The Torture Report

The Senate has release their report on the CIA torture program:

The CIA’s harsh interrogations of terrorist detainees during the Bush era didn’t work, were more brutal than previously revealed and delivered no “ticking time bomb” information that prevented an attack, according to an explosive Senate report released Tuesday.

The majority report issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee is a damning condemnation of the tactics — branded by critics as torture — the George W. Bush administration deployed in the fear-laden days after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The techniques, according to the report, were “deeply flawed” and often resulted in “fabricated” information.

The CIA immediately hit back at the report, saying in a statement that the program was “effective” and substantially helped its understanding of Al Qaeda’s tactical operations and goals.

I am disinclined to believe the CIA on this, given their desperate attempts to cover it up, which included the destruction of video tapes of interrogations and attempts to spy on members of Congress. The report was trimmed down from more than 6000 pages to the current 480 and large parts were redacted at the behest of the CIA. And it’s still pretty damning. The initial reporting is that it included weeks of waterboarding and sleep deprivation, usually used almost immediately after capture.

I’ll post more as commentary comes in and I get a chance to read some of the report. The report itself is here.

Update: NYT:

Detainees were deprived of sleep for as long as a week, and were sometimes told that they would be killed while in American custody. With the approval of the C.I.A.’s medical staff, some C.I.A. prisoners were subjected to medically unnecessary “rectal feeding” or “rectal hydration” — a technique that the C.I.A.’s chief of interrogations described as a way to exert “total control over the detainee.” C.I.A. medical staff members described the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, as a “series of near drownings.”

The report also suggests that more prisoners were subjected to waterboarding than the three the C.I.A. has acknowledged in the past. The committee obtained a photograph of a waterboard surrounded by buckets of water at the prison in Afghanistan commonly known as the Salt Pit — a facility where the C.I.A. had claimed that waterboarding was never used. One clandestine officer described the prison as a “dungeon,” and another said that some prisoners there “literally looked like a dog that had been kenneled.”

The report also addresses the CIA’s list of terror attacks they claim were prevented by torture, noting that in most cases the torture information was either inaccurate or confirmed information they already had.

You can read the response of ex-CIA directors here.

Update: A look at claims made by the CIA that torture worked. None of them stand up to scrutiny … according to the CIA’s own documents.

Comments are closed.

  1. Xetrov

    Anyone call for charges against Bush yet? Give it time.

    I’m still of the opinion that they could have waterboarded Khalid Shaikh Mohammed once for every person killed on 9/11 and I still wouldn’t give a shit.

    Thumb up 13

  2. Hal_10000 *

    Anyone call for charges against Bush yet? Give it time.

    One aspect of the report is that the CIA kept the Administration in the dark about a lot of what was going on.

    Rogue agency.

    Thumb up 0

  3. Thrill

    Bullshit on the “rogue agency”, Hal. The political class is protecting itself yet again. Congress knew what they were up to. If the prosecutions come, far too many people in both parties will be implicated.

    Can’t have that.

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  4. Hal_10000 *

    On this, Thrill, I agree. The report notes that Obama withheld thousands of documents from them. I also suspect members of Congress were aware of what was going on. I’ll give them a doubt that they didn’t know the extent of it. But they certainly knew the CIA was doing some bad stuff.

    It’s like the surveillance stuff. The political elites know how bad it is. They won’t tell us.

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  5. Poosh

    The media over here are treating this as gospel i.e. no critical interaction, because this reflects badly on the USA, not sure how it’s been treated over in the US – from what I can grasp the repeat is very dubious. Some of the things the CIA did (attempts to suppress info) seem at least dodgy even without the full story, but the report seems entirely ideological, or at least infected with such ideology from some quarters that the report is compromised. Any one have any more info on this? The report has very little truth value it seems and so much of the claims cannot be supported or verified.

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  6. Poosh

    “Must make life nice and easy and straight-forward”

    You mean not accepting a report at face value, which strangely fits a narrative, makes me want a life nice and easy, and straight for… you know why am I even responding? You’re attacking someone ASKING FOR OTHER PEOPLE’S OPINIONS.

    Why the report is dubious is easy for one to find. One was asking for more input. As usual, you can’t read and understand words (if you’re interested, you’ve misinterpreted two clauses – which are not mutually exclusive – as mutually exclusive: try to avoid doing this in life, you will make far less errors).

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  7. Xetrov

    Xerox I thought the basis on which you supported torture was that it got results, not because of vegeance?

    I’m not getting back into it with you in regards to the definition of torture. Feel free to go URL.read the archives if you want to rehash my position on it. As far as Khalid, I made the same statement back then too.

    Thumb up 6

  8. CM

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  9. Iconoclast

    Of course y’all realize that this “report” is a purely partisan exercise, right? It’s a product of liberal Democrats trying one final time to smear the Bush years before yielding the Senate to Republican control. Just like Obamacare, this “report” had absolutely no Republican input whatsoever. Being a product of liberalism, I am inclined to believe that it contains no truth whatsoever.

    Like it or lump it you liberal fucks, there were no ISIS beheadings grabbing the headlines when this “torture” was taking place. No Boko Haram selling Christian girls into the slave trade to fund their other despicable activities. Al Qaeda really was on the run. Now we have an Administration that cannot even bring itself to utter the words “terrorist” or “terrorism”, and the US electorate is finally waking up and getting fed up with this impotent liberal Administration and its utterly fucked-up policies, as the mid-term elections clearly showed.

    We still have two more years of Obama masturbating his ego at the expense of all US citizens (not to mention the US Constitution), and absolutely nothing will be done about terror threats such as ISIS and al Qaeda while emperor Obama fiddles and the world burns. This “report” is just a petulant temper tantrum being thrown by the liberal fucks whom the electorate unceremoniously tossed out this past November.

    HAL, saying that “the Senate” released this report is almost pathelogically misleading. “Liberal outgoing senators released their smear campaign” would be more accurate. And I don’t give a fuck if you are “disinclined to believe the CIA on this”, as I am even more disinclined to believe anything liberal Democrat fucks ever say about anything. That they repeatedly lied through their collective teeth to get Obamacare passed is a matter of historical record. I suspect that this “report” will enjoy a similar fate.
    John Brennan defends CIA after torture report in rare press conference :

    “It is our considered view that the detainees who were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques provided information that was useful and was used in the ultimate operation to go against Bin Laden,” Brennan said.

