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Looking at Senate’s CIA interrogation report

Wed., March 12, 2014

The Senate report at the center of the heated public dispute between Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein and the CIA is a detailed investigation of the agency’s rendition, detention and interrogation program that the George W. Bush administration started after 9/11 and which ended in 2009.

• The still-classified report has 6,300 pages, the work of a handful of Democratic Senate investigators who spent four years examining some 6 million pages of CIA and other records. It was approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee in December 2012, and sent to the CIA for comment.

• Feinstein, D-Calif., has said the program’s abuses included “beating a detainee in Afghanistan, who later died in custody, with a heavy flashlight; threatening a detainee with a handgun and a power drill; staging a mock execution; threatening to kill a detainee’s family; choking a detainee to the point of unconsciousness” and using the interrogation technique known as waterboarding in ways the CIA’s legal counsel had not authorized.

• The report concluded that the rendition, detention and interrogation produced little intelligence of value, and claimed the CIA exaggerated its worth to the White House and Congress. The CIA has challenged that in a detailed, 100-page-plus rebuttal, according to former senior intelligence officials.

• Disagreements include whether the interrogation program helped track down Osama bin Laden. Former CIA Director Leon Panetta and others say it did; the Senate investigators say the CIA learned of the existence of the courier that led to bin Laden by other intelligence means.


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