Torture and Lies

CIA misled on interrogation program, Senate report says

By Greg Miller, Adam Goldman and Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post

Published: March 31

“The CIA described [its program] repeatedly both to the Department of Justice and eventually to Congress as getting unique, otherwise unobtainable intelligence that helped disrupt terrorist plots and save thousands of lives,” said one U.S. official briefed on the report. “Was that actually true? The answer is no.”

Classified files reviewed by committee investigators reveal internal divisions over the interrogation program, officials said, including one case in which CIA employees left the agency’s secret prison in Thailand after becoming disturbed by the brutal measures being employed there. The report also cites cases in which officials at CIA headquarters demanded the continued use of harsh interrogation techniques even after analysts were convinced that prisoners had no more information to give.

U.S. officials said the committee refrained from assigning motives to CIA officials whose actions or statements were scrutinized. The report also does not recommend new administrative punishment or further criminal inquiry into a program that the Justice Department has investigated repeatedly. Still, the document is almost certain to reignite an unresolved public debate over a period that many regard as the most controversial in CIA history.

The Damning New Torture Report Shows The CIA Doing What It’s Always Done

By Charles P. Pierce, Esquire

on April 1, 2014

Surely this can’t be the work of the all-too-human, but mysteriously error-prone, heroes of our surveillance state? Surely this must be the result of the fact that Glenn Greenwald is a big dork, and, besides, Amazon has your information, so what do you care if the government does, anyway? Surely this can’t be the result of how we, as a nation, allowed the surveillance state to metastasize to the point at which it has corrupted almost every inch of our democracy. It will be easy to dismiss this, and the revelations about the NSA, as two different horses of two different colors, but the fact is, it is all of a piece. Once you accept one massive and ongoing violation of the Constitution in the name of security, whether or not it is obscured by a figleaf of legality provided by the government’s pet lawyers, you will find it difficult to get outraged about another one. Once you have allowed the surveillance state to grow, it will operate on its own imperatives, outside democratic norms.

And it’s not like this should be a surprise. The CIA — and all the elements of the intelligence apparatus — has played fast and loose with this country’s rule of law since its founding. The Church Committee gave us a very clear picture of the undying mentality of the CIA, and that was 40 years ago. That mentality demands that, if the CIA wants to do something, we should get out of the way and let them do it because they are imbued with a messianic fervor by which even their more grotesque mistakes — and history tells us there are a lot of them — are sanctified by a sense of holy mission.

“Misled investigators” is a nice, polite, journalistically objective way of saying “lied to the Congress.” People go to jail behind that stuff. Of course, the messianic sense of mission precludes punishments that might fall like bricks on ordinary mortals.

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