On The Senate Select Committee On Intelligence Committee Study Of The Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention And Interrogation Program
First off, you can read it or download it (my choice was to download so I can read it carefully) here.
What follows is little more than a reaction to the following meme I saw:
Not only was I offended by this image and idea. I was infuriated. Any and every sentient American remembers the events of September 11, 2001. Every American who remembers that day remembers the fear, the anger, the sadness. Not too long ago I saw an old movie shot in New York, and the towers were in the background, and I got choked up. Even to suggest that the events of that day, including those people who chose death through jumping, are significant excuse to ignore the horrible things the United States Central Intelligence Agency did is not only immoral. It’s insulting. It insult the living by hinting that we somehow care less for the lives lost that day than do those “patriots” who think it’s somehow OK to be no better than the Germans and Japanese during World War II, or the Spanish Inquisition. After all, those “stress positions” have been around for a while. It also insults the dead, many if not most of whom would not wish to be memorialized by their nation’s loss of any legal or moral center.
One particular form of “enhanced interrogation” – bureaucratese for torture – that has been outlawed for centuries suddenly became a staple of the CIA.
And let’s not forget the man who had his son dragged in to the room where he was being interrogated. The boy was 13. The man was told the boy would be castrated in front of him if he didn’t give the interrogator information. Isn’t that funny? What a bunch of jolly jokers those CIA folks were!
As for the report itself, let me just copy and paste finding number 1. Please remember this isn’t a partisan report; the report is the result of an audit of CIA documents and conclusions.
The Committee makes the following findings and conclusions:
#1: The CIA’s use of its enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of
acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees.
The Committee fmds, based on a review of CIA interrogation records, that the use of the CIA’s
enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of obtaining accurate information
or gaining detainee cooperation.
For example, according to CIA records, seven of the 39 CIA detainees known to have been
subjected to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques produced no intelligence while in CIA
custody.* CIA detainees who were subjected to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques
were usually subjected to the techniques immediately after being rendered to CIA custody.
Other detainees provided significant accurate intelligence prior to, or without having been
subjected to these techniques.
While being subjected to the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques and afterwards, multiple
CIA detainees fabricated information, resulting in faulty intelligence. Detainees provided
fabricated information on critical intelligence issues, including the terrorist threats which the
CIA identified as its highest priorities.
At numerous times thi’oughoutthe CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program, CIA personnel
assessed that the most effective method for acquiring intelligence from detainees, including from
detainees the CIA considered to be the most “high-value,” was to confront the detainees with
information already acquired by the Intelligence Community. CIA officers regularly called into
question whether the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques were effective, assessing that the
use of the techniques failed to elicit detainee cooperation or produce accurate intelligence.
So you may not care how we treated those we had captured. You might find it hysterical to baptize with freedom all those men so they believe they are drowning. You might not care that a man was threatened with watching his son be castrated in front of him. The point of interrogation, however, isn’t to get our jollies, or get revenge, or to make couch-potato patriots feel good. The point of interrogation is to get information we can use to prevent the loss of life. There is no evidence these enhanced interrogation techniques ever produced any actionable intelligence. So, don’t give a shit. Remember, though, while the CIA was waterboarding those folks, and stripping and putting others in stress positions, denying sleep to still others, people were continuing to die because we weren’t interrogating these people correctly (this says nothing about whether those treated in such a manner had any information to give in the first place). So go ahead. Be proud of not caring that we tortured people to no effect. That there might well be blood on the hands of the CIA because they didn’t get actionable information, even occasionally false information, well, that must be part of that whole baptism for freedom, right?