Senate under pressure to release mammoth report on CIA interrogation

By | December 15, 2012

Senate under pressure to release mammoth report on CIA interrogation

Republican senators could move to keep under wraps a 6,000-page report detailing CIA methods during ‘war on terror’
A prominent Senate select committee is coming under pressure to release the 6,000-page report of its investigation into controversial interrogation techniques adopted by the CIA during the so-called “war on terror”.

The Senate select committee on intelligence was expected to vote on Thursday to approve the report, the result of a mammoth three-year investigation into CIA methods that have been widely denounced as a form of torture. Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic head of the committee, has called the inquiry the “most definitive review of this CIA programme to be conducted”.

The Senate is expected to approve the report, given the Democratic control of the committee. However, lack of co-operation from the Republican members of the panel could prevent the document ever seeing the light of day.

Some of the top retired military leaders in the US have appealed to the committee to adopt the report and to publish it with as few redactions as possible. A joint letter from 26 of them – including retired marine generals Joseph Hoar, former commander-in-chief of United States Central Command, and Charles Krulak, former commandant of the marine corps – was sent to the committee on Wednesday protesting the Bush administration’s use of torture.

“As retired generals and admirals,” the letter reads, “we know that torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment produces unreliable results and often impedes further intelligence collection. Torture is unlawful, immoral and counterproductive.”

Yet, the letter continues, it is still argued today that torture led to the killing of Osama bin Laden, and that the CIA should still have the power to engage in such practices. “The committee’s comprehensive review will demonstrate the negative impact of torture on our national security and stand as a testament against those who urge otherwise.”

The Senate has spent the past three years investigating the CIA’s detention and enhanced interrogation techniques for the period beginning in 2002 after 9/11 and the start of the war in Afghanistan and ending in 2009 when incoming President Barack Obama banned the use of torture. The controversial practices included waterboarding, stress positions, forced nudity, beatings and sleep and sensory deprivation as well as the “rendition” or extra-legal extradition of terror suspects to a network of secret prisons.

The report runs to almost 6,000 pages and is based on more than 6m pieces of information. Feinstein has said that the report is “comprehensive, it is strictly factual, and it is the most definitive review of this CIA programme to be conducted”.

It is believed to conclude that the “enhanced interrogation techniques” adopted by the CIA during the Bush years did not produce any major breakthroughs in intelligence. The finding, if confirmed, would contradict previous claims by President Bush himself, his vice-president Dick Cheney and other prominent Bush administration figures who said that extreme interrogation methods allowed the CIA to extract valuable intelligence from a small number of high-level detainees. …

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Why could Republican Senators move to keep the truth under wraps? Because tens of thousands of us, millions of us, the 99%, we the fat and the apathetic American people are not doing what we should: holding our government accountable.

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