    Obama apparently loves to remind us that it was his Adminstration that “got Bin Laden”. Well, that feather in Obama’s cap was obtained at least in part by those enhanced interrogation techniques that liberal democrats are now pissing on in their petulance.

    Liberalism nauseates me.

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  10. Iconoclast

    Here is the liberal Vox admitting that the report was written by Democrats (emphasis added):

    The report, written by the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Democratic staff, examines the CIA’s use of torture during the Bush administration: what specifically happened, and what the results were.

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  11. Dave D

    “Torture”. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

    At our office Christmas party this year, the devout liberal of our group responds to my concerns over the deficit/debt by stating that “Bush’s Iraq war cost too much and we are still paying for that!” The ENTIRE Iraq operation cost ~800 billion (which includes the cost of the standing army that needs to be paid anyways for that period). bHo and his clowns have tacked on 8 TRILLION to the debt since taking office 6 years ago, including over 2 TRILLION in QE and 2+ TRILLION in added debt since the Iraq war ended. It will NEVER sink in with these people.

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  12. Xetrov

    Call it what you will Xetrov (you and the other dozen or so in the western world who agree with you), post #16 of that thread makes it pretty clear that it was about getting intel. But your post above implies that it doesn’t matter.

    You’ve been telling me what I really mean for damn near a decade, CM.

    And I’d still be fine if they chose to waterboard the guy responsible for planning 9/11 once for every person who died, even if just for the hell of it.

    Posted by me on May 12th, 2009 on page 13 of that same thread.

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  13. Poosh

    Forgot to just skip over comments by CM, won’t make that mistake again I hope. If CM, at this age, hasn’t understood how to grasp language, he’s probably never gonna better himself (i.e. change).

    Thanks for reinforcing my point about the report. The truth value is dubious thus impossible to draw any conclusions from.

    This aside, given the stupidity of *some* of your basic police force, the fear is that this is no different within, say, the CIA (which seems to have been the case with at least one death, if that is to be believed, which is not a given).

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  14. CM

    Same old Poosh, talking to an audience about what he continually fails to do.

    I grasped your language Poosh – the last sentence where you reach a fairly firm conclusion even after admitting ignorance in all others was great.

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  15. Poosh

    “I’ve heard and seen that CM is a complete ‘tarded Troll who can’t grasp basic language and has the intellectual power of Russell Brand, any one have any more info on this??

    “See his posts on Moore Watch”

    “Oh thanks!”

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  16. Hal_10000 *

    Of course y’all realize that this “report” is a purely partisan exercise, right? It’s a product of liberal Democrats trying one final time to smear the Bush years before yielding the Senate to Republican control. Just like Obamacare, this “report” had absolutely no Republican input whatsoever. Being a product of liberalism, I am inclined to believe that it contains no truth whatsoever.

    No. The committee was started on a 14-1 vote. The report was approved on a 9-6 vote. Release was supported by an 11-3 vote. All of those were of the full committee. The Republicans didn’t participate in creating the report, which is on them. You can’t scream “partisan!” when you refused to participate in the investigation. Note also that the minority report from the Republicans doesn’t dispute any of the findings or facts, just the emphasis. It can’t because the report leans almost entirely on the CIA’s own documents.

    As for torture getting Bin Laden, Brennan is a liar preaching to the gullible. Their own documents show that the critical intel came without torture. This isn’t partisan Democrat liberal wah-wah Obama crap. This is the CIA’s own documents.

    Quit spewing CIA talking points.

    I’m still of the opinion that they could have waterboarded Khalid Shaikh Mohammed once for every person killed on 9/11 and I still wouldn’t give a shit.

    And what about the other 118 people we tortured, including 26 innocent people, two of whom were on our side? And I do give a shit because a lot of the information we got out of KSM was garbage. The most useful intel we got out of any detainees came before torture. Again, that’s the CIA’s own information showing this.

    My response to 9/11 is to make sure it never happens again. For that, we need information out of detainees. Torture is a terrible way to get that information, as attested by the CIA’s failed program.

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  17. Xetrov

    And what about the other 118 people we tortured

    Objection, flawed premise – I don’t agree waterboarding as done by the CIA is “torture”. And I really don’t want to rehash that. Go read the thread I posted a link to earlier if you’re interested in my position because it hasn’t changed much since 2009.

    including 26 innocent people

    If true, that sucks. They should answer for that.

    And I do give a shit

    I don’t give a shit that you give a shit. If no intel came from KSM, I still don’t care that they waterboarded him.

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  18. Poosh

    “You can’t scream “partisan!” when you refused to participate in the investigation.”

    I’ll let that pass as I’m sure you’re probably aware on why one might not.

    Anyhow, this article gives some good examples on how the report cherry picks and yes seems to be designed to protect Democrat’s reputations. As you can see “it comes from CIA’s own documents” is a meaningless statement i.e. it cannot be used to claim “therefore the report is true”.

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/tortured-report_821202.html?page=1

    One thing that occurs to me, it seems somewhat improbable that CIA officers et al were investing time, effort and money (time is money indeed) carrying out pointless “torture” and even real torture when it’s apparently so obvious that these activates are pointless. I don’t know about your intelligence chaps, but ours are swamped and really can’t afford to waste time or throw money down the drain. It just seems awfully suspicious. that’s all.

    Anyway, treat non-combatant terrorists as prisoners of war and you really are digging your own graves and making a mockery of the need for the rules of war to be obeyed. Why the frak should any future army obey the conventions and wear a godamn uniform if you’re gonna treat them like a prisoner of war if they get caught anyway?

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  19. Hal_10000 *

    Go read the thread I posted a link to earlier if you’re interested in my position because it hasn’t changed much since 2009.

    A lot of your response is based on the now disproven claim that waterboarding prevented the “second wave” of attacks. In fact, the supposed second wave of attacks was never more than talk. And the information about them came long before KSM was waterboarded. And the CIA could show no evidence, none, that they ever prevented a ticking bomb scenario.

    In other words, these are precisely the CIA lies that the report exposed.

    You also rely on the legal opinions of the Bush Administration, opinions which are generally regarded as flawed, poorly reasoned and deliberately ignorant of the law and would have gotten the authors disbarred if the OPR hadn’t decided to protect their fellow elites. In fact, this was the opinion of many within the Bush DOJ at the time, but John “The President can order a child’s testicles squashed” Yoo won the day.

    If true, that sucks. They should answer for that.

