They’re not even going to fire anybody.
Stop believing the lies: America tortured more than ‘some folks’ – and covered it up
Trevor Timm, The Guardian
Tuesday 9 December 2014 13.43 EST
But beyond all the the depravity, perhaps the most shocking part of this exposed history is the action of US officials who knew these horrors were unfolding – and covered them up.
For years, as the 480-page executive summary of the report documents in meticulous detail, these officials lied to the Senate, the Justice Department, the White House, to the American public and to the world. They prevented CIA officers involved from being disciplined. They investigated and marginalized those who were investigating them. They happily leaked classified information to journalists – much of it false – without worry of consequence.
For the past few days, we have seen many of the same resentful politicians and former CIA leaders in charge of the torture-denial regime being handed virtual royalty status by the American media to respond to pre-emptively respond to the report without much of any pushback. Dick Cheney basically got to write his own interview in the New York Times, while Michael Hayden, the former NSA and CIA director in charge of lying to the Senate for years, was handed softball after softball by Bob Schieffer of CBS News to make his case. It is borderline propaganda.
As Schieffer innocently asked Hayden a few days ago: “Do you know of anybody from the CIA, in your view, who lied to Congress about what was going on there?” Hayden’s name appears in the torture report more than 200 times, and most of the references document the various times he knowingly misled one government body or another. As media organizations continue turning to Hayden for comment time and again, they should understand the Senate report indicates that basically every time he’s opened his mouth about “enhanced interrogation” over the past decade, he’s has been lying.
Senate report on CIA torture claims spy agency lied about ‘ineffective’ program
Spencer Ackerman and Dominic Rushe, The Guardian
Tuesday 9 December 2014 15.17 EST
The methods of torture carried out by the CIA were even more extreme than what it portrayed to the George W Bush administration and went beyond techniques already made public through a decade of leaks and lawsuits, which had revealed that agency interrogators subjected detainees to the quasi-drowning known as waterboarding, staged mock executions and revved power drills near their heads.
After examining 20 case studies, the investigators found that torture “regularly resulted in fabricated information”, said committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, in a statement summarizing the findings. She called the torture program “a stain on our values and on our history”.
At least 17 detainees were tortured without the approval from CIA headquarters that ex-director George Tenet assured the DOJ would occur. And at least 26 of the CIA’s estimated 119 detainees, the committee found, were “wrongfully held.”
Contractor psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen played a critical role in establishing the torture program in 2002. A company they formed to contract their services to the CIA was worth more than $180m, and by the time of the contract’s 2009 cancellation, they had received $81m in payouts.
International condemnation was swift. Ben Emmerson, the United Nations rapporteur for counterterrorism, commended the White House for resisting pressure not to publish the report but said action must now be taken.
“The individuals responsible for the criminal conspiracy revealed in today’s report must be brought to justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes. The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorised at a high level within the US government provides no excuse whatsoever. Indeed, it reinforces the need for criminal accountability,” he said.
Senate Torture Report Shows C.I.A. Infighting Over Interrogation Program
By SCOTT SHANE, The New York Times
DEC. 9, 2014
In January 2003, 10 months into the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret prison program, the agency’s chief of interrogations sent an email to colleagues saying that the relentlessly brutal treatment of prisoners was a train wreck “waiting to happen and I intend to get the hell off the train before it happens.” He said he had told his bosses he had “serious reservations” about the program and no longer wanted to be associated with it “in any way.”
The bitter infighting in the C.I.A. interrogation program was only one symptom of the dysfunction, disorganization, incompetence, greed and deception described in a summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report. In more than 500 pages, the summary, released on Tuesday, paints a devastating picture of an agency that was ill equipped to take on the task of questioning Al Qaeda suspects, bungled the job and then misrepresented the results.
The outburst from the chief of interrogations came amid weeks of torture of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a leading suspect in the bombing of two American embassies and a Navy ship. C.I.A. personnel working on the secret program had split into two camps. On one side were the chief of interrogations and nearly all of the on-the-ground personnel who had been questioning Mr. Nashiri. After two months of harsh questioning, the chief wrote, they believed that the prisoner had “been mainly truthful and is not withholding significant information.”
On the other side were James E. Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, two former military psychologists who had advised the agency to use waterboarding and other coercive methods. With the support of C.I.A. headquarters, they repeatedly insisted that Mr. Nashiri and other prisoners were still withholding crucial information, and that the application of sufficient pain and disorientation would eventually force them to disclose it. They thought the other faction was “running a ‘sissified’ interrogation program,” the report says.
The report spends little time condemning torture on moral or legal grounds. Instead, it addresses mainly a practical question: Did torture accomplish anything of value? Looking at case after case, the report answers with an unqualified no.
In fact, it says, “C.I.A. officers regularly called into question whether the C.I.A.’s enhanced interrogation techniques were effective, assessing that the use of the techniques failed to elicit detainee cooperation or produce accurate intelligence.” Nonetheless, higher-ups ordered that the methods be continued and told Congress, the White House and journalists that they were having great success.
Just as striking as that central finding is the detailed account of C.I.A. mismanagement. Both factions in the fight over interrogations, for instance, were led by people with histories that might have been expected to disqualify them.
