Senate Report on Torture May Be Delayed Once More

There may be another delay for the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of detention and “enhanced interrogation” techniques. Committee members are reportedly working with White House officials on lowering the amount of redacted text.

On Monday Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) stated that the report would not be released this week and possibly not before the November election campaigns begin. Feinstein says it will not be released until “we can have a comprehensive and understandable report.”

The controversial 6,300 page report has taken nearly five years to produce. In April the White House began declassifying sections of the report but the redactions were rejected by the Intelligence Committee for being too confusing. Since then Feinstein and the committee has been working with the Obama Administration to come to an agreement on the exact information to be released in the 400 page summary.

It is already known that the report concluded torture, or “enhanced interrogation” techniques did not lead to Osama Bin Laden’s capture, as the intelligence community has stated before. Other officials have stated that the use of the techniques did not lead to key intelligence on terrorist plots.

The Telegraph has also reported that CIA torture techniques brought terror suspects “to the point of death” by water-boarding them. The source told the Telegraph that a doctor was present as CIA officials simulated the drowning experience as close to death as possible.

Recently, retired U.S. Army Major General Antonio M. Taguba wrote a piece for the New York Times detailing the CIA’s influence and “spin” on the Senate report. Taguba criticizes President Obama when he writes, “He has allowed the C.I.A. to oversee the redaction process of this report, and is now apparently allowing Mr. Tenet (former C.I.A. director) to run a publicity campaign against it.”

There is also the issue of the CIA spying on the Intelligence Committee throughout the process of their report. In March, the Senate Intelligence Committee discovered it was the subject of monitoring by the CIA.In response to allegations of spying on the committee Senator Mark Udall wrote a letter to President Obama, detailing how the CIA has “taken unprecedented action against the committee in relation to the internal C.I.A. review”. The CIA is accused of gaining access to computer networks used by the committee to investigate whether they had improperly viewed documents in the course of their investigation. An Internal Inspector General investigation within the CIA is apparently underway.

Following that discovery CIA Director John Brennan was questioned on the spying. Brennan said the reports of intrusion were false, and “nothing could be further from the truth.” By July Brennan had changed his story and admitted that there had been an “error”.

When the report is eventually released it will likely not name specific names of officials who could be held responsible. Despite Obama’s promise of change he has continued and expanded some of the worst policies of the Bush administration. A 2008 report from the Armed Services Committee in 2008 found that Bush Administration Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his team were the authors and promoters of “enhanced interrogation” techniques at U.S. prison camps abroad.

It is important to note that what the U.S. government calls “enhanced interrogation” is actually a euphemism for torture. According to international human rights and torture standards the United States government and the officials who write, authorize, and vote for such policies are responsible for inhuman behavior that is not only immoral, but is in violation of international law.