Last week, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, gave a searing speech on Capitol Hill accusing CIA officials of hacking into computers to find an internal report that details the agency's torture tactics during the Bush years. Sources now tell Al Jazeera that the report outlines in great detail how the CIA engaged in interrogation tactics that went above and beyond what was legally authorized by President Bush after 9/11. The revelation lends credence to the allegations that the CIA went out of its way to rifle through Senate documents in an effort to cover the findings up.
The CIA reportedly lied about the value of Abu Zubaydah
According to Al Jazeera, two Senate staffers and a US official came forward to state that the Intelligence Committee's analysis, which remains classified, reveals that the torture of Abu Zubaydah early in the War on Terror was either harsher than what was legally permitted — like waterboarding — or was ordered before the White House gave official authorization. Moreover, the CIA reportedly lied about his value to the White House and Justice Department. Zubaydah was long viewed as a top al-Qaeda operative, but has not yet been charged despite still being detained at Guantanamo Bay. Senate officials had spent years investigating the agency's torture practices, and Feinstein stated last week that the CIA consistently impeded the review, even going so far as to remove files from the Senate database.
It stands to reason that the Intelligence Committee got more intel on the interrogation program than the spy agency ever intended. As reported by McClatchy earlier this month, Senate officials gained access to what is known as the Panetta report, an incomplete, informal CIA study commissioned by former director Leon Panetta whose findings mirror those of the committee's, and conflicts with the agency public accounts of torture tactics. In addition, sources say officials spoke with former FBI agent Ali Soufan, whose notes gave detailed accounts of Zubaydah's torture.
"Nothing could be further from the truth."
Going forward, the CIA will almost certainly be on the defensive about these allegations. While the CIA committed to an investigation into its officers spying on Senators prior to the dustup, CIA head John Brennan has so far denied Feinstein's accusations, saying "As far as the allegations of the CIA hacking into Senate computers, nothing could be further form the truth."