This is a report from The Hill dated 13 December 2012 (one day before the Sandy Hook shooting, interestingly enough).  Though the Administration still hasn't seen fit to release the 6,000-page report, another independent group released their own 577-page report with their findings on the same day as the Boston Bombing, 15 April 2013.

Senate intel panel approves torture report

By Jordy Yager - 12/13/12 06:20 PM ET
 

The Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday voted to approve its long-awaited report on the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” under former President George W. Bush.

Members of the Democrat-led panel voted largely along party lines, 9-6, to approve the more than 6,000-page report. The report has been more than three years in the making and will remain classified at least until the Obama administration has a chance to review it.

Committee Chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said that after reviewing more than 6 million pages of CIA and intelligence documents, investigators issued a series of 20 findings and conclusions, which the panel also voted to approve.

Feinstein said she hopes the report will help to resolve long-lasting disagreements over whether U.S. military and spy agencies should ever use interrogation tactics, such as sleep deprivation and waterboarding.

“The report uncovers startling details about the CIA detention and interrogation program and raises critical questions about intelligence operations and oversight,” said Feinstein in a statement.

“I am confident the CIA will emerge a better and more able organization as a result of the committee’s work. I also believe this report will settle the debate once and for all over whether our nation should ever employ coercive interrogation techniques such as those detailed in this report.”

Thursday's vote triggers a lengthy review process in which the White House, the intelligence community and members of the panel will determine what information, if any, can ultimately be declassified and released to the public. Feinstein told reporters on Wednesday that it would be a tricky declassification process because much of the material reviewed by investigators was itself classified. 

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who sits on the intelligence panel and was a prisoner of war during Vietnam, pressed his colleagues to release the report to the public.

“Our enemies may act without conscience, but we do not,”  McCain said in a statement ahead of the vote, which he did not attend because he was scheduled to appear at an event in Arizona.

“It is indispensable to our success in this war that those we ask to fight it know that, in the discharge of their dangerous responsibilities to our country, they are never expected to forget that they are Americans, and the valiant defenders of a sacred idea of how nations should be governed and conduct their relations with others — even our enemies.”

Scores of human rights groups also pressed for the report’s public release, saying that it’s declassification was essential to “set the record straight.”

The release of the report would likely move the issue of enhanced interrogation to the forefront of the political debate, as discussions over whether to close the Guantánamo Bay prison have recently been reignited. The prison — where many of the U.S.’s high-value detainees who were captured abroad have been held — is seen by some to be a continuing symbol of the controversial interrogation techniques and damaging to America’s reputation in the world.

President Obama banned the use of the controversial interrogation techniques as one of his first acts in the White House.

Some Republicans and intelligence officials argue that the president wouldn't have been able to order the killing of Osama bin Laden without the intelligence that the techniques produced.  

Democrats have waged an extensive battle against the controversial interrogation methods. They said they were misled about the use of the tactics and argue they amounted to torture and violated international war laws.

The Bush administration argued that the methods, which were used on self-professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, among others, were within the law and helped U.S. intelligence officials disrupt terrorist plots against the United States.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) came under fire in 2009, when it was revealed that CIA officials briefed her and other members of the House Intelligence Committee about the techniques in 2002 and 2003. 

Around the same time, the Senate Intelligence Committee, under the direction of Feinstein, launched the first extensive investigation into whether the techniques were useful in gathering intelligence.

— This story was updated at 5:50 p.m.



The following was reported on by The New American:


Tuesday, 16 April 2013 16:00

New Report Calls Evidence of U.S. Torture "Indisputable"

Written by 
 

A two-year-long non-partisan study has concluded it is "indisputable" that the United States engaged in the practice of torture in the years following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The 577-page report by the Constitution Project also makes clear that the highest officials of the U.S. government were responsible. The policy is unprecedented in the United States, the report said, in "the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody."

The study, by an 11-member panel convened by the Constitution Project, a legal research and advocacy group, was to be released on Tuesday morning, the New York Times reported, though by Tuesday noon, it still had not been posted on the organization's website. The panel was co-chaired by former Congressman Asa Hutchinson, a Republican from Arkansas, and James R. Jones, a Democrat and a former ambassador to Mexico.

Both former President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney have admitted authorizing waterboarding of high-ranking al-Qaeda prisoners, a process that simulates drowning for a detainee who is tied to a board while water is poured down his nose and throat. The report says the CIA also slammed detainees into walls, chained them in uncomfortable positions for hours, stripped them of clothing, and kept them awake for days on end. A series of memos from the Office of Legal Counsel from the U.S. Department of Justice during the Bush administration claimed the methods, officially known as "enhanced interrogation techniques," were legal under certain conditions. While human rights organizations and some news commentators denounced the measures as "torture," most major news organizations shied away from the word. As the Times acknowledged Tuesday: "News organizations have wrestled with whether to label the brutal methods unequivocally as torture in the face of some government officials' claims that they were not."

Even the International Committee of the Red Cross, after an internal debate over whether to speak out publicly about the abuses, decided not to, the report found, delaying public exposure of violations of international as well as U.S. law. The panel found the United States also violated international law with "enforced disappearances" and secret detentions of suspected terrorists. Much of the information obtained through coerced testimony or confessions was unreliable, according to the report, which concluded that any valuable information that was obtained through illegal interrogation methods could have been obtained by legal, nonviolent means.

There is "no justification" for relying on torture, the report says, and doing so has "damaged the standing of our nation, reduced our capacity to convey moral censure when necessary and potentially increased the danger to U.S. military personnel taken captive."

The task force traveled to several detention sites as it studied the treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and at the CIA's secret prisons. Staff members interviewed dozens of former American and foreign officials, as well as former detainees, the Times reported. The panel did not have access to classified material, including a 6,000-page report on CIA activities by the Senate Intelligence Committee, based only on CIA records.

Both the Senate and the Constitution Project reports were undertaken as a result of President Obama's decision in 2009 to oppose the creation of a national commission to investigate the post-911 counterterrorism programs. Obama said he wanted to "look forward, not backward," but some of his own policies have perpetuated, and in some cases exceeded, the abuses of the Bush administration. The incumbent has continued the practice of holding prisoners indefinitely without charge or trial, for example, and his use of drones for targeted killings of suspected terrorists, including at least two U.S. citizens, goes beyond the more limited use of the unmanned bombers by his predecessor.

The panel called for the release of the still classified Senate report. "I had not recognized the depths of torture in some cases," co-chairman Jones said. "We lost our compass."

Hutchinson, who served in the Bush administration as chief of the Drug Enforcement Administration and under secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, acknowledged that he took some convincing, but said the two-year study makes clear the United States has relied on torture in its counterterrorism campaign.

"This has not been an easy inquiry for me, because I know many of the players," he told the Times. Hutchinson said he believed the decisions of everyone involved, including President Bush, were made in an effort to prevent more terrorist attacks. But their actions went against what America stands for, he said. "The United States has a historic and unique character, and part of that character is that we do not torture."

But that proposition appears to be up for debate, both here and around the world, given the policies and practices of the past several years and the fact that many influential figures in and around Washington still hold to the rationale of the "torture memos" produced for Justice Department between 2002 and 2005. "As long as the debate continues," the report says, "so too does the possibility that the United States could again engage in torture."

 


 

 
 

The Unintended Consequences of the Boston Massacre: THE SPECIFIC INDICTMENT of Bush Jr/Obama/CIA/US Military