    Yeah. We should have a committee investigate this or something.

    If no intel came from KSM, I still don’t care that they waterboarded him.

    Because, as Orwell said, the point of torture is torture. The point of waterboarding KSM, which they did without even trying conventional interrogation, was revenge, not security.

    Anyhow, this article gives some good examples on how the report cherry picks and yes seems to be designed to protect Democrat’s reputations. As you can see “it comes from CIA’s own documents” is a meaningless statement i.e. it cannot be used to claim “therefore the report is true”

    An article from a Giuliani flack and a Cheney biographer who claimed Saddam had direct ties to AQ. Interesting. You can read Wyden’s response to this nonsense here: http://www.vox.com/2014/12/12/7382087/torture-wyden

    One thing that occurs to me, it seems somewhat improbable that CIA officers et al were investing time, effort and money (time is money indeed) carrying out pointless “torture” and even real torture when it’s apparently so obvious that these activates are pointless. I don’t know about your intelligence chaps, but ours are swamped and really can’t afford to waste time or throw money down the drain. It just seems awfully suspicious. that’s all.

    That’s precisely the point. While people like Ali Soufan were getting actionable intelligence through traditional interrogation, the CIA was wasting acres of times on this bullshit. They used enhanced interrogation for months on detainees who knew nothing. Thanks to their waterboarding of KSM, they sent out numerous alerts on terrorists that only existed in a man screaming for them to stop. If you read the report, it was amateur hour down there. They tortured two guys who turned out to be on our side. They gave a nine figure contract to two quack doctors who approved their methods. It was a complete shambles.

    Anyway, treat non-combatant terrorists as prisoners of war and you really are digging your own graves and making a mockery of the need for the rules of war to be obeyed. Why the frak should any future army obey the conventions and wear a godamn uniform if you’re gonna treat them like a prisoner of war if they get caught anyway?

    Uniformed combatants have significantly greater protections under Geneva. But under Geneva and the Convention Against Torture, all people have certain baseline protections. We put this in there after WW2 because the Axis powers argued that torturing and killing members of resistance movements was not a violation of Geneva because they weren’t wearing uniforms.

    Hot! Thumb up 4

  20. Poosh

    Stephen F. Hayes has done considerable journalism on the subject. How exactly being a Cheney biographer makes you dodgy is your issues really, isn’t it. Someone quoting Vox and the New York Times? Why don’t you link to scumbag Andrew Sullivan while you’re at it? (who I still blame for the descent and destruction of the passed author of this website).

    Hayes demonstrated how CIA memos were selectively used, and how the Democrats managed to cover their own arses through selective release of information. He’s not the only journalist and writer pointing this out. But no, let’s just believe all this bad stuff about your government because hysteria is better than reasonable analysis and patience. Your religious belief in there being no connections between al-Qaeda and Saddam should be contrasted with Hayes actual analysis of the information, not that you care.

    “noting that in most cases the torture information was either inaccurate or confirmed information they already had”

    So torture DOES work then ? (or should I say, potential “torture”) As you’ve now confirmed a prior piece of intelligence, which did not have confirmation prior to a separate source confirming it of his own accord.

    Anyhow, as Hayes says, potential crimes were committed, actual torture may have taken place, and the CIA have a lot of explaining to do but the REPORT itself has no truth value as it is completely unreliable and selective. That’s more or less ALL people are saying.

    Why are you obsessed with jumping on that pathetic flagellating band wagon? It’s not because you want higher standards because if you did you would have approached this whole topic with a cooler head and admitted the report is dodgy and should be taken with a whole bathtub of salt (whilst still pointing out the issues and potential crimes it raises). It’s more or less pointless reading the report as ample information seems to have been deliberately left out. Every reference to an innocent man may well be a guilty man, for example. You simply do not know and have no justification for saying either way. That’s the problem. Salt. Salt. Salt.

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  21. CM

    All the woeful squirming would be hilarious if it wasn’t so serious. This all just again proves that some people simply either have no shame or no self-awareness whatsover.

    Thumb up 1

  22. CM

    That was a great Moorewatch thread X. Makes me very nostalgic for that time and place where a reasoned and sensible discussion was possible. Even though we disagreed strongly. There was no need for the Poosh-type bullshit and the lame ‘liberal fucks’ crap.

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  23. Section8

    We put this in there after WW2 because the Axis powers argued that torturing and killing members of resistance movements was not a violation of Geneva because they weren’t wearing uniforms.

    And what resistance movement was KSM involved in when plotting to deliberately target civilians in a surprise attack using civilian carriers as weapons with strictly civilians on board? Was this an unintended consequence of the convention that there would be assholes like this, or are we now the axis power that needs to understand this resistance?

    As for KSM, if you want to lose sleep over that him, please feel free to lose sleep on my behalf. I’m not wasting one second on the guy. Yeah, some of the shit the CIA did was bad, and I guess they weren’t prepared. Perhaps this will be a lesson to us, and perhaps to the disgruntled or whatever the ridiculous PC word is these days. Maybe they’ll wise up and take their aggression out on more noble and more prepared western countries in the future like say New Zealand. They could put the guy up in a five star hotel. This self-absorbed American could give two shits about what happens at that point.

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  24. Iconoclast

    The committee was started on a 14-1 vote. The report was approved on a 9-6 vote. Release was supported by an 11-3 vote.

    None of that refutes what I said, which was that the report itself was a purely partisan exercise, that it was a product of liberal Democrats and had no Republican input whatsoever.

    You can’t scream “partisan!” when you refused to participate in the investigation.

    That simply doesn’t follow — it’s like saying I cannot claim darkness when I have removed all sources of light. The GOP members dropped out because the Justice Department started its own investigation, according to the Vox article. Their argument was that CIA employees would be putting themselves at legal risk by answering Sentate Committee questions.

    After the GOP members dropped out, the remaining Democrat members decided not to interview CIA employees, but rely on CIA documents instead. It’s interesting to note that, while the Justice Department had the power to file charges based on their interviews during their investigation, they did not do so. Also, it should be revealing that this report did indeed rely solely on CIA documents, with no CIA employee input to put things into context.

    Links?

    Chambliss debunks new senate report blasting CIA for torture

    Georgia’s retiring senator, Senator Saxby Chambliss, the ranking Republican on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence disagreed with his committees report.

    “We found that these claims and conclusions were largely not supported by the documentary record and based upon flawed reasoning,” Chambliss said.

