On Tuesday afternoon, an explosive report including the results of a five and a half year investigation of CIA interrogations of terrorist suspects following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks was released by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The results were both shocking and disturbing — the George W. Bush administration deployed torture tactics more brutal than originally reported, the committee said tactics weren’t as effective as reported, and none of those tactics delivered “ticking bomb information,” or information that prevented another terrorist attack.
The torture techniques were “deeply flawed,” according to the report, poorly managed and often resulted in “fabricated” information, according to CNN.
And as damning as all that information is, this is only the tip of the iceberg — Tuesday’s report is an executive summary of the full investigation, which is 6,200 pages long and remains classified.
So what did the report actually reveal? Radio producer Rachel Kurzius took to Twitter moments after it was released and said it all:
— Rachel Kurzius (@Curious_Kurz) December 9, 2014
But more disturbing are the tactics, written in detail, in the report.
Like the admission that waterboarding was used more often than the CIA previously acknowledged. In fact, architect of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, was waterboarded at least 183 times, according to this excerpt from Tuesday’s report:
But the CIA used more than the well-known interrogation tactic of waterboarding to get what we now know as information that never once prevented an attack. In at least one case, the CIA used a tactic known as rectal feeding on a detainee — a process that involves the insertion of food (in this case hummus) into a detainee’s rectum.
The CIA also forced sleep deprivation on detainees, sometimes keeping them awake for over 180 hours. Some were ordered to stand in stress positions or on their feet with their hands above their heads, even with broken or sprained ankles.
And at one point, these “interrogations” killed someone:
The report also brings this shocking detail to life — out of 119 detainees, at least 26 were wrongfully held.
Multiple CIA detainees subjected to the techniques suffered from hallucinations, paranoia, insomnia and tried to mutilate themselves, the report says.
On one occasion, high-value al Qaeda suspect Abu Zubaydah became completely unresponsive after a period of intense waterboarding. He had “bubbles rising through his open full mouth,” the report says.
Meanwhile, the confessed mastermind of the September 11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, was subjected to a “series of near drownings.”
The report finds that at least 119 detainees went through the CIA detention program and at least 26 were held “wrongfully,” partly because there was no information to justify their detention.
Previously, the CIA had said only 100 prisoners had been processed through the program, Democratic Senate aides said.
The CIA provided false information about these interrogations to get approval for the program from the White House, the Justice Department, and Congress. In the end, the committee concluded that none of the interrogation techniques provided any usable intelligence.
From the NYT:
“The vast majority of the intelligence” about the Qaeda courier who led the agency to Bin Laden “was originally acquired from sources unrelated to the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation program, and the most accurate information acquired from a C.I.A. detainee was provided prior to the C.I.A. subjecting the detainee to the C.I.A.’s enhanced interrogation techniques,” the Senate report said.
It added that most of “the documents, statements and testimony” from the C.I.A. regarding a connection between the torture of detainees and the Bin Laden hunt were “inaccurate and incongruent with C.I.A. records.”
President Obama spoke out about the “harsh interrogation methods,” saying that they were “inconsistent with our values as a nation.” But the CIA hit back Tuesday, claiming their methods were effective.
“Our review indicates that interrogations of detainees (subject to enhanced interrogation) did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives,” CIA Director John Brennan said. “The intelligence gained from the program was critical to our understanding of al Qaeda continues to inform our counterterrorism efforts to this day.”
Check out the report below: