanced interrogation techniques were inaccurate.
- The CIA failed to adequately evaluate the effectiveness of its enhanced interrogation techniques.
- The CIA rarely reprimanded or held personnel accountable for serious and significant violations, inappropriate activities, and systemic and individual management failures.
- The CIA marginalized and ignored numerous internal critiques, criticisms, and objections concerning the operation and management of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.
- The CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program was inherently unsustainable and had effectively ended by 2006 due to its unauthorized press disclosures, reduced cooperation from other nations, and legal and oversight concerns.
- The CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program damaged the United States’ standing in the world, and resulted in other significant monetary and non-monetary costs.
In the Forward to the Committee Study, Senator Dianne Feinstein writes that it is her personal opinion that “CIA detainees were tortured . . . and that the conditions of confinement and the use of authorized and unauthorized interrogation and conditioning techniques were cruel, inhuman, and degrading.” She urges Americans to remember the context (those days following September 11th) in which the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program was created; not as an excuse or rationale for the actions of the CIA, “but rather as a warning for the future.” Senator Feinstein’s advice seems particularly appropriate with the growing threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIL or ISIS) and its ongoing horrific and public treatment of those it deems to be its enemies.
I suspect that people at Guantanamo Bay will be discussing the Report when I am there next week. I will post on what I learn from the discussions. The full report is below:
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(Posted by Catherine Lemmer)