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The recent Washington Post article reporting some of the details of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the use of torture by the CIA tells us more of what we already have known for a long time: it never worked to produce any good intelligence in the War on Terror.

“The CIA described [its program] repeatedly both to the Department of Justice and eventually to Congress as getting unique, otherwise unobtainable intelligence that helped disrupt terrorist plots and save thousands of lives,” said one U.S. official briefed on the report. “Was that actually true? The answer is no.”…

“The CIA conflated what was gotten when, which led them to misrepresent the effectiveness of the program,” said a second U.S. official who has reviewed the report. The official described the persistence of such misstatements as among “the most damaging” of the committee’s conclusions.

The lies by the CIA to protect the program of torturing suspects was clearly consistent.  Much like the use of imaginary heroics to boost support for the war effort by the Bush administration (see their manipulation of the Jessica Lynch story), the CIA also propagandized their efforts to keep things moving in the wrong direction on torture tactics:

   

Detainees’ credentials also were exaggerated, officials said. Agency officials described Abu Zubaida as a senior al-Qaeda operative — and, therefore, someone who warranted coercive techniques — although experts later determined that he was essentially a facilitator who helped guide recruits to al-Qaeda training camps.
But the question remains: why would anyone, such as torture advocate and former CIA official Jose Rodriguez, continue to claim the program worked and, in essence, should be kept as a possible tactic to use in the future?

It’s clear that part of the reason is that some of these folks want to believe that their work and efforts were useful and made an impact on the intelligence effort.  No one wants to hear that their years of hard work, no matter how despicable, was useless or, even worse, counterproductive to the overall goal of minimizing terrorism.

There could, however, be another rather dubious reason: staying away from any possible penalty for their actions.  As the article points out very briefly:

   

The report also does not recommend new administrative punishment or further criminal inquiry into a program that the Justice Department has investigated repeatedly. (Emphasis added)
If we consider the lies and distortions the CIA dealt to their overseers, we have to question why they continued to use the program because, at this point, it almost seems as if they were just downright sadistic and wanted to hurt people.  And if that was the only logical reason to continue a program they knew was ineffective, they would certainly put themselves in a position to face criminal prosecution at some point.

Which now begs the question, will the Senate report ever be released to the public?  A portion of it may come out but it’s rather doubtful the whole report will be released since the embarrassment of the torture program’s ineffectiveness would be damaging to the entire government, not just the CIA.  The Senate has a reason to keep the whole of that report under wraps and it is likely they will do just that.

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Comment Preferences

  •  To get public support (4+ / 0-)

    That is exactly what Bush/Cheney did after they got caught. Turned to the public, where they got a warm reception.

    "I feel badly about the kids," the unknown person said. "I guess." [but] "They are [only] the children of Buono voters," Wildstein replied.

    by plok on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 04:26:43 PM PDT

    •  The list of crimes includes multiple murder. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      anna shane, allie4fairness, oslyn7

      Not a mass murder. In effect a serial killing.

      The public never saw that stuff.

      Despite the devout cowardice we're seeing in 2014 from our elected representatives, I do expect to see a list of the dead come out of CIA. Or several incomplete lists.

      God gave us Wikileaks, right?

      "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- Rand Ryan-Paul von Koch

      by waterstreet2013 on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 04:39:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  they were set up (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        waterstreet2013

        it was a Bush/Cheney order, but they never admit mistakes, ever ever. It isn't one person, it's a culture.  Thankfully Rachel Maddow is on their case. If they are smart, they will take no position on female reproductive rights or gay civil rights, she's already on them, and that would make her ever more relentless.  

        Rachel has universal appeal, one Christmas dinner everyone there watched her show, not just the lefty democratic women like me, and only today I ran into a 82 years old and he was talking Christie fatigue but mentioned he loves Rachel.