The chief of interrogations, who is not named in the report, was given the job in the fall of 2002 even though the agency’s inspector general had recommended that he be “orally admonished for inappropriate use of interrogation techniques” in a training program in Latin America in the 1980s.
And Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Jessen, identified by pseudonyms in the report, had not conducted a single real interrogation. They had helped run a Cold War-era training program for the Air Force in which personnel were given a taste of the harsh treatment they might face if captured by Communist enemies. The program – called SERE, for Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape – had never been intended for use in American interrogations, and involved methods that had produced false confessions when used on American airmen held by the Chinese in the Korean War.
Yet the program allowed the psychologists to assess their own work – they gave it excellent grades – and to charge a daily rate of $1,800 each, four times the pay of other interrogators, to waterboard detainees. Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Jessen later started a company that took over and ran the C.I.A. program from 2005 until it was closed in 2009. The C.I.A. paid it $81 million, plus $1 million to protect the company and its employees from legal liability.
Early in the program, the report says, “a junior officer on his first overseas assignment,” who had no experience with prisons or interrogations, was placed in charge of a C.I.A. detention site in Afghanistan known as the Salt Pit. Other C.I.A. officers had previously proposed that he be stripped of access to classified information because of a “lack of honesty, judgment and maturity.”
At the Salt Pit, the junior officer ordered a prisoner named Gul Rahman shackled to the wall of his cell and stripped of most of his clothing. Mr. Rahman was found dead of hypothermia the next morning, lying on the bare concrete floor. Four months later, however, the junior officer was recommended for a cash award of $2,500 for his “consistently superior work.”
The agency even had trouble keeping track of the people it was holding. In a December 2003 cable to C.I.A. headquarters from one of the countries with a secret prison, the C.I.A. station chief wrote, “We have made the unsettling discovery that we are holding a number of detainees about whom we know very little.” Most of the prisoners had not been questioned for months and seemed to have little intelligence value, the cable said.
But little of this kind of disarray came to the attention of the C.I.A.’s congressional oversight agencies, the White House or the public, which were repeatedly assured by a succession of C.I.A. directors that the program was highly professional and very successful.
During the program’s later years, after a damning report in 2004 by the C.I.A.’s inspector general, much of the agency’s effort appears to have gone into public relations to counter a rising tide of dismal news coverage. In 2007, for instance, Michael V. Hayden, then the C.I.A. director, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that “all of those involved in the questioning of detainees are carefully chosen and screened for demonstrated professional judgment and maturity.”
In fact, the Senate report concludes, no such vetting took place. The interrogation teams included people with “notable derogatory information” in their records, including one with “workplace anger management issues” and another who “had reportedly admitted to sexual assault.”
Senate Report Disputes C.I.A. Claims on Hunt for Osama bin Laden
By CHARLIE SAVAGE and JAMES RISEN, The New York Times
DEC. 9, 2014
Months before the operation that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, the Central Intelligence Agency secretly prepared a public relations plan that would stress that information gathered from its disputed interrogation program had played a critical role in the hunt. Starting the day after the raid, agency officials in classified briefings made the same point to Congress.
But in page after page of previously classified evidence, the Senate Intelligence Committee report on C.I.A. torture, released on Tuesday, rejects the notion that the agency would not have found Bin Laden if it had not tortured detainees.
“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.”
It was in 2004 that the C.I.A. came to realize that it should focus on finding Mr. Kuwaiti as part of the hunt for Bin Laden, after it interrogated a Qaeda operative, Hassan Ghul, who had been captured in Iraqi Kurdistan. The report concludes that Mr. Ghul provided “the most accurate” intelligence that the agency produced about Mr. Kuwaiti’s role and ties to Bin Laden.
But the report emphasizes that Mr. Ghul provided all the important information about the courier before he was subjected to any torture techniques and spoke freely to his interrogators. During that two-day period in January 2004, it said, the C.I.A. produced 21 intelligence reports from Mr. Ghul, who one officer said “sang like a Tweety Bird.”
“He opened up right away and was cooperative from the outset,” the officer added.
In those initial interrogations, Mr. Ghul portrayed Mr. Kuwaiti as Bin Laden’s “closest assistant” and said he was always with him, identifying him as a likely courier who ran messages between Bin Laden and other leaders of Al Qaeda. He listed him as one of three people most likely to be with Bin Laden, who he speculated was living in a house in Pakistan, with Mr. Kuwaiti handling his needs.
Nevertheless, the C.I.A. then decided to torture Mr. Ghul to see if he would say more. He was transferred to a “black site” prison, where he was shaved, placed in a “hanging” stress position, and subjected to 59 hours of sleep deprivation, after which he began hallucinating; his back and abdomen began spasming; his arms, legs and feet began experiencing “mild paralysis”; and he began having “premature” heart beats. During and after that treatment, he provided “no actionable threat information” that resulted in the capture of any leaders of Al Qaeda, the report said.
When they talk about the “statute of limitations” they are flat out lying to you.
There is no “statute of limitations” on torture, murder, and war crimes.
There is only “accessory after the fact.”