The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture: Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency's Detention and Interrogation Program

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9781612194851: The Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture: Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency's Detention and Interrogation Program
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“The most extensive review of U.S. intelligence-gathering tactics in generations.” —Los Angeles Times

Meticulously formatted, this is a highly readable edition of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Central Intelligence Agency interrogation and detention programs launched in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
 
Based on over six million internal CIA documents, the report details secret prisons -- like the one in Thailand run by Gina Haspel, currently nominated to be Donald Trump's Deputy Secretary of State -- prisoner deaths, interrogation practices, and cooperation with other foreign and domestic agencies. It also examines charges that the CIA deceived elected officials and governmental overseers about the extent and legality of its operations.
 
Over five years in the making, and withheld from public view since its declassification in April, 2014, this is the full summary report as finally released by the United States government on December 9th, 2014.

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About the Author:

The United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was created by the U.S. Senate in 1976 as a bipartisan committee responsible for overseeing federal intelligence activities.

It is the committee's responsibility to “oversee and make continuing studies of the intelligence activities and programs of the United States Government,” to “submit to the Senate appropriate proposals for legislation and report to the Senate concerning such intelligence activities and programs,” and to “provide vigilant legislative oversight over the intelligence activities of the United States to assure that such activities are in conformity with the Constitution and laws of the United States.”

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

FOREWORD
On April 3, 2014, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted
to send the Findings and Conclusions and the Executive Summary
of its final Study on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program
to the President for declassification and subsequent public
release.

This action marked the culmination of a monumental effort
that officially began with the Committee’s decision to initiate the
Study in March 2009, but which had its roots in an investigation into
the CIA’s destruction of videotapes of CIA detainee interrogations
that began in December 2007.

The full Committee Study, which totals more than 6,700 pages,
remains classified but is now an official Senate report. The full report
has been provided to the White House, the CIA, the Department of
Justice, the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and
the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in the hopes that
it will prevent future coercive interrogation practices and inform the
management of other covert action programs.

As the Chairman of the Committee since 2009, I write to offer
some additional views, context, and history.

I began my service on the Senate Intelligence Committee in
January 2001. I remember testimony that summer from George Tenet,
the Director of Central Intelligence, that warned of a possible
major terrorist event against the United States, but without specifics
on the time, location, or method of attack. On September 11, 2001, the
world learned the answers to those questions that had consumed the
CIA and other parts of the U.S. Intelligence Community.*
* For information on the events at the CIA prior to September 11, 2001, see the Final
Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States (9/11
Commission) and Office of the Inspector General Report on Accountability With Respect
to the 9/11 Attacks.

I recall vividly watching the horror of that day, to include the
television footage of innocent men and women jumping out of the
World Trade Center towers to escape the fire. The images, and
the sounds as their bodies hit the pavement far below, will remain
with me for the rest of my life.

It is against that backdrop—the largest attack against the
American homeland in our history—that the events described in this
report were undertaken.

Nearly thirteen years later, the Executive Summary and Findings
and Conclusions of this report are being released. They are highly
critical of the CIA’s actions, and rightfully so. Reading them, it is easy
to forget the context in which the program began—not that the context
should serve as an excuse, but rather as a warning for the future.
It is worth remembering the pervasive fear in late 2001 and how
immediate the threat felt. Just a week after the September 11 attacks,
powdered anthrax was sent to various news organizations and to two
U.S. Senators. The American public was shocked by news of new
terrorist plots and elevations of the color-coded threat level of the
Homeland Security Advisory System. We expected further attacks
against the nation.

I have attempted throughout to remember the impact on the
nation and to the CIA workforce from the attacks of September 11,
2001. I can understand the CIA’s impulse to consider the use of every
possible tool to gather intelligence and remove terrorists from the
battlefield,* and CIA was encouraged by political leaders and the public
to do whatever it could to prevent another attack.