    A Shameful, Worthless Report (Emphasis added)

    Last, and perhaps most glaring, the report fails to note that on many occasions, senior members of both political parties, including Nancy Pelosi and Diane Feinstein, were briefed by the CIA on the specifics of the program. No Democrats raised objections to the program then. In fact, some pressed the CIA to do more. Former CIA Clandestine Service chief Jose Rodriguez noted that after 9/11, Congress actually deemed the CIA “risk averse,” and ordered the agency to change its ways to address the threat. Only years later, after Bush was out of office and the country secured, did Democrats feign false outrage at what they knew all along was occurring.

    Such selective outrage is cowardly and politically opportunistic, like this report. But it is not surprising, because this report was not issued in a vacuum, but follows in a long series of pro-terrorist actions by the legal left and the Democratic politicians who support them.

    Senate “Torture” Report Takes Its Place on the Ash Heap of Shame

    Senators currently defaming our intelligence efforts with glee were in briefings a decade ago and uttered not a peep. The wounds were still fresh, the American bodies barely cold, the public still clinging to some semblance of resolve.

    But now, with a wounded Democrat president meandering through his final chapters, they see the rehabilitation of the Bush years in full swing. As ISIS rolled unabated across the Middle East, it was instructive to revisit Bush comments from 2007 that cautioned against exiting too early, lest the enemy re-occupy, regroup and re-establish a foothold for killing the infidels. He was completely correct.

    To Democrats, this cannot stand. Their meekness cannot be blamed in the history books for an uptick in terror that threatens to further discredit the already stained Obama legacy.

    As for torture getting Bin Laden, Brennan is a liar preaching to the gullible. Their own documents show that the critical intel came without torture.

    Can you substantiate this claim?

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  25. Poosh

    ” There was no need for the Poosh-type bullshit” = asking for more information. No one give more information please apparently. No one ask questions or try and gather as much information as possible!!! … apparently

    And I’ve seen a few of those Moorewatch threads, where CM is likewise treated with the same disdain and causes the same aggravation. Nice rewriting of history though.

    You’re the dipshit who fired the first shot.
    You’re the same dickward who opened his mouth without warrant.
    You’re the minge who decided to engaged in hostilities first, not me or anyone else.
    Sounds like your bullshit.

    Here’s how the convo could have gone:

    CM: I don’t know how you can confidently declare X then state you know nothing about X?

    Poosh: That is not what happened. I confidently declared X and asked for additional info regarding X as my knowledge pool is finite, and the posters here may have some interesting links that I may have not read

    CM: Oh I see. I can’t possibly argue with that. That’s logically consistent, though I do not agree with your conclusions.
    _____

    Shite, forgot you’re a troll. And I’m falling for it again.

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  26. Poosh

    “Can you substantiate this claim?”

    If memory serves (and it may not) Brennan claimed he had no evidence either way on if “torture” worked or not? And refused to say info was gained from Enhanced Techniques.

    The damage done by Obama in the past few years has already been increased via this report. Lying to the suspect by suggesting you’re going to kill or rape his family, or kill him, and roughing him up a bit to show you’re not messing with him (even though you are) was one of many necessary techniques needed. This tool in the bag can now never ever be used as any terrorist will simply be aware that it’s a bluff. Nice going. CHANGE YOU CAN BELIEVE IN.

    It won’t be long before the CIA are forbidden from trying to demonstrate inconsistencies in the suspects stories due to the stress caused by being revealed to be a liar.

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  27. Hal_10000 *

    So let me get this straight: the investigation was not thorough enough for the Senate to draw any conclusions from it. But it *was* thorough enough for Chambliss to make claims that the program worked and was awesome? That’s might fine partisan lifting you’re doing there.

    I’ve read Chambliss’s rebuttal and I’m unimpressed by it. He doesn’t dispute any of the facts: the CIA put 119 people into its torture program, of whom 26 were innocent. That at least one innocent person was tortured to death. That the methods included waterboarding, rectal “infusions”, sleep deprivation, stress positions — all of which are classified as torture under our laws and international agreement. That many targets, including KSM, were tortured immediately upon capture. Chambliss amounts to quibbles about how much weight to give certain evidence.

    The links you provide all say the same things: CIA and Bush Admin talking points. I’ve addressed most of them before and I feel no need to address them again just because some GOP junkie has decided to put out his particular version. One specific point: the committees *did* react when they were briefed on torture. They passed a law banning it and Bush vetoed it.

    Further the claim that CIA people weren’t interviewed is just a bullshit screen. The report is drawn from more than six million documents and previous interviews with the inspector general. The CIA directors testified to Congress numerous times about the program and lied their asses off, as detailed in the report, which documents Michael Hayden’s lies for *30 pages*. The CIA provided bogus information, kept the Panetta report from them and then spied on them when they got it. The CIA also flatly refused to answer questions and refused to cooperate, citing the Holder investigation and other potential investigations. It takes an incredible amount of gall for the CIA to lie, obstruct, obfuscate and finally refuse to cooperate and then come out and say, “Hey, you didn’t talk to us!” Just as it takes an incredible amount of gall to refuse to investigate and then say, “Hey, we didn’t participate!” It’s the perfect catch-22: unless you adopt the CIA’s position, you’re biased.

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  28. Hal_10000 *

    I think Doug encapsulates my feelings precisely:

    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/the-amorality-of-dick-cheney-and-the-right-in-response-to-the-truth-about-c-i-a-torture/

    Watch a few minutes of coverage of this story on Fox News, listen to talk radio, or read many of the sites in the conservative blogosphere, each of which I’ve done to some extent in the week since the report came out in an effort to get some understanding of what conservatives, who claim to be guided by the morality of Jesus of Nazareth, think about what was done in the name of the United States of America, and you’ll find the same amorality that Cheney displays in this interview. The ends justify the means, they will tell you, because the nation was at risk after September 11th, and evidence that these techniques didn’t actually result in any actionable intelligence will be dismissed and ignored. Others will bring up the inevitable “ticking time bomb” scenario where someone would be subjected to such techniques to gain information about a terror attack known to be imminent or underway, even though there is no evidence of any such scenario unfolding at any point in the thirteen years since the September 11th attacks. Point out that torture is a violation of human rights, domestic law, and international treaties to which the United States is a signatory and the response will typically be that such concerns should not apply when we’re trying to “protect the homeland,” while others will blithely say that terrorists in particular, or even Muslims in general, don’t have rights under the U.S. Constitution because they are allegedly seeking to destroy the West. Look for any sense of regret about what was done, and instead you’ll often find what you see in the former Vice-President, not only a refusal to acknowledge that there could have possibly been anything wrong with waterboarding, forcing people to stand naked in a room for hours on end, or “feeding” them rectally, but some sense of pride that it was done at all. For a movement that claims to place morality and religious faith at the center of its philosophy, it’s a striking and, quite honestly, repulsive thing to see. Perhaps the best thing about the fact that this report has become public, finally, is that it is bringing the existence of such amorality to light. The question is why anyone would give people who hold such views political power ever again.

