No Wonder Kerry and Obama Were Concerned About the Report

No Wonder Kerry and Obama Were Concerned About the Report December 11, 2014

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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