The Intelligence Committee as well often pushes intelligence
agencies to act quickly in response to threats and world events.
Nevertheless, such pressure, fear, and expectation of further terrorist
plots do not justify, temper, or excuse improper actions taken
by individuals or organizations in the name of national security. The
major lesson of this report is that regardless of the pressures and the
need to act, the Intelligence Community’s actions must always reflect
who we are as a nation, and adhere to our laws and standards. It is
precisely at these times of national crisis that our government must be
guided by the lessons of our history and subject decisions to internal
and external review.

Instead, CIA personnel, aided by two outside contractors, decided
to initiate a program of indefinite secret detention and the use
* It is worth repeating that covert action authorities approved by the President in September 2001 did not provide any authorization or contemplate coercive interrogations.

This Committee Study documents the abuses and countless
mistakes made between late 2001 and early 2009. The Executive
Summary of the Study provides a significant amount of new information,
based on CIA and other documents, to what has already
been made public by the Bush and Obama Administrations, as well
as non-governmental organizations and the press.
The Committee’s full Study is more than ten times the length
of the Executive Summary and includes comprehensive and excruciating
detail. The Study describes the history of the CIA’s Detention
and Interrogation Program from its inception to its termination, including
a review of each of the 119 known individuals who were held
in CIA custody.

The full Committee Study also provides substantially more detail
than what is included in the Executive Summary on the CIA’s
justification and defense of its interrogation program on the basis
that it was necessary and critical to the disruption of specific terrorist
plots and the capture of specific terrorists. While the Executive
Summary provides sufficient detail to demonstrate the inaccuracies
of each of these claims, the information in the full Committee Study
is far more extensive.

I chose not to seek declassification of the full Committee Study
at this time. I believe that the Executive Summary includes enough
information to adequately describe the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation
Program, and the Committee’s Findings and Conclusions
cover the entirety of the program. Seeking declassification of
the more than six thousand page report would have significantly
delayed the release of the Executive Summary. Decisions will be
made later on the declassification and release of the full 6,700-page
Study.

In 2009, when this effort began, I stated (in a press release coauthored
with the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Senator Kit
Bond) that “the purpose is to review the program and to shape detention
and interrogation policies in the future.” The review is now
done. It is my sincere and deep hope that through the release of these
Findings and Conclusions and Executive Summary that U.S. policy
will never again allow for secret indefinite detention and the use of
coercive interrogations. As the Study describes, prior to the attacks of
September 2001, the CIA itself determined from its own experience
with coercive interrogations, that such techniques “do not produce
x intelligence,” “will probably result in false answers,” and had historically
proven to be ineffective. Yet these conclusions were ignored. We
cannot again allow history to be forgotten and grievous past mistakes
to be repeated.

President Obama signed Executive Order 13491 in January 2009
to prohibit the CIA from holding detainees other than on a “shortterm,
transitory basis” and to limit interrogation techniques to those
included in the Army Field Manual. However, these limitations are
not part of U.S. law and could be overturned by a future president
with the stroke of a pen. They should be enshrined in legislation.
Even so, existing U.S. law and treaty obligations should have
prevented many of the abuses and mistakes made during this program.
While the Office of Legal Counsel found otherwise between
2002 and 2007, it is my personal conclusion that, under any common
meaning of the term, CIA detainees were tortured. I also believe
that the conditions of confinement and the use of authorized and
unauthorized interrogation and conditioning techniques were cruel,
inhuman, and degrading. I believe the evidence of this is overwhelming
and incontrovertible.

While the Committee did not make specific recommendations,
several emerge from the Committee’s review. The CIA, in its June
2013 response to the Committee’s Study from December 2012, has
also already made and begun to implement its own recommendations.
I intend to work with Senate colleagues to produce recommendations
and to solicit views from the readers of the Committee Study.
I would also like to take this opportunity to describe the process
of this study.

As noted previously, the Committee approved the Terms of
Reference for the Study in March 2009 and began requesting information
from the CIA and other federal departments. The Committee,
through its staff, had already reviewed in 2008 thousands
of CIA cables describing the interrogations of the CIA detainees
Abu Zubaydah and ‘Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, whose interrogations
were the subject of videotapes that were destroyed by the CIA
in 2005.