    I would add that the government did indefinitely detain and torture an American citizen — Jose Padilla. Their reasoning was because he was about to create a dirty bomb, a goal he was about as close to as my cat is. The quibble I have is that I think a lot of this is guided by partisanship. If a Democratic President tortured people (or, say, droned American citizens without trial), I have little doubt the parties would be reversed.

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  29. Iconoclast

    So let me get this straight: the investigation was not thorough enough for the Senate to draw any conclusions from it. But it *was* thorough enough for Chambliss to make claims that the program worked and was awesome? That’s might fine partisan lifting you’re doing there.

    No, you’re just putting word in my (and Chambliss’) mouth. No one is claiming that the program was “awesome” but you. And it appears that you’re saying that one cannot disagree with the report without being partisan, but that would suggest that the report itself is partisan, which is my main point. Chambliss was a member of the committee, so his words do carry some weight.

    My point is that the report is one-sided, like a Michael Moore movie. But then, I’m sure there are people who are fine with MM’s methods…

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  30. Iconoclast

    Former CIA insider: My officers “did not torture anybody” (Emphasis added):

    “One of the reasons I react so strongly, as does George Tenet, to people calling it torture, was that the Department of Justice told us at time, this is legal, this is not torture,” Morrell said. “So when people call it torture, I react strongly because it says my officers tortured people — they did not torture anybody.”

    “I pored over this program in early 2013 like I’ve never pored over anything before,” he said. “And when I walked away from studying the Senate report and studying our response, talking to our officers, I became actually more convinced that this program was effective in getting information that led to the capture of additional senior operatives that stopped plots that would have killed Americans. I have no doubt about that.”

    As with many, Morell does not believe the Senate report holds water, pointing to two key points that are flawed and incorrect.

    “One is that many of its main conclusions are simply wrong. For example, program not effective? Not true. CIA lied to Congress, lied to the White House, lied to the Department of Justice, simply not true,” Morell said. “Second is it leaves out much of the story.”

    “Congressmen who were briefed on this program in 2002, 2003, 2004, supported this program, and some even thought that we did not go far enough,” Morell said.

    But yeah, this is just “talking points”…

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  31. Iconoclast

    Quit spewing CIA talking points.

    This is known as “poisoning the well”. Apparently, as far as HAL10000 is concerned, we simply cannot believe anything the CIA says, so don’t bother asking them anything about this. OTOH, sure, we can believe anything and everything the (currently Democrat-controlled) Senate says about the CIA…

    I guess George Tenet, a Clinton appointee, is just another “GOP Junkie”. Or maybe former Deputy and Acting Director of the CIA Mike Morell was just lying about George Tenet’s negative reaction to the report…

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  32. Iconoclast

    The late Christopher Hitchens, who experienced water-boarding (emphasis added):

    [A] man who has been waterboarded may well emerge from the experience a bit shaky, but he is in a mood to surrender the relevant information and is unmarked and undamaged and indeed ready for another bout in quite a short time. When contrasted to actual torture, waterboarding is more like foreplay. On this analysis, any call to indict the United States for torture is therefore a lame and diseased attempt to arrive at a moral equivalence between those who defend civilization and those who exploit its freedoms to hollow it out, and ultimately to bring it down. I myself do not trust anybody who does not clearly understand this viewpoint.”

    A final thought from the same article:

    George Orwell, a man of the left, made clear that people sleep peacefully in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. Today, we are telling our rough men to stop being rough. It’s no longer necessary. It’s torture. It’s illegal and immoral. And we’re ashamed of them. To our enemies, this will appear as a kind of unilateral disarmament. All of us — Mrs. Feinstein and Mr. Stewart included — should think about that, perhaps tonight when we lie down in our beds.

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  33. Poosh

    @Iconoclast I think Hitchens actually underwent waterboarding and concluded, hysterically, that it was actually torture.

    He’s still a liberal remember, that he is a man to respect does not prevent him from sillyness at times.

    He probably meant it was “torturous” which is different. You can think about it like this, would you rather have your nails ripped out, or spend a year in jail? Anyone who says nails is lying as far as I’m concerned. Now, would you rather be waterboarded or spend a year in jail? Anyone who said “jail” would be likewise lying as far as I’m concerned. If you’d rather endure X then spend a year doing Y (where Y is something we all agree is not torture) then either X is not torture, or Y is actually torture and our language is faulty. Just because something isn’t torture doesn’t make it right or acceptable though, obviously (a single punch in the face, would not be torture, but it would be an abuse). The CIA’s behavior does seem to indicate, including some of Hal’s points above, indicate a CIA who are not consistently rational and indeed undemocratic in places, and should not be trusted with the power to torture and/or use Enhanced Interrogation Techniques. But that isn’t the belittle the vast majority who are in a horrific job and trying to do their best every day, dealing with moral dilemmas most of us will never face.

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  34. Hal_10000 *

    This is known as “poisoning the well”. Apparently, as far as HAL10000 is concerned, we simply cannot believe anything the CIA says, so don’t bother asking them anything about this. OTOH, sure, we can believe anything and everything the (currently Democrat-controlled) Senate says about the CIA…

    Considering that the head of the CIA is now documented to have lied, that the CIA withheld information, that the CIA destroyed the torture tapes, that the CIA spied on the committee, that the CIA has now admitted to lying about the number of people in the program, lying about whether anyone died in the program, lying about how many innocents were swept up into the program, lying about the methods used … I think they’ve poisoned their own damn well. To use your Michael Moore analogy, this is like him coming out with another movie and proclaiming that this time, he’s totally fact-checked everything!

    I think it’s showing how bad the pro-torture line is that May’s article Dowdizes Hitchens like that. As CM pointed out (and was downvoted for) that quote is form an article where he specifically says that waterboarding is torture. And then he goes on to quote Orwell, who specifically said that “the object of torture is torture”. Good God.

