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CIA's 'harsh interrogations' exceeded legal authority

(Reuters) - A classified U.S. Senate report found that the CIA's legal justification for the use of harsh interrogation techniques that critics say amount to torture was based on faulty legal reasoning, McClatchy news service reported on Thursday.

The Central Intelligence Agency also issued erroneous claims about how many people it subjected to techniques such as simulated drowning, or "water boarding," according to the news service, citing conclusions from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report obtained by McClatchy.

The report also concluded that the CIA used interrogation methods that were not approved by its own headquarters or the U.S. Justice Department, impeded White House oversight and actively evaded oversight both by Congress and its own Inspector General.

The CIA also provided false information to the U.S. Justice Department, which used that information to conclude that the methods would not break the law because those applying them did not specifically intend to inflict severe pain or suffering, the report added.

Human rights activists called for the immediate declassification of the entire document.

"The report's findings appear to show that the CIA systematically misled Congress, the White House, and the Department of Justice about its brutal and unlawful interrogation program," said Raha Wala, senior counsel at Human Rights First in Washington.

"How does it make sense for the president to allow the CIA to take charge of declassifying a report that shows unlawful and embarrassing conduct on its part?" she asked in a statement responding to the McClatchy report.

CIA spokesman Dean Boyd told Reuters he could not comment because the report is still classified.

"As we have stated previously, the CIA, in consultation with other agencies, will carry out an expeditious classification review of those portions of the final SSCI report submitted to the Executive Branch for review," he said.

"Our response to the 2012 version of the SSCI report found several areas in which CIA and SSCI agreed, and several other areas in which we disagreed," he added.

A version of the report was finished in 2012, but it was revised before the Senate committee voted in favor of declassifying parts of it, including its findings and conclusions, on April 3.


Senator Dianne Feinstein, the committee's Democratic chairwoman, said then she hoped President Barack Obama's administration would declassify the report within 30 days.

Feinstein declined to comment on McClatchy's story, but said: "If someone distributed any part of this classified report, they broke the law and should be prosecuted."

The vote to lift the blackout on the summary and recommendations of the 6,200-page report followed an unprecedented clash between Feinstein and the CIA. Feinstein accused the agency of spying on Democratic committee staff who compiled it and the CIA accused staff members of illegally obtaining CIA documents.

The massive undertaking has also caused tensions between Democrats on the intelligence committee, who conducted the report, and some committee Republicans, who said they considered the process politicized and the report biased.

They disputed assertions that the interrogation techniques had not helped to track down now slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden or others suspected of terrorism.

Once the White House and CIA finish the declassification process, the report will give the world its first official look at the regimen of interrogation and detentions in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks under Republican U.S. President George W. Bush.

McClatchy posted this link to what it said were the list of findings in the Intelligence committee report.

Holder Wants Senate's CIA Torture Report

(Reporting and writing by Patricia Zengerle; additional reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by Miral Fahmy)

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Susan April 11 2014 at 3:30 PM

And who decides what is faulty legal reasoning?

Ask the "decider" on that that legal question: If your child was kidnapped and you had in custody someone who could help find your child and save his/her life, would you approve of water boarding--which is not lethal nor deforming-- to get the information needed? Liberals aren't as likely to have their children serve in the military so they can play fast and loose with their interpretations of "torture" because in the back of their minds they doubt their children will be as likely to be in such a situation. Americans are NOT diminished by sacrificing one terrorist to enhanced interrogation if it will save innocents but the "feel good" let's- be- kind- to-our- enemies - trying- to- kill- us left is delivering US to the enemy on a platter.

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aazzqq April 11 2014 at 3:17 PM

Only the liberal morons and the friends of the DNC in the media will trumpet this report as ANYTHING VALID. This is a HIGHLY PARTISAN report, generated by a HIGHLY PARTISAN DEMOCRATIC committee, who's "conclusions" were reached WELL BEFORE any so called "investigation" In other words, this is a JOKE.