The 2008 review was complicated by the existence of a Department
of Justice investigation, opened by Attorney General Michael
Mukasey, into the destruction of the videotapes and expanded by Attorney
General Holder in August 2009. In particular, CIA employees
and contractors who would otherwise have been interviewed by the
Committee staff were under potential legal jeopardy, and therefore
the CIA would not compel its workforce to appear before the Committee.
This constraint lasted until the Committee’s research and
documentary review were completed and the Committee Study had
largely been finalized.

Furthermore, given the volume and internal nature of relevant
CIA documents, the CIA insisted that the Committee enter into an
arrangement where our staff would review documents and conduct
research at a CIA-leased facility rather than at the
Committee’s offices on Capitol Hill.

From early 2009 to late 2012, a small group of Committee staff
reviewed the more than six million pages of CIA materials, to include
operational cables, intelligence reports, internal memoranda and
emails, briefing materials, interview transcripts, contracts, and other
records. Draft sections of the Study were prepared and distributed to
the full Committee membership beginning in October 2011 and this
process continued through to the Committee’s vote to approve the
full Committee Study on December 13, 2012.

The breadth of documentary material on which the Study relied
and which the Committee Study cites is unprecedented. While
the Committee did not interview CIA officials in the context of
the Committee Study, it had access to and drew from the interviews
of numerous CIA officials conducted by the CIA’s Inspector
General and the CIA Oral History program on subjects that lie at
the heart of the Committee Study, as well as past testimony to the
Committee.

Following the December 2012 vote, the Committee Study was
sent to the President and appropriate parts of the Executive Branch
for comments by February 15, 2013. The CIA responded in late June
2013 with extensive comments on the Findings and Conclusions,
based in part on the responses of CIA officials involved in the program.
At my direction, the Committee staff met with CIA representatives
in order to fully understand the CIA’s comments, and then
incorporated suggested edits or comments as appropriate.
The Committee Study, including the now-declassified Executive
Summary and Findings and Conclusions, as updated is now final
and represents the official views of the Committee. This and future
Administrations should use this Study to guide future programs, correct
past mistakes, increase oversight of CIA representations to policymakers,
and ensure coercive interrogation practices are not used by
our government again.

Finally, I want to recognize the members of the staff who have
endured years of long hours poring through the difficult details of
one of the lowest points in our nation’s history. They have produced
the most significant and comprehensive oversight report in the Committee’s
history, and perhaps in that of the U.S. Senate, and their
contributions should be recognized and praised.
Daniel Jones has managed and led the Committee’s review
effort from its inception. Dan has devoted more than six years to
this effort, has personally written thousands of its pages, and has
been integrally involved in every Study decision. Evan Gottesman,
Chad Tanner, and Alissa Starzak have also played integral roles in the
Committee Study and have spent considerable years researching and
drafting specific sections of the Committee Study.
Other Committee staff members have also assisted in the review
and provided valuable contributions at the direction of our
Committee Members. They include, among others, Jennifer Barrett,
Nick Basciano, Michael Buchwald, Jim Catella, Eric Chapman, John
Dickas, Lorenzo Goco, Andrew Grotto, Tressa Guenov, Clete Johnson,
Michael Noblet, Michael Pevzner, Tommy Ross, Caroline Tess,
and James Wolfe. The Committee’s Staff Director throughout the
review, David Grannis, has played a central role in assisting me and
guiding the Committee through this entire process. Without the expertise,
patience, and work ethic of our able staff, our Members would
not have been able to complete this most important work.
Dianne Feinstein
Chairman
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
COMMIT TEE S TUDY O F THE C ENTRAL
INTELLIGENCE AGENCY ’ S DETENTION
AND INTERROGATION PROGRAM
SENATE S ELECT
COMMIT TEE
ON INTELLIGENCE
FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS
Approved: December 13, 2012
Updated for Release: April 3, 2014
Declassification Revisions: December 3, 2014

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