Journalism in the Public Interest

The Senate Report on CIA Interrogations You May Never See

The Senate intelligence committee is set to vote next week on the results of its 3-year investigation into detention and interrogation at the CIA. Whether any of the report will be made public is unclear.


(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

Update, Dec. 14: The intelligence committee voted 9 – 6 yesterday to approve its report on the CIA's detention and interrogation program. It's still not clear when, or if, it will be declassified.

A Senate committee is close to putting the final stamp on a massive report on the CIA’s detention, interrogation and rendition of terror suspects. Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., who heads the Select Committee on Intelligence, called the roughly 6,000-page report “the most definitive review of this CIA program to be conducted.”

But it’s unclear how much, if any, of the review you might get to read.

The committee first needs to vote to endorse the report. There will be a vote next week.

Republicans, who are a minority on the committee, have been boycotting the investigation since the summer of 2009. They pulled back their cooperation after the Justice Department began a separate investigation into the CIA interrogations. Republicans have criticized that inquiry, arguing that the interrogations had been authorized by President George W. Bush’s Justice Department.  (In August, Attorney General Eric Holder announced the investigation was being closed without bringing any criminal charges.)

Even if the report is approved next week, it won’t be made public then, if at all. Decisions on declassification will come at “a later time,” Feinstein said.

According to Reuters, the Senate report focuses on whether so-called “enhanced interrogation” tactics – including waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and other techniques – actually led to critical intelligence breakthroughs. Reuters reported earlier this year that the investigation “was expected to find little evidence” that the torture was in fact crucial.

Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney and others have repeatedly said that such tactics produced important information. They’ve also said waterboarding was used on only a handful of high-level detainees, a claim which recently came into question. Feinstein has previously disputed claims that such interrogations led to Osama Bin Laden. (It is also still unclearwhat key members of Congress knew about the program, and when they knew it.)

Much about the CIA’s program to detain and interrogate terror suspects has remained officially secret, despite widespread reporting and acknowledgement by Bush.  Obama banned torture upon taking office and released documents related to program, including a critical report from the CIA’s Inspector General.

But the Obama administration has argued in courts that details about the CIA program are still classified. (As we have reported, this has led the administration to claim in some cases that Guantanamo detainees’ own accounts of their imprisonment are classified.)

clarence swinney

Dec. 8, 2012, 10:46 a.m.

SOCIAL SECURITY is praised worldwide as the very best program.
I gladly paid a little for 35 years for a small pension. I appreciate it.
It pays it’s way. Since 1981, the government has borrowed 2700 Billion from it.
It draws interest on those securities.
The top rate can be increased as needed to keep it solvent for decades.
A change to tax “all” income will do much to keep it solvent.
Gambling in derivatives should be taxed. It is usually simple one on one betting.
Such actions adds nothing to our Standard Of Living.
MEDICARE is pay your way. The problem for 50 years has been rising costs.
The World Health Forum ranks us 37% on Efficiency in Health Care yet we pay far more than most efficient. President’s audit team has gotten billions in fines and paybacks from overcharges.
VETERAN ADMINISTRATION. Yes! They earned our upkeep for fighting our wars.
Try criticizing benefits to top 10% for such as tax breaks, refunds, etc.

Smells like it, tastes like it, feels like it, but we really shouldn’t confirm it’s sh&t. Instead, a once proud nation of citizens who fought wars and gigantic legal battles against government sponsored torture, has now become a shameful torturer itself. Weakened by fear, and now too shameful and shy to subject it’s torture policies to light. If torture was so useful, why not disclose it the public? I believe the answer to be obvious, it’s because it failed miserably and stained our image. But trying to sweep it under the rug, or wiping it with a rag, just spreads the stain and adds to bad smell. Someone at the congress should access the wiki leaks website. Lets learn from it and hopefully avoid it from being used again. Keeping it quiet is too risky. The frightened few who supported the torture policies may be back again one day to use it on our own citizens. Uncover the s@it and let the open democratic air of debate have at it. It’s the American way.

Sleep deprivation, waterboarding are nowhere near what real torture is. When you see the videos of mutilation, beheading that the muslim world has consistently used to intimidate and threaten the rest of the world, our techniques seem both tame and justified to me.  If short of death is used to get info to protect our people, I support it.  Wiki leaks put americans in danger, so don’t try to elevate it to credible when its objectives clearly disregarded caring about for american lives.  Exposing those americans to harm, torture and killing were not a consideration.  Can’t have it both ways in your agrument!

This is the evidence that’s needed to prosecute the Bush/Obama criminals. It’s going in the same black hole as the truth about the assassinations of the 60s (all of ‘em) and the truth about GHW Bush/Reagan and Iran-Contra.
Don’t expect Barry to do the right thing for America.