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  35. Iconoclast

    What you have quoted is not HIS conclusion, but one of the two views he explains.

    Yes, but he concludes with, “I myself do not trust anybody who does not clearly understand this viewpoint”, said viewpoint being what I highlighted in the quote, namely, “any call to indict the United States for torture is therefore a lame and diseased attempt to arrive at a moral equivalence between those who defend civilization and those who exploit its freedoms to hollow it out, and ultimately to bring it down.”

    The CIA’s behavior does seem to indicate, including some of Hal’s points above, indicate a CIA who are not consistently rational and indeed undemocratic in places, and should not be trusted with the power to torture and/or use Enhanced Interrogation Techniques. But that isn’t the belittle the vast majority who are in a horrific job and trying to do their best every day, dealing with moral dilemmas most of us will never face.

    This is a valid point; there will always be those who abuse whatever power they possess. But the Hal’s assessment of the Senate report makes it seem that the entire CIA, every single person involved with the program, is a pathological liar with a torture fetish. It reminds me of how John Kerry slandered the US military, claiming that war crimes were condoned by all levels of the military, when he testified at the Fullbright hearings, implying that every single soldier was a war criminal. And your other point is equally valid, the majority of the agents were dealing with moral decisions we mere mortals never have to face. It’s so easy to condemn from a cushy, safe distance, after all.

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  36. CM

    @Iconoclast I think Hitchens actually underwent waterboarding and concluded, hysterically, that it was actually torture.

    He did. Iconoclast’s source was intentionally misleading in how it quoted from the Vanity Fair piece.

    He’s still a liberal remember, that he is a man to respect does not prevent him from sillyness at times.

    He’s nothing because he’s dead, but for the last 10 years of his life he could hardly have been called a liberal.

    He probably meant it was “torturous” which is different.

    I think Hitchens possessed sufficient skill to tell us what he meant. Any attempt to pervert it would be “torturous”.

    Yes, but he concludes with, “I myself do not trust anybody who does not clearly understand this viewpoint”, said viewpoint being what I highlighted in the quote, namely, “any call to indict the United States for torture is therefore a lame and diseased attempt to arrive at a moral equivalence between those who defend civilization and those who exploit its freedoms to hollow it out, and ultimately to bring it down.”

    I clearly understand that viewpoint, but it’s still torture. Everyone but a handful of American conservatives believes it is. Just because might do something worse, doesn’t it isn’t torture. Hitchens very clearly considered it to be torture when it was done to him.
    Always, he only concludes that viewpoint with that quote. He actually concludes with “I had only a very slight encounter on that frontier, but I still wish that my experience were the only way in which the words “waterboard” and “American” could be mentioned in the same (gasping and sobbing) breath.”

    Clearly he’s not someone you’d want to put up to defend waterboarding as not being torture, but I can understand that someone relying on something as partisan such as townhall.com without checking the source material might mistakenly do so.

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  37. Iconoclast

    I clearly understand that viewpoint, but it’s still torture.

    The point is whether to “indict the United States for torture”. Hitchens seems to think the answer is “no”, even though he personally considers waterboarding to be torture. Sure, Hitchens wishes the USA didn’t do waterboarding. I wish we didn’t. But we did, so should the USA be roundly condemned? I say no. Hitchens seems to agree. All you leftists seem to be saying yes, but then leftists appear to want to condemn the USA as a matter of course. This lopsided “report” is just more fodder for doing so.

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  38. Iconoclast

    …relying on something as partisan such as townhall.com…

    But it admits to being partisan, something that the US Senate and the New York Times and Vanity Fair do not, even though they are just as partisan as TownHall. Just read the TownHall about page — they make no attempt to pretend they’re anything other than Conservative.

    Too many sources pretend they’re unbiased and neutral, while being hyper-partisan for the left.

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  39. CM

    The point is whether to “indict the United States for torture”.

    No that wasn’t at all why you introduced Hitchens to the discussion. That’s an entirely different discussion, which you can only have once and if you’ve determined that torture has taken place. A handful of people are still clinging to the idea that water-boarding isn’t torture.

    But we did, so should the USA be roundly condemned? I say no. Hitchens seems to agree. All you leftists seem to be saying yes, but then leftists appear to want to condemn the USA as a matter of course.

    Yes of course, we unanimously decided it at the most recent leftist convention, mostly just to nauseate you. We certainly never use logic or rationality. That’s only for people on the right. It keeps the world so nice and simple that way.

    This lopsided “report” is just more fodder for doing so.

    How is it lopsided? Was torture used or wasn’t it? What specific condemnation is included?

    But it admits to being partisan, something that the US Senate and the New York Times and Vanity Fair do not, even though they are just as partisan as TownHall. Just read the TownHall about page — they make no attempt to pretend they’re anything other than Conservative.

    Too many sources pretend they’re unbiased and neutral, while being hyper-partisan for the left.

    Right, and because they are clearly biased they misled you (because why not, they have no standards they need to adhere to). Which you seem to be fine about. Which is why they survive (and indeed thrive).

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  40. Iconoclast

    No that wasn’t at all why you introduced Hitchens to the discussion.

    But it has been my overarrching point all along. I have been questioning the lopsided, partisan nature of the report all along. The whole point of calling it torture is to condemn the CIA for torture.

    Right, and because they are clearly biased they misled you…

    Sure, the MSM never misleads, does it? (Assuming, for the sake of argument, that I was “misled” to begin with. The TownHall article I quoted clearly stated that the Vanity Fair article headline was “Believe Me, It’s Torture”. The TownHall article stated that the headline was “widely quoted”, but observed that the otehr stuff I quoted Hitchens as saying was widely ignored by the MSM. THAT is the point.)

    But sure, thanks for telling me what I mean.

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  41. Iconoclast

    From the same TownHall article (emphasis added):

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s 6,000-page “torture report” offered not a single recommendation. I will: Let’s reconfirm that torture is prohibited. Let’s include waterboarding in that category. But then let’s initiate a rigorous and scientific study of the most effective interrogation techniques. Some, I’m confident, will be harsh.

    If I was “misled”, it wasn’t because of TownHall’s admitted bias.

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  42. Iconoclast

    The CIA Saved Lives (Emphasis added):

    The recently released Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) Majority report on the CIA’s Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation Program is marred by errors of facts and interpretation and is completely at odds with the reality that the leaders and officers of the Central Intelligence Agency lived through. It represents the single worst example of Congressional oversight in our many years of government service.

