GOP’s ‘rebuttal’ to torture report is tellingly half-hearted

The most convincing proof of the overall accuracy and importance of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture can be found, ironically, in the minority report that was filed by Republican senators, purportedly to rebut the committee findings.*

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden

The minority report makes no attempt to dispute that people died while being tortured, that innocent people were tortured, that the program was shoddily run, that the two contract psychologists who devised and led the torture program had no experience as interrogators or with waterboarding, that the agency ignored many of its own interrogation experts in quickly establishing torture as the norm, that the FBI and military were so horrified that they refused to participate, that some detainees were forced to undergo medically unnecessary “rectal feeding,” that another was left standing and shackled to a wall for 17 days because the CIA simply forgot he was there, and that waterboarding and other torture techniques were used far more often than the agency admits.**

The minority report addresses none of those topics.

Instead, it attempts two things:

1.) It attempts, in half-hearted fashion, to rebut claims that the CIA lied to Congress, the executive branch and the American people about what was going on.

2.) It argues that contrary to the majority report, torture (although it doesn’t call torture “torture”), did produce important intelligence that saved American lives and helped lead to the capture or elimination of terrorists.

Again, what’s telling is what is missing. Major allegations of deception and false testimony by the CIA and its top leaders go completely unaddressed in the minority report. Those allegations are central to the case that the CIA deceived its supposed supervisors in Congress and the executive branch; the fact that minority report makes no attempt whatsoever to rebut them means that they stand unchallenged, as do the conclusions that must flow from them.

And when the minority report does attempt to challenge claims of official CIA deception, it often is forced to concede what it attempts to deny:

“While our review of the documentary record did reveal some instances of inaccurate effectiveness claims by the CIA …”

“Although these (presidential) briefing materials did contain some erroneous information about KSM’s interrogation …”

“In its response to the Study, the CIA concedes that the agency erred in describing detainee reporting as contributing to al-Marri’sarrest ….”

“The Study correctly points out that CIA statements implying that detainee information led to the “identification” or “investigation” of lyman Faris were inaccurate….”

On the question of whether torture was effective, those who have already made up their minds one way or the other will find evidence to support their claims. The report will not settle that. However, the tone of the debate is best captured in the case of Abu Zubaydah, who was the first detainee to be extensively tortured.

The committee report notes that upon his capture, Zubaydah was fully cooperative, gave very valuable evidence to FBI interrogators and showed every sign that he would continue to respond to traditional techniques. However, upon being turned over to the CIA, he was immediately subjected to torture.

The minority, led by Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, argues that the information that was extracted from Zubaydah after torture began proves that torture works. The majority report argues that since Zubaydah was already cooperating before being tortured, his later cooperation after torture commenced proves nothing.

To my mind, however, here’s the most important paragraph in the minority report filed by Chambliss and his colleagues:

“Our review of the facts contained in the documentary record has led us to the opposite conclusion—that the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program, including the use of enhanced interrogation, was an effective means of gathering significant intelligence information and cooperation from a majority of these CIA detainees. Our conclusion, however, should not be read as an endorsement of any of these particular enhanced interrogation techniques.” (emphasis mine).

Even in the minority report, Chambliss and his colleagues do not wish to be seen as endorsing the tactics that they are in effect endorsing.

In that moral distancing, they echo the reaction of the CIA’s chief of interrogations, who back in 2003 emailed colleagues that he would “no longer be associated in any way with the interrogation program due to serious reservation about the current state of affairs’ and was retiring. “This is a train wreak [sic] waiting to happen and I intend to get the hell off the train before it happens.”

It also echoes reports from the scene of Zubaydah’s torture, filed by CIA officers:

August 8, 2002: “Today’s first session … had a profound effect on all staff members present … it seems the collective opinion that we should not go much further … everyone seems strong for now but if the group has to continue … we cannot guarantee how much longer …  Several on the team profoundly affected …. some to the point of tears and choking up.”

August 9, 2002: “two, perhaps three [personnel] likely to elect transfer” away from the detention site if the decision is made to continue with “enhanced interrogation”.

August 11, 2002: Viewing the pressures on Abu Zubaydah on video “has produced strong feelings of futility (and legality) of escalating or even maintaining the pressure.” Per viewing the tapes, “prepare for something not seen previously.”

In 2007, then-CIA director Michael Hayden was asked point-blank in a Senate hearing: “Did any CIA personnel express reservations about being engaged in the interrogation or these techniques that were used?”

“I’m not aware of any,” Hayden told Congress. “These guys are more experienced. No.”

——————-

*One Republican senator, Susan Collins of Maine, broke party lines to support the majority report.

** For example, the committee notes a photograph found in CIA files of a fully operational, well-used waterboard, complete with filled buckets of water, etc., in a prison site at which the CIA had claimed no waterboarding occurred. The agency offered no explanation for how that occurred.)

 

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1222 comments
hamiltonAZ
hamiltonAZ

Some ask why the report should be released. In defending its release, Sen. McCain gets it right this time. Says he:

"I have often said, and will always maintain, that this question isn't about our enemies; it's about us. It's about who we were, who we are and who we aspire to be. It's about how we represent ourselves to the world," he said.

McCain added, "When we fight to defend our securit,y we fight also for an idea ... that all men are endowed by the Creator with inalienable rights."

"Our enemies act without conscience. We must not," he added.