Spat, you are not living in reality.  H. H. has it exactly right.  Just because other countries use torture, does that mean that we should lower ourselves to their miserable place in the world?  Besides, it’s been fairly well proven that the one who is being tortured will give his captors the answer he thinks they are looking for, no matter what the real truth is.  If, by some chance, the captive did give them the truth under torture and it was not the answer they were looking for, they are most likely going to disregard it anyway, until he does give them the answer tthey are looking for.  As for the criminals in our government who approved the torture, they should be prosecuted and the evidence, unless it is proven to be a genuine security threat, should be released to the public in all it’s gory details.  By openly airing our dirty laundry to the whole world, we are telling them that the behavior of our military, politicians, and others is not acceptable and that we are making a commitment that this will not happen again.  By the way, I consider the folks at wikileaks to be heroes, for by releasing those documents to the world they shed light on all that was wrong with 2 undeclared wars, and one endless war on terror.  Freedom comes at a price, but at no time should freedom of the press and the right to speak out against your own government be given up to preserve security and safety..

LEAVE SS ALONE WE PAID FCDOR IT ALL THESE YEARS And we are entilled to it since can not get medicare cause of the drugerees have access to it but people thart really need it can not everything is going up but our ss and we hAVE TO Pay the price rthers do to especiaaly peoiple who used theystem for there andvage so you need to investage the welfare and people who taKES ADVANTAGE ALSO I AM HAVIN G TO LET THINGS GO ALL THE TIME CAUSE OF FBI816 WANTING WANTING ME TO PAY 210,000 TO COT SO ITS ABNOUT TIME THE FRAUDS PAY FOR IT All so all ofd them can pay cot and sues of 5400 to i am being sued because of them i askedf some questions but never got any stright answeers for anybody or a letter in the mail from fbi in washing dc or kc

if the government has no intention of releasing this report, then what is the point of conducting the investigation which lead to the writing of the report?  We might just as well simply “accept” the “truth” as spoon fed us by the government.  In which case, why not simply grant Obama the same decree-authority as claimed by Egypt’s Morsi?

Everyone knows that American spies and military used torture on a variety of human beings.  Why not simply bring the facts out into the open air and let the chips fall where thay may.  Torture does not work, yet the morons-in-power still resort to it because they lack imagination and are short on character. 

Would America not be better off if, instead of resorting immediately to military force that we actually engaged in SERIOUS diplomatic exchanges even if it might seem that America might actually lose some ground in the short run as a result of those negotiations.

Why can’t anyone think beyond the next 30-minutes and imagine outcomes that aren’t obvious?

I wonder if the report contains anything at all about Obama’s secret torture site in Somalia (reported in The Nation, but ProPublica won’t allow links in its comments).

Or about the fact that under Obama, captives are routinely turned over to the secret part of Bagram prison so the Afghans could do the torturing.

Turning over prisoners to a 3rd country for the express purpose of torture is a violation of the Geneva Conventions, and is a War Crime.

When we sink as low as our enemy, then the enemy has already won.

But what the heck, Americans couldn’t care less. Obama is drone-murdering kids every day and they say nothing.

I’m sure none of this will ever see the light of day.

But Kudos to ProPublica for even mentioning it. I haven’t seen it anywhere else.

spatch, do you believe in witches?

While I might understand your position that there are different levels of torture (though I don’t understand why you’d condone any level at all, as a citizen of a country built on civil liberty), understand that the techniques you’re OK with are how the Spanish Inquisitioners got their confessions.

Seriously, ignore the fact that you’re probably not a doctor or experienced in what the human body or mind can recover from.  Ignore that terrorists are already pretty screwed up, fragile people manipulated into sacrificing their lives for someone higher up.  Even ignore the fact that every inch we allow the government is a mile it’ll take against us later.

If you don’t believe in witchcraft, then you should probably be skeptical of any intelligence gathered using the same tools.

ccrider27, comments with links are moderated, so they usually show up eventually (sometimes longer than others), but you can usually get around it by lopping off the prefix.

For example, I don’t think this’ll trigger any moderation, at the expense of not making it link automatically:

Otherwise, you’re absolutely right that it’s interesting nobody else can be bothered to even mention this report.  It goes to show how reliant the media really has become on press releases.  They’ll talk about rumored Apple releases, Syria, and the British nurse who died, but this is waaay off the radar.

John: Ok here goes…,0,7841354.story

@ccrider27 and John—we mentioned those and several other stories in our reading guide to detention and rendition and the Obama administration a few months back:

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