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Senate Panel Votes to Release Torture Report

The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 11-3 to declassify and release the executive summary of the infamous torture report they’ve been sitting on for a long time. It’s been sent to the White House for declassification review, so some of it will be redacted, but it’s still a big step in the right direction.

The public will soon get its first look at a voluminous report on the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation practices during the George W. Bush administration, after the Senate Intelligence Committee voted on Thursday to declassify key sections of it.

“The report exposes brutality that stands in stark contrast to our values as a nation,” Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat of California and the chairwoman of the committee, said in a written statement after the vote.

It continued, “This is not what Americans do.”

The committee voted to declassify the report’s executive summary and conclusions — more than 500 of its 6,200 pages. The next step is President Obama’s approval. Mr. Obama, who opposed the C.I.A. program as a presidential candidate and discontinued it once he took office in 2009, has said he wants the findings of the report made public.

The White House would not say how long it would take the administration to review the report for sensitive national security disclosures, but a spokeswoman said the process, which will include a review by the C.I.A., would be expedited.

“We urge the committee to complete the report and send it to us, so that we can declassify the findings and the American people can understand what happened in the past, and that can help guide us as we move forward,” said Caitlin Hayden, the spokeswoman for the National Security Council. “We’ll do that as expeditiously as we can.”

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this happened after the revelations about the CIA spying on Senate staffers during the writing of the report. That clearly infuriated Dianne Feinstein, who has been an enthusiastic supporter of the NSA’s data mining on everyone else, and she wants revenge on the CIA. So the CIA may well have screwed themselves over. Which is fine with me.

Comments

  1. says

    “The White House would not say how long it would take the administration to review the report for sensitive national security disclosures….”

    Why do I suspect that it will take a very, VERY long time?

  2. says

    Gregory in Seatle:

    I have a feeling that if the White House or CIA drags their feet, we’ll be seeing excerpts of the report being leaked by the Senate. The CIA did a great job of pissing off the Senate Intelligence Committee and their will be blood.

    My predictions:

    1) the extent of the torture will be revealed to be far worse than has already indicated and will involve practices that even Dick Cheney won’t be able to dismiss as “enhanced interogation.”

    2) the information obtained from torture will be revealed to have been less that worthless.

  3. Michael Heath says

    One interesting new tidbit that recently came out of this report was that the CIA was disingenuously conflating successful interrogation results done by professionals, e.g., the FBI’s Ali Soufan, with the unsuccessful results by the torturers. So a non-skeptical reader in the Bush Administration or Congress could have concluded that torture was working on getting intelligence when so far, there’s been no evidence of that. In addition all the actionable evidence available to the public has come from professional interrogation methods rather than from torture.

    So when the Bush Administration went on Fox News and other friendly sites, they might not have been lying about getting actionable intelligence from the use of torture. However and it’s a gigantic however, the informed portion of our public already knew that actionable intelligence was only coming from professional interrogation efforts rather than the CIA’s torturers. That’s because interrogation professionals like Mr. Soufan was talking to the public and some journalists like Jane Mayer were doing their job by also reporting this.

    So even if the Bush Administration wasn’t lying about the efficacy of torture on this narrow detail, it was still a massive failure of epistemic closure, i.e., gross incompetence that led to the number one motivation for al Qaeda to enter Iraq and kill, maim, and terrorize. ‘Narrow detail’ because when we consider the Bush Administration’s use of torture in its complete context, they were almost always lying their ass off.

  4. Alverant says

    And Fox News claims that the investigation is political while still promoting the investigation into Benghazi.
    IOKIYAR strikes again.

  5. steve78b says

    I can’t wait to read the report and find out that most of the torture was in fact forcing people to watch FOX NEWS.

    Talk about cruel and unusual.

  6. D. C. Sessions says

    It’s been sent to the White House for declassification review, so some of it will be redacted

    Like the nouns and verbs?

  7. says

    “The report exposes brutality that stands in stark contrast to our values as a nation,” Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat of California and the chairwoman of the committee, said in a written statement after the vote.

    It continued, “This is not what Americans do.”

    So, Senator Feinstein thinks it does more damage to the GOP, with the election coming, than it does to the Democrats.

    “Even so, the vote did attract some Republican support. “Despite the report’s significant errors, omissions and assumptions — as well as a lot of cherry-picking of the facts — I want the American people to be able to see it and judge for themselves,” Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, the ranking Republican on the committee, said in a written statement.”

    And Chambliss thinks the opposite. That must mean that he’s thinking it’s going to be a heavily redacted version. It just so happens that Sexyboy is right, it IS that version. I have the whole thing:

    “Dear dumbass electorate; Mistakes were made, but not by us. The End.”

  8. Hercules Grytpype-Thynne says

    It continued, “This is not what Americans do.”

    Well, obviously it is.

    No true American . . .

  9. neonsequitur says

    Like the nouns and verbs?

    And all the names of the guilty parties. Probably their victims too. And any witnesses, of course.

  10. Michael Heath says

    Diane Feinstein states:

    “This is not what Americans do [torture].”

    This reminds me of President Bush repeatedly claiming that, “The U.S. does not torture”. I’m paraphrasing though confident I’m very close if not equivalent.

    Mr. Bush was alluding to abu Ghraib where the U.S. would be prosecuting some sacrificial lambs so he could falsely pose as being against torture. As informed people know, not only did the Bush Administration continue to order the administration of torture after Bush made these statements, the abu Ghraib atrocities were compliant with President Bush’s policy on the administration of torture.

    Andrew Sullivan has been an invaluable resource at aggregating the facts regarding the Bush Administration’s torture policy.

  11. eric says

    From the link:

    Republicans on the committee have been harshly critical of the report, calling it a one-sided attempt to discredit the C.I.A. and the Bush administration. As a result, they have refused to take part in the investigation.

    Even so, the vote did attract some Republican support. “Despite the report’s significant errors, omissions and assumptions — as well as a lot of cherry-picking of the facts — I want the American people to be able to see it and judge for themselves,” Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, the ranking Republican on the committee, said in a written statement.

    Now, it seems to me that the question of whether the US tortured prisoners is not the sort of thing that can be cherry-picked. You either waterboarded people or you didn’t. You either electrocuted people or you didn’t. If the report is cherry picking data , what could that mean? That it didn’t include all the instances of us not torturing people? That it doesn’t include some explanation for why we tortured people? I can understand why some of that information could be useful to have in the report – and can understand complaints if it’s not in there – however, it won’t change the primary finding, which is that the US tortured prisoners.

    This is pretty much a case of conclusion-by-example, and you either have the examples, or you don’t. It appears we have the examples.

  12. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @1. SC (Salty Current), OM :

    It continued, “This is not what Americans do.”
    Well, obviously it is.

    Actually I think you’ll find the Americans weren’t the one’s doing the torturing – the torturers will turn out to be Egyptian or other allies. I think the US turned a blind eye and allowed their nastier allies to do the dirty work.

    @5. d.c.wilson :

    2) the information obtained from torture will be revealed to have been less that worthless.”

    Yet they did get Osama Bin laden among others at least in part I gather from information aquired that way.

    (Ever seen ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ which is apparently based on truth?)

    Torture is a horrible and wrong thing, I’m NOT justifying (and despite what some think I haven’t ever done so) but it cannot be denied that sometimes it works and delivers an outcome which has saved lives and made the world better. Or is someone here seriously going to argue it would be a better world if Bin laden were still around plotting more atrocities like 9-11? Shades of grey and least bad choices here people. It isn’t a nice world we live in and there are some evil people out there.

  13. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Which doesn’t make torture right. Just sometimes effective in preventing worse.

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