    •  Cover. "It's not torture." Cheney was (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      allie4fairness

      personally involved in overseeing the torture of al Zubaydah in an effort to get false links between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, to justify the Iraqi invasion.
      That's what it was all about.
      Iraq.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 07:46:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  meh "policy differences"...move along (0+ / 0-)

        "I feel badly about the kids," the unknown person said. "I guess." [but] "They are [only] the children of Buono voters," Wildstein replied.

        by plok on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 07:57:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Torture once got bizarre witchcraft confessions (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        David54, oslyn7

        that no reasonable person would now believe.  Enough abuse will get most people to confess to almost anything.  Even mild verbal abuse will get many innocent people to confess to serious stuff just to get the interrogators to shut up.  Look at all the recent DNA exonerations for crimes where the conviction was based on a confession.  

        Alleged terrorists are also more likely to lie just to watch their abusers make fools of themselves chasing false leads.  It has got to be incredibly difficult to tell which stuff is deliberate falsification and which is despairing drivel to stop the abuse.

        Torture is not only morally wrong, but it is obviously useless for getting reliable information.

  •  A: It worked for Jack Bauer - (5+ / 0-)

    at least until the show got cancelled. Now even Scalia has no excuse.

    I've used this sig line for the last 4 years because I want to remember, and I want everyone who reads it to remember, what was done in our name.

    Dick Cheney 2/14/10: "I was a big supporter of waterboarding"

    by Bob Love on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 04:28:20 PM PDT

  •  Gotta be honest (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    waterstreet2013, doc2

    I think that the "torture doesn't work" argument is pretty hollow.

    First, it leaves open the possibility that there are documents somewhere suggesting it does, and once those are released, then what? Is it suddenly validated and vindicated?

    I oppose torture because it's wrong on its face, regardless of what results it produces. If you don't draw a line at the torture of another human being, where do you draw the line? What will you stop at?

    •  Look, this is simple (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Johnny Q


      We've, and still do, heavily condemn others for doing torture and frankly everything that bushco and their teabag congresses along with their '24' supporters. Just because we're, thought to be, superior, doesn't make any think we do it better and thus perfect, as in the '24' reality tv and movie world!

      "If military action is worth our troops' blood, it should be worth our treasure, too; not just in the abstract, but in the form of a specific ante by every American." -Andrew Rosenthal 10 Feb. 2013

      by jimstaro on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 04:42:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  exactly. I'm torture has worked at least (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Termite

      once over the past 2,000 years. All it would take is for one guy to talk, ever. So "it doesn't work" is not a great way to look at the issue.

      •  I doubt it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Johnny Q

        by the time they sing they're wiggy and can't get it right.  Let them talk is what works, not give them a reason to be brave.  

      •  Listen. There were 2 "psychologists" contracted by (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite

        the CIA to use a program modeled on the SEERS program used to condition Navy Seals and Army Rangers in the event of possible capture.

        Cheney kept close oversight on this program.

        SEERS was based on the experience of US soldiers in N. Korea who were captured and tortured to provide false confessions of being "capitalist stooges" etc.

        The program was designed to elicit false connections between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, from Abu Zubaydah and KSM, among others.

        This was all well documented by Ron Susskind.

        I agree that we should just oppose torture, period, regardless of whether it "works" or not. But Cheney is still walking free.

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 07:59:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with your point. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oslyn7

      No torture. period.
      Ever.
      However, there is proof that it doesn't work, and wasn't necessary.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 07:48:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Torture Works, just ask a gopher (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    anna shane, a2nite, DavidMS, AJayne


    Us Vietnam Vets got the answers, at least a few, of why that occupation conflict lasted so long, why I was sent into in '70 and left in '71, I got waterboarded then roughed up in S.E.R.E., after already years of and more years to come, with the bush administration. After so quickly abandoning the missions and troops after 9/11 to invade another country, it was because of the interrogation and torture information gleaned that worked so well. Just ask all the supporters of, mostly GOP, they watched the popular TV drama '24' and like everything else today TV is reality and torture worked great in the show. So it must of been the torture from the North Vietnamese and information from that greatly extended and prolonged that war, they were getting the information needed from the POW's like McCain. So it's time to come clean John, and the others still alive, how much information and what type did you all give up. Been years from and we might understand now, after all it can't just work because we Americans do it any better then anyone else that we've always, and still do, condemn for doing!!

