The Senate Intelligence committee finally released their report (10 years late) about the use of torture (the CIA called it “harsh interrogation”) after 9/11 and even though it was heavily redacted, it confirms what this blog and many others said at the time. It didn’t provide us with any information we couldn’t have gotten by other (legal) methods. It didn’t prevent any terrorist attacks (there was no “ticking time bomb” information). And it produced floods of “fabricated” information because people being tortured will just make shit up in order to appease their torturers.
And not only that, but it shows that the CIA lied to us about the harshness of the techniques. What was done would be considered torture by any reasonable person, and thus should be considered war crimes. Prisoners actually died from the torture.
Even people inside the CIA knew that the program was a train wreck. According to their own people, the CIA bungled the job of interrogating Al Qaeda suspects and then lied about the results. Internally, CIA officers regularly questioned whether the use of harsh methods (torture) was producing accurate intelligence, but higher-ups ordered that the techniques continue and told Congress, the White House, and journalists that they were having great success.
And finally, the use of torture hurt us more than it helped us, as it became an effective recruiting tool for terrorists and deeply hurt our country’s standing in the world. We became a monster and we will pay the price. Imagine what we would have done if any other country had committed such crimes against us.
You can read the whole report here. Although it is very long and detailed, and just reading a few pages selected at random made me ill.
UPDATE: The link in the last paragraph to the Senate report doesn’t seem to work any more. You can find it on the same website at http://www.intelligence.senate.gov/press/committee-releases-study-cias-detention-and-interrogation-program. There is also a copy of the report at this alternative site: http://loadedtrolley.com.au/study2014-sscistudy1/