CIA torture report released by Senate Intelligence Committee reveals horrors at hands of US agents
By RYAN GORMAN
The Senate Intelligence Committee's report of alleged CIA torture of terror suspects across black sites has been released.
Many of the key findings were already known, but some – including the discovery of "rectal feeding," sexual threats to children and spouses and at least one death – reflect the brutality of the torture of the detainees at the hands of American intelligence agents.
The 500-page report summary, made public Tuesday morning, has been in the works for months and details the "advanced interrogation techniques" used against suspected al-Qaida terrorists during the administrations of U.S. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
The torture lasted from late 2002 to early 2009 and was far more harmful than the agency previously let on. It also led to no credible information of any imminent attacks. President Bush was largely kept in the dark about the tactics and was "uncomfortable" when he found out, the report revealed.
"This program was morally, legally and administratively misguided," Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said Tuesday morning during an open session of Congress. "This nation shall never again engage in these tactics."
Even Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, both of whom served under Bush, were kept largely in the dark over the extent of the torture, according to the report.
CIA officials even wrote they feared former Secretary of State Colin Powell would "blow his stack" if he discovered the extent of the torture network.
The White House was only told of the torture tactics in 2006, according to the report.
The terror suspect who died was under the supervision of a junior agent at an offsite referred to as "Cobalt," according to the report.
He was chained partially nude to a concrete floor in November 2002 and is believed to have succumbed to complications from hypothermia.
"The following year, the CIA's inspector general acknowledged the agency had little awareness of the operations at Cobalt."
The report also found that 26 of the 119 detainees were wrongfully held, some for months after it was determined their incarceration was not warranted.
"The CIA's actions are a stain on our values," Feinstein said.
As expected, waterboarding was found to cause physical harm, and induced convulsions and vomiting.
"Abu Zubaydah, a Saudi Arabian currently held at Guantanamo Bay, became 'completely unresponsive with bubbles rising through his open full mouth,' during one session," according to the report.
Many of these detainees were told they would never leave CIA custody. Zubaydah was told he would leave only in "a coffin-shaped box," according to a CIA cable cited by the report. That same cable also indicated agents planned to cremate him at death.
At least five suspects endured forced "rectal feeding" despite no documented medical need, the intelligence committee found.
A drill was used to threaten at least one detainee at a black site in Poland, according to the report. Her was also blindfolded and a pistol held to his head.
Ice water baths and sleep deprivation were also among the torture techniques used against the suspects. The detainees were also often savagely beaten, starved and forced to wear diapers.
The agency failed to review previously-used coercive interrogation tactics and did not consult other parts of government for best practices, according to the report.
CIA personnel were inadequately trained and vetted, the committee found. None of the agents found guilty of the torture were ever held accountable for their actions.
Outside psychologists were contracted to develop the list of techniques and, in some cases, to personally apply them, according to the report. Two contracted psychologists even formed their own company and were paid $80 million to run the interrogation program.
The records reviewed by the committee include finished intelligence assessments, CIA operational and intelligence cables, memorandums, emails, real-time chat sessions, inspector general reports, testimony before Congress, pictures and other records, according to Feinstein.
It was discovered that roughly 40-50 people were running the entire program, often despite objections from the agents forced to carry out the torture, Feinstein said.
Release of the executive summary was previously delayed, according to Feinstein, but was finally released because global instability that prompted its delay has not cleared up. The finalized report will be in excess of 6,000 pages.
Roughly 2,000 Marines around the Middle East have been put on heightened alert for retaliatory attacks in light of the report's release.
"History will judge us by our commitment to a just society governed by law and our willingness to face an ugly truth and to say never again," said the Senator. "This report is too important to shelve indefinitely.
"America is big enough to learn when its wrong and confident enough to learn from it's mistakes," she continued. "We are, in fact, a just lawful society."
Read the full report below:
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