The CIA Lied to Congress Repeatedly About the Use of Torture

Logo de la agencia central de inteligencia cia 300x350

The CIA lied to Congress and the American people about the brutal interrogation methods it used during the Bush administration.

The agency lied about the severity of the torture it inflicted on detainees, as well as the quality of information that these methods garnered.

Why?

Why would the CIA want to torture people, even if it wasn’t effective? The answer to that probably goes back decades and is intertwined with areas of activity that our government has engaged in that the American people know very little about.

Something as monstrous as the government-sanctioned use of torture doesn’t spring fully grown from the head of the government Zeus. It grows through long years of mortal compromises, piled one on top the other. One of the many disturbing things about all this is that only the lowest level people involved have ever, or will probably ever, be brought to anything resembling justice.

From The Washington Post:

A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that the CIA misled the government and the public about aspects of its brutal interrogation program for years — concealing details about the severity of its methods, overstating the significance of plots and prisoners, and taking credit for critical pieces of intelligence that detainees had in fact surrendered before they were subjected to harsh techniques.

The report, built around detailed chronologies of dozens of CIA detainees, documents a long-standing pattern of unsubstantiated claims as agency officials sought permission to use — and later tried to defend — excruciating interrogation methods that yielded little, if any, significant intelligence, according to U.S. officials who have reviewed the document.

A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that the CIA misled the government and the public about aspects of its brutal interrogation program for years — concealing details about the severity of its methods, overstating the significance of plots and prisoners, and taking credit for critical pieces of intelligence that detainees had in fact surrendered before they were subjected to harsh techniques.

The report, built around detailed chronologies of dozens of CIA detainees, documents a long-standing pattern of unsubstantiated claims as agency officials sought permission to use — and later tried to defend — excruciating interrogation methods that yielded little, if any, significant intelligence, according to U.S. officials who have reviewed the document.

  • Alvaro Fidel Martinez

    This is truly heartbreaking, I must say.

    Being a (pro-life) Mennonite-Christian peace advocate — like Baptist preacher Martin Luther King — it’s truly disapponting to read about torture taking place in a constitutional democracy, where human rights are generally respected.

    “We must discover the power of love, the power, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that we will be able to make of this old world a new world. We will be able to make men better. Love is the only way.”
    –Martin Luther King

    “‘You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
    –Jesus

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    I assume then people will be charged and put on trial. That’s the real test to see if this is just political demogoguing or not. Who’s going to jail? High crimes are claimed. Or is this another case of creating a whipping boy so the politicians can claim their hands are clean? I suspect the latter. You asked the question, why do it if these methods don’t work? It doesn’t add up.

    • hamiltonr

      Lying to Congress is a crime, if anyone has the courage to do something about it. That may be difficult with spies who know everyone’s secrets, and can/will also make up false stories.

      As to whether or not these methods work, it doesn’t matter. They are wrong.

      • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

        That’s not my point. My point is if this report was anything other than political, someone should be charged with a crime. Who performed these acts? Who authorized them? I quote from the article:

        “Current and former agency officials, however, have privately described the study as marred by factual errors and misguided conclusions.”
        Now who should I trust? Politicians who want to cover their behinds or agency officials who have not been charged with any crimes?

      • Bill S

        I agree with everything you have said in this article except that lying to Congress is a crime at all times and by all people. I’m sure that the CIA has information that cannot be made public or has the need to use disinformation for the sake of national security. I can’t see how it would be a crime for a CIA employee to lie in such an instance. If telling the truth would endanger Americans at home or abroad, I would fully expect that truth not to be told. I’m sure this happens all the time.

        • hamiltonr

          Bill, all they have to say is “national security.” They don’t have to lie.

          • Bill S

            That could be taken as an admission of guilt whereas a denial could be what is really required to protect our safety and interests.

            • hamiltonr

              These testimonies are a set piece. They’re not going to ask the wrong questions.

              • Bill S

                Wouldn’t that be a conspiracy?

                • hamiltonr

                  No Bill. It’s not a conspiracy.

                  • Bill S

                    I don’t understand what you mean when you say it is a set piece. To me it means that Congress and the CIA are in cahoots with one another and Congress will not put the CIA on the spot by asking a question that shouldn’t be answered honestly for the sake of national security. Am I misunderstanding what you mean by “set piece”. It sounds conspiratorial.

    • FW Ken

      Manny, what doesn’t add up is why torture after you have the information you want.

      My own guess is that it’s the human will to power and control. It’s the schoolyard bully writ large.

      • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

        I don’t know know what that second part actually means. There are agents and supervisors and the law (which does not allow for torture) and if crimes were committed someone needs to be charged. Who?
        I quote from the article:

        “Current and former agency officials, however, have privately described the study as marred by factual errors and misguided conclusions.”
        Now who should I trust? Politicians who want to cover their behinds or agency officials who have not been charged with any crimes?

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      Well, for a start, it makes sense because it replaces what the CIA has always been bad with, namely intelligence. You may want to read Angelo Codevilla’s article here: http://spectator.org/articles/49564/us-intelligence-losing-proposition – and my reply, headed “GOING WAY BACK”, here: http://spectator.org/articles/49533/art-communications , and Codevilla’s much more recent restatement of the same views, http://spectator.org/articles/40285/cias-vulnerability-congenital. (Professor Codevilla, by the way, is as conservative as they come – no reflex bash-the-man attitudes here.) When you have no proper human intelligence, no trustworthy contacts, no way to know what your enemies are talking about when they talk to each other, you cannot know when they are telling the truth even when you have them captured and helpless. And so you torture – because you are bad at your job.

      This has a lot in common with another abomination of the US secret state, the notorious NSA “harvesting” of phone and internet data. It is not only because it is an assault on the Constitution and the liberties of Americans and non-American citizens that I regard it as an abomination, but because it is a monstrous waste of time and resources and an almost open declaration of incompetence. In another life, I have something to do with research. If I want to find out something, and I have an enormous amount of possible sources, I NEVER – unless i am desperate – start by trawling all my sources looking for something significant. I start from an assumption and look for documents to confirm or refute it (it is just as important to know an assumption is wrong, as that it is right). As a rule, these documents tend at some point to point me in further directions, at which point I go for more documents, or go back to some of those I had already opened for extra information. “harvesting data” is only useful for mass investigation of a sociological or marketing kind; it is worse than counterproductive in dealing with single facts and individual issues. it does, however, create an immense amount of make-work that can be used to screw more money out of Congress.

      In other words, both the CIA and the NSA are giving us evidence that they are lousy at their job and that they want to be allowed to commit crimes – torture, violation of privacy – to make up for the effect of their incompetence.

      • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

        I’m not arguing that if crimes were committed that people shouldn’t go to jail. I’m not even defending agents that if proven to have done so. I’m saying that if there were crimes committed then people should at least be charged and prosecuted. Otherwise it’s a report by politicians and amounts to political hot air. Who has been charged with a crime?
        I quote from the article:

        “Current and former agency officials, however, have privately described the study as marred by factual errors and misguided conclusions.”
        Now who should I trust? Politicians who want to cover their behinds or agency officials who have not been charged with any crimes?

        • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

          Who should you trust? The proven incompetents whose incompetence leads them to crime, or the investigators?

          • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

            I certainly don’t trust the politicians. If there’s a crime someone needs to be charged.

      • FW Ken

        Apparently, the NSA is about to get out of the mass collection of records, and will be getting a warrant for what they need. So says the evening news, which is never wrong.

  • oregon nurse

    Our problem as a society is that we want results from our CIA and FBI and NSA, but we don’t want the dirty details.

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      No, madame, it is that we believe what they say. Read my post below, with a couple of useful links.

      • oregon nurse

        I’ll paraphrase Col. Jessup – We don’t want the truth.

  • FW Ken

    Torture comes from, and feeds, the fallenness of our human nature. It is intrinsically evil.

  • niknac

    It’s a mindset. One of the first things they told us in the military was that we had no rights for the duration and neither do our enemies. I don’t know if that’s really correct but it was always the way I saw it work. Nothing new here.

    • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

      Totally wrong, of course. The first thing they told US in the military is that an illegal order must not be obeyed. There have been laws of war since ancient Rome and Greece; and the fact that you heard people deny them in fact and in doctrine only shows that the criminalization of these services goes deeper than we think.

  • fredx2

    I would suggest that before your read anything written in the Post, you wait for the actual report to be released. The story in the Post was not based on reading the report, it was based on interviews with the usual suspects, who may have axes to grind. In addition, since they specifically say that no one will be prosecuted for any of this, that fact alone makes the story suspect.

    “Current and former U.S. officials who described the report spoke on the
    condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue and because the
    document remains classified.”

    And note there is no description of the actual techniques beyond using loaded words like “excruciating”

    • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

      Hear, hear! Great comment.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X