    "If military action is worth our troops' blood, it should be worth our treasure, too; not just in the abstract, but in the form of a specific ante by every American." -Andrew Rosenthal 10 Feb. 2013

    by jimstaro on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 04:38:19 PM PDT

  •  Would we give up 2,997 lives a year (0+ / 0-)

    to keep from torturing or killing 20,000 people ???

    If the answer is "No" then the ghosts of the 9/11 hijackers can count this as their first justification for what they claimed was a just retaliation, despite that they only killed civilians including dozens of Muslims.

    Being a just nation is rarely a bloodless picnic.

    It's not the wars alone that draw out a price.

    "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- Rand Ryan-Paul von Koch

    by waterstreet2013 on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 04:48:48 PM PDT

    •  I think that torturing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      waterstreet2013, allie4fairness

      costs more lives, since there is nothing to prevent innocent fellows from being tortured and nice ladies from being raped.  But those things radicalized people and lead to acts of revenge.  

      You're saying that when we torture we bring on more acts of retaliation, and that helps the terrorists, and I have to say, I agree, we gave them lots of help in recruiting and motivating, just cause some old dudes watched way too much television.

      •  I'm saying that being a torturer or a (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        allie4fairness, anna shane

        murderer needs to be avoided. That implies a risk? O.K. So be it.

        There's 300,000,000+ of us.

        Lose 3,000 every so often? Goes with the territory.

        We lose ten times that number every year so's NRA can keep blackmailing the pols.

        "Stealing kids' lunch money makes them strong and independent." -- Rand Ryan-Paul von Koch

        by waterstreet2013 on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 05:46:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  They won because we became exactly what (0+ / 0-)

      They thought we were. We embraced evil & sadism. Our values of justice & fair play are a joke nope they're a lie.

      The Germans & the Japanese were war criminals for this same shit. Of course 'we the people' has always been a lie to the hated & oppressed.

      But this country was created to own people & to exterminate the natives; that included scalping them for a bounty.

      Nope not surprised about torture because we are so good at it.

      nosotros no somos estúpidos

      by a2nite on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 06:05:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  To dodge the proven allegations of incompetence (5+ / 0-)

    Not only was it evil and pointless it was totally unprofessional and incompetent. Bumbling clowns who had no idea what they were doing pretending to be experts. They were flailing away without a clue while creating the very problems they were trying to solve.

    Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings. Steal a little and they throw you in jail. Steal a lot and they make you king.... Dylan

    by bywaterbob on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 04:55:42 PM PDT

  •  Oh! Oh! I know this one!! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    allie4fairness, Johnny Nucleo

    Because they're evil?

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 05:10:13 PM PDT

  •  For the same reason some people defend slavery, (4+ / 0-)

    They are evil.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 05:19:22 PM PDT

  •  What do you call it (3+ / 0-)

    when interrogators dunk a guy in a tub filled with ice water, forcibly keep his head under the water, beat him repeatedly, hit him with a truncheon, and smash his head against a wall?

    "Harsh detainee treatment," when it's discussed in the newspapers, apparently.

    After all this time, they still can't say the word "torture"!

    •  Yup ! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Garrett, allie4fairness

      Telling the truth is so important, especially on this issue, and too many newspapers dodge by calling it something else, anything else.

              Standing with you, as always,
              for justice and accountability,
                           For Dan,
                           Heather

      Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

      by Chacounne on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 07:23:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Actually, it is VERY likely that the report will (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Garrett, DavidMS

    be released, if we push, according to the Senator staffers I spoke with two weeks ago, when I was lobbying for the release of the report. All of the staffers whose Senators are on the Senate Intelligence Committee were very committed to its release and said their Senators were as well. The vote may come this week or next, so it's VERY important that we all contact our Senators and urge them to vote for the report's release.

                   Standing for justice and accountability,
                                    For Dan,
                                    Heather

    Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

    by Chacounne on Tue Apr 01, 2014 at 05:54:39 PM PDT

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