Earlier today, a Democrat-led Senate panel released a scathing report on CIA interrogation practices in response to warnings from lawmakers that the findings would “endanger the lives of Americans”. The report claimed that the interrogation techniques they used were extremely brutal, far worse than what the CIA had represented to lawmakers. In addition, the report claimed that the tactics weren’t effective, and the spy agency gave “inaccurate” information about it to Congress and the White House. The report characterized CIA management of the program as “deeply flawed”, although agency officials have staunchly defended it and credited it with helping to track down various terrorist leaders, including bin Laden.
Dianne Feinstein, the head of the panel who ordered the release of the report, alleged on the Senate floor that the CIA techniques could in some cases be considered “torture”. She claims that the report was “too important” to indefinitely shelve. Obama backed the decision to release the report, despite warnings from lawmakers that it could lead to a significant backlash against Americans. In the aftermath of the report’s release, over 6,000 US Marines overseas have been put on “high alert”. Many Republican senators have dismissed this as a “partisan move” by the Democrats. In a joint statement earlier today, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Saxby Chambliss slammed the release, calling is “ideologically motivated”. The report, a roughly 500-page report that summarizes a summary of a still-classified 6,000-page study, is the fullest public accounting from the Democratic Party of the CIA’s alleged use of torture on suspected Al Qaeda detainees in the aftermath of 9/11.
In response to the report, the CIA acknowledged that they made “mistakes” with their detention and interrogation program, yet disputed claims that the interrogations weren’t effective. They claim that the interrogation program was able to produce valuable and actionable intelligence, specifically citing the identification of the courier who led to bin Laden. After 9/11, CIA officials say that the program provided the “bedrock” understanding of Al Qaeda network, which is still being drawn on today. The CIA believes that the report seeks to “minimize” the intelligence that led to the capture of bin Laden. According to former CIA officers, lawmakers encouraged them to do “whatever it took” to prevent another attack on the scale of 9/11.
The report contains plenty of damning evidence about the CIA’s methods, alleging that they used such tactics as waterboarding, sleep deprivation, confining detainees to small boxes, threatening them with death and subjecting them to various inhuman methods to obtain information out of them. Yesterday, the White House reiterated its support for the release of the report, in spite of warnings that it could provoke violence. In anticipation of the release, an advisory has been sent urging US personnel overseas to reassess security measures. It directs all overseas posts, including those used by the CIA, to “review their security posture”.