No Wonder Kerry and Obama Were Concerned About the Report

As incomplete and inadequate as the heavily redacted executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee torture report is, we’re learning some interesting things from it. Like the fact that more than 25% of the world’s nations helped out with the global torture regime in a myriad of ways.

According to several U.S. officials involved with the negotiations, the intelligence community has long been concerned that the Senate document would enable readers to identify the many countries that aided the CIA’s controversial torture program between 2002 and roughly 2006. These countries made the CIA program possible in two ways: by enabling rendition, which involved transferring U.S. detainees abroad without due legal process, and by providing facilities far beyond the reach of U.S. law where those detainees were subjected to torture.

The officials all told The Huffington Post in recent weeks that they were nervous the names of those countries might be included in the declassified summary of the Senate report.

The names of the countries ultimately did not appear in the summary. This represents a last-minute victory for the White House and the CIA, since Senate staff was pushing to redact as little as possible from its document…

But immediately after the document was released, journalists began to crack the code by cross-referencing details in the Senate study with previous reports about the CIA’s activities in different countries.

Readers of the report can also learn how the agency managed its relationship with foreign governments, offering monetary payments for their silence and undermining more public U.S. diplomatic efforts by explicitly telling their foreign contacts not to talk to U.S. ambassadors about the torture program…

The officials interviewed by HuffPost believe the Senate report takes a major risk by enabling the identification of these countries. They pointed out that the countries participated with the understanding that their involvement would remain secret. And while many of the countries have already been identified publicly by investigations in Europe, reports from outside analysts and stories in the press, the U.S. government’s tacit exposure of their involvement is still likely to have a dramatic impact abroad…

Secretary of State John Kerry indicated before the Senate document was released that he is worried about the global outrage that could follow the report. For Kerry and other diplomats, the evidence revealed in the Senate document could prove critically embarrassing for friendly governments, vindicate the narrative that the U.S.’s human rights record is no better than those of its foes, and show that the U.S. is willing to throw partner nations under the bus.

Aww, gee, you mean other countries are less likely to let us bribe them to keep our crimes against humanity secret and might not let us set up black sites so we can torture people? And that’s supposed to be an argument against releasing the report? That’s a feature, not a bug. Those countries should be embarrassed, just as we should be.

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  • John Pieret

    you mean other countries are less likely to let us bribe them to keep our crimes against humanity secret

    Yeah, but when we want to do something completely above board, like dropping a drone on somebody, but we need some intel in order find out where the target is, will they be willing to give it to us for fear their own people may find out?

  • Modusoperandi

    I don’t know if it was worth it. Nobody tells you what the Global War on Terror does to your neighborhood. The tenants at my black site constantly disturbed the neighbors by being up at all hours. Literally, it was as though someone was preventing them from sleeping. I thought about not renewing their lease once they started a band. Loud, loud music all the time, and the singer just screamed. And they pretty much wrecked the place.

    Still, they paid their bills on time, no matter what I charged them.

  • caseloweraz

    Some of these countries have already been identified. Poland comes to mind. In July, the European Court of Human Rights ruled against Poland, a judgment that has financial as well as moral impacts.

    WSJ: “They (sic) court ordered Poland to pay €100,000 ($134,640) in damages to each inmate, plus €30,000 in compensation for legal costs and expenses to Mr. Zubaydah. They also ordered the Polish government to obtain diplomatic assurances from the U.S. that it wouldn’t subject Mr. Nashiri to the death penalty.”

    Court Holds Poland Violated Rights of Two Guantanamo Inmates

    Of course there will be impacts, disputes between allies, recriminations. But the disclosure is necessary, and will in the end be salutary. To paraphrase Casablanca: Publish it, (Uncle) Sam. If we can take it, they can.

  • bmiller

    I’m guessing a significant part of the American population is A-OK with this. Because, basically, “people suck”. If one is torturing those outside one’s affinity group, then one can be easily persuaded it is perfectly fine. “National Security” and all that.

    Human nature. :(

  • lldayo

    What an embarrassing time to be a US citizen.

  • colnago80

    The report also provided a propaganda opportunity for the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

  • plutosdad

    how many of these government officials who are blaming the messenger and the fact that this information got out, rather than blaming ourselves for committing these acts, say things like “if you can’t do the time don’t do the crime” and have no sympathy for other criminals that we lock away, no matter their circumstances or reasons?

  • zenlike

    The torturing provided a propaganda opportunity for the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

  • Modusoperandi

    plutosdad, I’m picturing a Bizarro world Law & Order (*dunk dunk!*) episode where the judge sentences the police to prison time for exposing the perpetrator’s crime.

  • abusedbypenguins

    Corporations and religion must be reduced small enough to drown in a bathtub and shoved down an industrial garbage disposal to make the world a better place. If it weren’t for religion, 9 11 would probably would not have happened and haliburton wouldn’t have been able to torture and kill at random.

  • caseloweraz

    Colnago80: The report also provided a propaganda opportunity for the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

    Yes it does — but not a very good one. I doubt Islam is very different than Judaism or Christianity in its position on the confession of sin.

  • Artor

    Colnago80, it’s not the report that provides the propaganda opportunity. It’s the actual, you know, torture and the subsequent excusal of it. Until we have an administration that can demonstrate it’s adamant refusal to tolerate torture, and determination to root out the guilty parties and remand them to the Hague, this will continue to be a big, juicy propaganda op. Your confusing the matter isn’t helping either.

  • Marcus Ranum

    The report also provided a propaganda opportunity for the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

    No, dumbass: The US’ actions provided a legitimate opportunity for Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to publicly critique the US.

    Oh, that’s right – for you it’s “propaganda” if someone criticizes a regime you support, when they do the same thing as a regime you don’t like. Got it. Have you ever considered that your ideas of who you like and who you don’t are probably based on “propaganda”?

  • Kermit Sansoo

    Colnago80 – are you old enough to remember our “”secret war in Cambodia””?


    It was, of course, a secret only for the American people, and only for a few weeks. The Cambodians somehow heard about our bombing raids straight away.


    I’ve known that we tortured for real, that there were more prisoners than reported, that (as my daughter yelled in outrage ten years ago) we were “outsourcing evil”, that we sexually abused prisoners, and that we weren’t even particularly concerned if they were “guilty” by our sick standards. The people in the Near East not only knew these things, but were willing to believe the most outrageous exaggerations of them. We have now raised a new generation of young Muslim men who have grown up seeing the US as the evil aggressor and occupying force.


    Our drones don’t work so well on cloudy days – those remote control cameras only see mist – so they are generally used on sunny days. In some cities children are being kept inside under blue skies so the Angels of Death won’t get them.


    It is not the reports that make enemies for us.