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spifty46 April 11 2014 at 3:19 PM

We have the same CIA telling Iran is close to nukes , wmds, the same CIA that told use Iraq had them and since the democrats including the President have taken the position of not forth coming in any over sight, why should we expect less......we are leaderless, I believe the Senate Iintell committee knew of much of the CIA's going ons and now because of POLITICAL reasons are trying to cover their backsides. We will again get a LEADER of our country.

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skosta April 11 2014 at 3:19 PM

Libs say torture doesn't work.

I'd like to stick a cattle prod up where the sun doesn't shine and ask them to disavow their precious Obama.

I bet they will.

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1 reply
levybenathome skosta April 11 2014 at 3:41 PM

Torture broke the Czech resistance in WWII. It worked. This has nothing to do with ethics, just facts.

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D P Connor Law April 11 2014 at 3:03 PM

From as far back as the Kennedy Administration the CIA has been out of control. It is my opinioin that there were members of the CIA, back then, that had become alert to the possibility of the Kennedy attack but did nothing. The CIA upper levels considered the Kennedys, Jack and Bobby, as enemies of taht which they wanted to do. The atmosphere of teh CIA has always been "the law be-damned".

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2 replies
Dr. Duncan D P Connor Law April 11 2014 at 3:04 PM

Cry me a river.

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kcarthey D P Connor Law April 11 2014 at 3:08 PM

Good point, even Wild Bill Donovan who founded the OSS at FDR's direction was a Conservative Republican. The CIA has always been a conservative tool.

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Debb April 11 2014 at 3:23 PM

I do not belive anything that comes out of the fedral goverment any more !!!! they all lie and underhanded dealings have gone too far now with Obamas ppl and not inforcing the laws !!!!
I am ready for the new Civil War !!

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2 replies
Ron Debb April 11 2014 at 3:42 PM

Stop watching faux for one week & you will feel a lot better

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Rae Turner Debb April 11 2014 at 3:43 PM

civil war???? defind that please

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PERFORATOR April 11 2014 at 3:24 PM

I dont give a rat's hindquarters about this crap! What I want to know about is Benghazi!

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1 reply
Ron PERFORATOR April 11 2014 at 3:40 PM

Benghazi is where four US citizens died. Irauq is where fourthousand, four hundred US Troops Died & thousands of civilians died.

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holsteingrecco April 11 2014 at 3:30 PM

The RICO statutes state if a suspect is found to be a member of a criminal organization such as the Mafia they can be found guilty of a crime for just belonging to that organization. This statute should be carried to the next logical step: if a suspect is found to be a member of Al Quida then that suspect is automatically guilty of a crime which should be punishable up to & including death.

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Don Bennett April 11 2014 at 3:18 PM

Okay, in the spirit of "equality and fairness" let's put a Muslim in as head of the CIA and see how he would handle interrogations. Do any of the liberal thinkers actually think that we should exhibit a "soft" interrogation to individuals who hate us and want to wipe us off the face of the earth?

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1 reply
cam Don Bennett April 11 2014 at 3:21 PM

Nobody wants to wipe us off the face of the Earth. You're being paranoid. Not even Osama Bin Laden advocated killing all Americans. Two wrongs don't make a right, but two illegals can make a legal.

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1 reply
ftuna2u2 cam April 11 2014 at 3:38 PM

Is he being paranoid, or are you being naive? The muslim tenet is that ALL infidels shall be put to death. The muslim definition of infidels is anyone who does not submit to islam. They do indeed want Americans wiped from the face of the earth, unless of course we submit to their religion. Perhaps you should know something before you post.

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bullwinkle94a April 11 2014 at 2:10 PM

The self-serving SOB's that are critical of the CIA for being "harsh" on terrorists need to move their butts over to the Middle East and be forced to wear an American flag on their clothing as they walk around without bodyguards.

They don't give a damn how many Americans will lose their lives thanks to their desire to grab headlines,publicity,Arab political contributions,and further their careers.

These people are NOT American citizens and they were not captured in America. We can legally treat them the same way they treat everybody else,and they don't have a legal leg to stand on.

They are terrorists trying to destroy our country and our way of life in a religious war,so I am fine with whatever happens to them.

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