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The CIA Torture Report Is Far Worse Than Feared

Today, after much protestation, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report of the CIA’s torture and “enhanced interrogation” techniques used in against suspected terrorists following 9/11. Nobody suspected this would be a particularly fun read, but the findings are far worse than was feared. The CIA misled the White House about the extent of the torture being used, and what may be even worse, torturing suspected terrorists proved ultimately ineffective. No useful data about imminent threats were ever elicited through the CIA’s torture techniques. As The Daily Beast puts it: “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.”

The report reveals the prisoners with broken legs were forced to stand, or went as long as 180 hours without sleep. One prison was so cold that a suspect “essentially” froze to death. The waterboarding technique—originally believed to have been used sparingly—was far more common than officials were led to think. Detainees’ mothers were threatened and there were reports of sexual abuse. Detainees were subject to “rectal feeding” and “rectal hydration.”

Responding to the report, President Barack Obama lauded the CIA’s role in protecting the country, but said that the report “reinforces my long-held view that these harsh methods were not only inconsistent with our values as nation, they did not serve our broader counterterrorism efforts or our national security interests …I hope that today’s report can help us leave these techniques where they belong—in the past” …

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