    Astonishingly, the SSCI Majority staff interviewed no CIA officers responsible for establishing, implementing, or evaluating the program’s effectiveness. Let us repeat, no one at the CIA was interviewed.

    Worse, the Committee selectively used documents to try to substantiate a point of view where ample and contrary evidence existed. Over 5 years and at a cost of $40 million, the staff “cherry picked” through 6 million pages of documents to produce an answer they knew the Majority wanted. In the intelligence profession, that is called politicization.

    The SSCI Majority would have the American people believe that the program was initiated by a rogue CIA that consistently lied to the President, the National Security Council, the Attorney General, and the Congress. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nothing.

    Again, this will be dimissed as “talking points”, which is utter bullshit.

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  43. Hal_10000 *

    For fuck’s sake, Icon, that’s a website created by the CIA itself. And yes, it repeats the exact same talking points I’ve been responding to throughout this thread.

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  44. CM

    But it has been my overarrching point all along. I have been questioning the lopsided, partisan nature of the report all along. The whole point of calling it torture is to condemn the CIA for torture.

    It’s somewhat backwards to suggest that it shouldn’t be called torture (and try to cite Hitchens) because otherwise people might condemn the US for officially using it. It’s either torture or it’s not. And waterboarding, by any measure (other than a dodgy internal memo), is torture.
    But yes, I would certainly agree that those who authorised torture should be condemned. But I guess that’s what makes me a nauseating ‘liberal fuck’.

    Sure, the MSM never misleads, does it?

    I am 100% sure that we could find a case of when it has. So the answer would therefore need to be a yes. However, the less objective the source, the greater need to check accuracy (if possible). Surely?

    (Assuming, for the sake of argument, that I was “misled” to begin with. The TownHall article I quoted clearly stated that the Vanity Fair article headline was “Believe Me, It’s Torture”. The TownHall article stated that the headline was “widely quoted”, but observed that the otehr stuff I quoted Hitchens as saying was widely ignored by the MSM. THAT is the point.)

    Ah ok so you weren’t misled – you were trying to mislead us instead.

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  45. Hal_10000 *

    Icon, I’ll just say this one more time:

    Astonishingly, the SSCI Majority staff interviewed no CIA officers responsible for establishing, implementing, or evaluating the program’s effectiveness. Let us repeat, no one at the CIA was interviewed.

    This is the tell. When you see this talking point, you can basically ignore anything else that is said. The SSCI did not interview CIA officers not because they hated the CIA or because they weren’t interested. They didn’t interview them because the CIA refused to talk to them, citing legal concerns. This is like a murderer refusing to take the stand and then berating his guilty verdict because he wasn’t “allowed” to testify. This is the perfect defense for the CIA. Refuse to cooperate, then say any conclusions is wrong because you didn’t cooperate.

    Worse, the Committee selectively used documents to try to substantiate a point of view where ample and contrary evidence existed. Over 5 years and at a cost of $40 million, the staff “cherry picked” through 6 million pages of documents to produce an answer they knew the Majority wanted. In the intelligence profession, that is called politicization

    This is also bullshit. The committee only released a narrow slice of the documentation after a fight with the White House and the CIA over what should be redacted. So again, the CIA cites their secrecy and lack of cooperation and somehow indicting the SSCI. This is garbage. And the only people saying it seriously are the CIA, CIA personnel, a CIA web page, former Bush Administration officials and useful idiots who insist on repeating the excuses of aforementioned because LIBERALS!

    They have never disputed the facts. They have not disputed that over 100 people were tortured. They have not disputed that many of those tortured were innocent. They have not disputed that they tortured immediately with many detainees. They have not disputed that at least one person died under this regime. They have not disputed that the they kept some of the details from the President until 2006. Their disputing of whether torture “worked” consists of baseslessly insisting that Evidence A would never have been recovered without torture and that it was more important than evidences B, C and D. Their entire response consists of muddying the waters with accusations of partisanship.

    If the IRS responding to a damning report like this, you’d laugh. If the State Department responded to a report on Benghazi like this, you’d pillory them. But let the CIA do it, and suddenly we’re supposed to believe that after all the lies, all the distortions, all the refusals to talk, all the destructions of evidence that now they are telling us the real truth?

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  46. Iconoclast

    What I’m saying is that there are many sides to any story, including this one. There is the CIA’s version, the Senate’s version, and the actual truth, which presumably lies somewhere between the CIA’s and Senate’s version. But you guys are pretending that only the (Harry-Reid-led, Democrat-controlled) Senate tells the truth, that the CIA essentially has no right to defend itself.

    Well, may be…

    If the IRS responding to a damning report like this, you’d laugh.

    The IRS was accused of targeting Americans if they happened to be conservative. And of course, we don’t have a Senate report damning them, do we? The CIA were targeting enemies of the state, terrorists. Comparing this to the IRS is laughable.

    If the State Department responded to a report on Benghazi like this, you’d pillory them.

    And again, we have no Senate report on the State Department, do we? When (IF) we ever do, it’ll probably also be a partisan exercise, produced by a Republican-controlled Senate led by Mitch McConnell. I’m rather confident that a Harry-Reid-led Senate would never in a trillion years produce either report you hypothesize. That’s kind of the point I’ve been making all along, chief.

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  47. Iconoclast

    Again, what I’m saying is if Bush just happened to have a “D” following his name, odds are that this report would never exist.

    One of the “useful idiots” you mention is George Tenet. Yes, he was head of the CIA, but he was also a Clinton appointee.

    This is also bullshit.
    Yes, of course. Anything that doesn’t agree with the Senate narrative is bullshit. If you don’t swallow the Senate report hook, line and sinker, you’re basically a holocaust-denier.

    Got it.

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  48. Iconoclast

    Ah ok so you weren’t misled – you were trying to mislead us instead.

    This is why I dismiss you as a “liberal fuck”. You ain’t interested in “discussion”. You just wanna score points…

    I was never trying to “mislead”. I was trying to provide some balance and perspective. That your main take-away is “mislead” is what makes you a “liberal fuck”, and it’s why you nauseate me.

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  49. Iconoclast

    I guess this Senator, who happens to be a Democrat and who served on the Senate Intelligence Committee, is just another useful idiot (emphasis added):
    Senator Bob Kerrey: Partisan torture report fails America

    The Republicans checked out early when they determined that their counterparts started out with the premise that the CIA was guilty and then worked to prove it.

