The Senate Intelligence Committee has released a controversial report on the CIA's "enhanced interrogation" methods. Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced the report, which casts doubt on the effectiveness of the program.
On Tuesday, it was Senator Dianne Feinstein who introduced the 500 page censored summary of a 6,000-page report on CIA "enhanced interrogation techniques," a document which quickly earned the nickname "the CIA torture report."
The release of the report has been highly controversial, and the Senate, the White House, and the CIA have been arguing over how much of it to censor for months.
Senator Feinstein, a Democrat and head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was an important player in the push to release the committee's report on the CIA's "Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation" program, introduced during George W. Bush's administration in the wake of the September 11 attacks and shut down by Barack Obama after only two days in office.
An ineffective, brutal, mismanaged program
The report details the use of "brutal" methods used by CIA employees and private contractors in attempts to coerce information out of at least 119 suspected terrorists, such as waterboarding, sexual threats, threats to suspects' families, round-the-clock torment, and even the case of one man who died of hypothermia after being left chained to a wall, naked, for more than a day.
The summary also gave details of how the CIA wrongfully held at least 26 individuals and propagated false stories such as al Qaeda attempting to recruit African Americans, according to news agency Reuters.
Feinstein broke the report's criticism of the program into four categories: the program was not effective at gathering useful information, the CIA misled the government, including President Bush and Vice President Cheney, the media, and the public as to the methods and successes of the program, management was flawed and inadequate, and that the techniques used were far more brutal than the CIA led anyone to believe. She said that the CIA's claims of thwarted terrorist plots were unfounded or greatly exaggerated.
She gave the example of Abu Zubaydah, an alleged al Qaeda operative who was subjected to waterboarding, isolation, cramped confinement, and sleep deprivation before his purported status as an important lieutenant to Osama bin Laden was cast into doubt.
On the other hand, the senator was quick to praise "law-abiding" CIA employees, stating that the summary was not a condemnation of the CIA in general but rather of this one particular program that was, in her words, "a stain on our history."
es/sb (AFP, dpa, Reuters)