Saturday, April 12, 2014

Latest Leak From Senate's CIA Torture Report: CIA Tortured Many More People, Hid Details From Everyone

Tech Dirt | Apr 11, 2014 | Mike Masnick

from the getting-worse-and-worse dept

Every few days, more details leak from the Senate's $40 million, 6,300 page report on the CIA's torture program. We'd already heard about how the torture program turned up no useful info and how the CIA lied to Congress about it (pretending information gleaned from other places was obtained via torture, when the truth was it wasn't). We've also heard about how the CIA's torture practices went beyond the (already too high) levels approved by the DOJ and CIA leadership. The folks over at McClatchy have another batch of details, repeating the revelation from last week that the report details how the torture program went beyond its "legal authority" and also detailing how it was used on many more people than the CIA has admitted to in the past:
The report also found that the spy agency failed to keep an accurate account of the number of individuals it held, and that it issued erroneous claims about how many it detained and subjected to the controversial interrogation methods. The CIA has said that about 30 detainees underwent the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques.

The CIA’s claim “is BS,” said a former U.S. official familiar with evidence underpinning the report, who asked not to be identified because the matter is still classified. “They are trying to minimize the damage. They are trying to say it was a very targeted program, but that’s not the case.”
There are also additional details about how CIA officials tried to mislead practically everyone about all of this. Of particular importance was how the CIA misled the Justice Department, which was in charge of determining if the program was legal. The DOJ did, in fact, approve the use of certain "interrogation methods" (which already seemed way too extreme), but it appears the CIA misled the DOJ about what it was actually doing from the very start:
[Defenders of the CIA's torture program] based their defense on a series of top-secret legal opinions issued by the Justice Department beginning in August 2002. At that time, the agency sought advice on whether using the harsh techniques on Zayn al Abidin Muhammad Husayn, a close aide to Osama bin Laden who went by the nom de guerre Abu Zubaydah, would violate U.S. law against torture.

The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel found that the methods wouldn’t breach the law because those applying them didn’t have the specific intent of inflicting severe pain or suffering.

The Senate report, however, concluded that the Justice Department’s legal analyses were based on flawed information provided by the CIA, which prevented a proper evaluation of the program’s legality.

“The CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information to the Department of Justice, impeding a proper legal analysis of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program,” the report found.
All of this seems consistent with earlier reports, but it's good to see more details coming out. Of course, we're still only seeing bits and pieces, which is why it would be better if the full report were released.

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