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

Republicans think torturing other human beings is acceptable.  They even enjoy it.  Republicans are sadists.

LordHelpUs
LordHelpUs

'Asked specifically about the rectal rehydration instance detailed in the report, Cheney said: "I don't know anything about that specific instance -- I can't speak to that."'

Coward...'can't speak to that' or his role in the stain on the country's legacy.  How many deferments did this coward seek when it was his turn to serve...yet 'would do it again' and put more soldiers in greater harm by promoting unnecessary wars and state sanctioned torture.

History will be unkind to this subhuman POS.

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@LordHelpUs @InTheMiddle2  Do not even begin to equate or brave servicemen to those low life cowards. In fact, this and worse has  already happened to our servicemen in the past. I do not think torture should be done at all, but not everything that might make you uncomfortable is torture, although a slightly under temperature  latte is close.

tireOfIt
tireOfIt

“I cannot believe, given the history of this country, that no matter what the threat to our country that we would forsake our protection of liberties to the extent that we would advocate torture as a way of getting evidence,”

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

@tireOfIt  The issue I have is twofold, first how do we define torture. By todays standard ANYTHING that might make you feel even slightly uncomfortable is torture. The second is the sudden infection of the Stockholm Syndrome.

LordHelpUs
LordHelpUs

@InTheMiddle2 @tireOfIt Judge it by what you determine is acceptable treatment of our own soldiers. Simple...if you have a modicum of integrity.

tireOfIt
tireOfIt

This quote was from Chris Christie.

Orange15
Orange15

The dims spent forty million dollars of tax payer money to manufacture a report of lies and deception. dims need to pay that money back to the people.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

 didn't even interview the CIA chiefs


How many times are the whiners going to whine this whine, I wonder.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

Bull teats laugh at the Tea Partiers' complete uselessness when it comes to securing actual liberty.

Jack_®
Jack_®

You can almost hear the stampede of the elitists leaving this bad old USA, this bad old America for a country that offers them an opportunity to be the high and mighty they pretend to be.

Orange15
Orange15

The dims torture report is nothing more than a pack of lies and deception. There, that's a little stronger than half-hearted.

Mick11
Mick11

Man It's frickin cold down here in paradise; 49 degree's...sun, sun, c'mon get back on the job!!!

hamiltonAZ
hamiltonAZ

Sen Chambliss will have to live his luxurious post government life with images of AMERICANS torturing others. Not doing that is what makes us different. We're supposed to be the good guys.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@hamiltonAZ

Obozo's own CIA chief says the report is garbage.  The partisan hacks who wrote the report didn't even interview the CIA chiefs who ran the place during Our President Bush's administration.  The adults in the Democrat party agree with Our Vice President Cheney that it's crap.

Do enjoy your little progressivegasm though, America-hater.

Bruno2
Bruno2

sky-- Did you ever meet Michael Allman, Greg's son??  I hung out with him a few times, pretty cool dude.

skydog12
skydog12

@Bruno2


No. I met one of the sons one night at Darwins in Marietta, but I forgot which one? He was a drummer. 

Bruno2
Bruno2

@skydog12 @Bruno2 Gregg wouldn't own up to being his dad for years, but if you see the video above, there's no denying it.  He grew up in Conyers.

skydog12
skydog12

@LeninTime


Who is going to perform the surgery? Those dudes have the "other film" besides the Zapruder film.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@skydog12 @LeninTime

The problem is, they're part of a much larger cancer. 

They're more of a tumor. A central one, but just part of a much larger malignancy.

cloudodust
cloudodust

@LeninTime 

KGB good? As an apparant sentimental Red, here's a funny for you. See if you can decipher the joke. In capitalism, 50% of the people oppress the other 50%. In communism it's just the reverse....Get it? Put into context, Scotch good, potato Vodka baaaddd...

skydog12
skydog12

@Bruno2


Going to see Seether tells me you have already surrendered.

Bruno2
Bruno2

@skydog12 @Bruno2 It's all for her enjoyment, sky.  I sprung for a Meet-N-Greet package, so she can meet the band and have her photo taken.  She's going to bring her bass to have it signed also.

skydog12
skydog12

@Bruno2 @skydog12


I understand, I`m just messing with you. I would go see Gwar if the price were right.

Bruno2
Bruno2

Just saw their website, scary stuff.

skydog12
skydog12

@Bruno2 @skydog12 


I don`t know their fans politics? I`m guessing they arn`t RW. The whole crowd dresses up like the band. I discovered these guys 10 years ago, sitting at a red light in front of the Fox Theater when the show let out. I ran the red light and fled the area.


I would go see Gwar before going to see most neocountry groups.

skydog12
skydog12

Torture deniers.


Are you OK with our enemies using these same procedures, waterboarding and anal hydration, on your son or daughter if they were captured?

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@skydog12

Islamofascists reserve those mild practices for use on each other when they have time to kill and are trying to amuse themselves.  They have much, much worse in mind for your family if they ever get hold of them.

TBS
TBS

@JamVet 

Appreciate that Jam man.  Seems you have had a successful transition to the "left coast".  

Glad that you were able to make that happen for yourself.  Hope you continue to enjoy CA and life itself. 

Have a great night and an even better tomorrow

peace

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UAbzlj3nf4E

BSNBC
BSNBC

Obama is the biggest crook and liar to ever occupy the White House!

josef
josef

@BSNBC


Warren G. Harding and U.S. Grant say what?