So, the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was called upon to investigate the way captives were treated by the CIA. The report was commissioned when it came to light that a CIA Director had willfully destroyed hundreds of videos of interrogations. The committee took five years to complete the report at a cost to the US taxpayer of $40 million. To say the report is damning is an understatement.
America likes to call itself the “good guy” and wants to think of itself as the hero of the show; raining down its fire of liberation and hope on the Middle East. They play the part of the knight in shining armour in most of the wars in the world. Of course, most of us aren’t taken in by this shimmering coat of lies, but it’s rare to see the US red tape machine standing up and saying “actually, we’re hideous bastards”; and that’s basically what has happened here.
The report covers CIA bungles, their heavy use of torture and a general disregard for any sort of rule-following whatsoever. After some legal wrangling the report was finally released for the public to peruse earlier this month. At more than 6,000 pages it’s not exactly easy reading but the report’s summary below is all you really need to know.
So here are the 20 key findings laid out in piercing black and white. I haven’t summarised or paraphrased, these are verbatim what the report concludes. It’s difficult to see how the CIA can wriggle out of this crock of poop:
1) The CIA’s use of its enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees.
2) The CIA’s justification for the use of its enhanced interrogation techniques rested on inaccurate claims of their effectiveness.
3) The interrogations of CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than the CIA represented to policymakers and others.
4) The conditions of confinement for CIA detainees were harsher than the CIA had represented to policymakers and others.
5) The CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information to the Department of Justice (DOJ), impeding a proper legal analysis of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.
6) The CIA has actively avoided or impeded congressional oversight of the program.
7) The CIA impeded effective White House oversight and decision-making.