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Leaked Senate torture report conclusions say program 'far worse' than Congress knew

Leaked Senate torture report conclusions say program 'far worse' than Congress knew

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In early April, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to declassify nearly 500 pages of a report on "enhanced interrogation," frequently characterized as torture, under the George W. Bush administration. Now, McClatchy has obtained and published a two-page list of findings, confirming that the Senate believes the CIA impeded legal oversight, went beyond limits set by the Department of Justice, and misrepresented the program, which the report describes as far more brutal than previously known. Committee chair Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has previously condemned the program as "a stain on our history that must never again be allowed to happen," even accusing the CIA of breaking into Senate computers to erase evidence.

The 6,300-page full report was based on classified information and will not be released in its entirety; the executive summary and other pieces must go through a declassification review by the CIA and White House. McClatchy's documents present broad conclusions that nonetheless paint a damning picture. "The CIA's use of enhanced interrogation techniques was brutal and far worse than the agency communicated to policymakers," says one statement. Another calls the CIA's claims about how many people were subject to its enhanced interrogation techniques, including stress positions and waterboarding, inaccurate. "The CIA did not conduct a comprehensive or accurate accounting of the number of individuals it detained and held individuals who did not meet the legal standard for detention," it says. Former CIA director Michael Hayden said during his tenure that that the number was around 30.

The CIA allegedly provided false information to the Department of Justice and actively avoided oversight by it as well as Congress, the White House, and the CIA Office of Inspector General. It also is said to have "manipulated the media" by coordinating the release of classified information that made the program appear more effective than it was. In reality, the Senate report concludes, it provided little intelligence value and sometimes actively hampered the missions of other agencies, and the CIA did little to evaluate how well it actually worked. Agency members who acted inappropriately or committed "serious violations" in the program, meanwhile, were allegedly rarely held accountable. In 2005, the agency destroyed 92 tapes of interrogation recordings as scrutiny of its techniques mounted. More recently, it supposedly attempted to suppress evidence of its own internal report, which called the effectiveness of the program into question.