    Fairness should dictate that the examination of documents alone do not eliminate the need for interviews conducted by the investigators. Isolated emails, memos and transcripts can look much different when there is no context or perspective provided by those who sent, received or recorded them.

    The worse consequence of a partisan report can be seen in this disturbing fact: It contains no recommendations. This is perhaps the most significant missed opportunity, because no one would claim the program was perfect or without its problems. But equally, no one with real experience would claim it was the completely ineffective and superfluous effort this report alleges.

    But this will all be dismissed as “bullshit” because it doesn’t align with the partisan Senate report, which alone contains the truth, and only the truth. Senator Bob Kerrey is just another holocaust-denier.

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  50. Iconoclast

    If the IRS responding to a damning report like this, you’d laugh.

    Again, the IRS was targeting Americans, whereas the CIA was trying to protect Americans. You cannot get more apples-to-oranges than that.

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  51. Hal_10000 *

    Again, the IRS was targeting Americans, whereas the CIA was trying to protect Americans. You cannot get more apples-to-oranges than that.

    No it isn’t. An American — Jose Padilla — *was* targeted by the enhanced interrogation techniques. And the IRS claims they were “protecting” us from bogus tax filings. We don’t take agencies’ self-serving statements as fact. How was destroying the torture tapes protecting Americans? There are a lot of people — including Petraeus — who think torture actually put us in greater danger by serving a causus belli for AQI, eroding our support among Iraqis and providing bogus intelligence.

    What matters it not the intention of the agency; what matters is the lying, obfuscation and law-breaking.

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  52. Iconoclast

    No it isn’t. An American — Jose Padilla — *was* targeted by the enhanced interrogation techniques.

    Nobody is denying that mistakes were made. That’s the point. Padilla was a tragic mistake. What the IRS did was policy.

    Again, this report wouldn’t have ever seen the light of day if Bush happened to be a Democrat. Or perhaps if Obama were more popular, or if Democrats had a better showing at the 2014 midterms. That you cannot see that this report was a partisan exercise is disturbing. Of course no one is denying the actual facts, because the facts, in and of themselves, don’t matter. Well, they only matter if they can be used to help the Democrats in some way. Facts that run counter to that were ignored by the report, which also failed to make any recommendations on how to fix perceived problems or make things better in any way. You talked about a “tell” earlier. Well, an utter lack of recommendations is certainly a tell as to how much of a partisan hatchet job this report really is.

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  53. Iconoclast

    Of course no one is denying the actual facts, because the facts, in and of themselves, don’t matter.

    Right now, public opinion is leaning toward Republicans and away from Democrats. Obama is unpopular. Democrats got pounded in the midterms, and lost control of the Senate. The purpose of this report was to try and counter that, to get public opinion swinging back toward the Democrats. That was its purpose. I doubt that Feinstein could give a tinker’s damn about making actual improvements to the CIA’s programs. Given that this report didn’t include any interviews or recommendations, it should be obvious that actually improving the CIA was not the goal. Trashing it when it was under the watch of evil Neocons, and therefore trashing the evil Neocons by association, was its purpose. Again, if the Democrats were doing better in the court of public opinion, there would be no reason for this report to exist. This is what I meant when I stated that the facts, in and of themselves, don’t matter. If this report wasn’t deemed necessary by Democrat leadership, all of the facts would have been ignored, because the report would have never existed.

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  54. Iconoclast

    Padilla was a tragic mistake.

    I may have spoken too soon…

    The fact that Padilla was an American citizen didn’t preclude him from being an al Qaeda operative, who was indeed convicted of terrorist activity in a federal court. He wasn’t waterboarded, but he was subjected to sleep-deprivation, stress positions, and mid-altering drugs. Now sure, we can debate whether Padilla was deprived of his Constitutional rights, but when the narrative is that “Jose Padilla was an American citizen who was targeted by enhanced interrogation techniques”, and that the salient points of his actual guilt and that his name was provided by Abu Zubaydah, that these points are omitted from the discussion, serves only to shut down any possible debate, and railroad all parties into preconceived conclusions.

    That’s the problem with omitting context, and with cherry-picking facts. Sure, there is nothing to be gained by denying that Padilla was an American who was indeed subject to EIT, but leaving out other facts, such as his actual guilt and that he was indeed an al Qaeda operative, is intellectually dishonest. That’s what I am saying about the report as a whole, that it’s guilty of these kinds of omissions. That every CIA employee who ever lived is an habitual, pathological liar who is genetically incapable of uttering a true statement does not mitigate that.

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  55. CM

    Bullshit, your quote was meant to suggest that Hitchens thought waterboarding wasn’t torture. If you knew what he actually wrote in that article (and elaborated on elsewhere) then what else were you doing than attempting to mislead. And no, I’m not after points – if I was, I certainly wouldn’t have initially given you the benefit of the doubt.

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  56. Iconoclast

    Bullshit, your quote was meant to suggest that Hitchens thought waterboarding wasn’t torture.

    Thanks for telling me what I meant. Seems unlikely, given the title of Hitchens’ article, “Believe me, it’s torture”, but then, what do I know?

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  57. CM

    You didn’t mention what the article was called. Look at what you posted. If anyone was to rely on just what you posted they would have a completely different impression of what Hitchens thought. Stop playing dumb.

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  58. Hal_10000 *

    Nobody is denying that mistakes were made. That’s the point. Padilla was a tragic mistake. What the IRS did was policy.

    Padilla was policy. They continue to defend his arrest and treatment.

    I have little doubt that the Democrats would sweep this under the rug if Bush were a Democrat. But if the Democrats think they’re going to run on torture, they’re mistaken. Polls indicate Americans either don’t care or support it, which is depressing.

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  59. Iconoclast

    Padilla was policy. They continue to defend his arrest and treatment.

    At the end of the day, Padilla was an al Qaeda operative, making him an enemy of the state. Again, we can debate whether his status as an enemy of the state should trump his status as an American citizen, but to persist in pretending that it’s an apples-to-apples comparison to what the IRS was doing, targting Americans (plural) because of ideology, is simply absurd, unless you want to consider Conservatives and Tea Party members to be enemies of the state. When you persist in equivocating over agency policies by claiming that the IRS and CIA are comparable, you are basically saying that Conservatives and Tea Party members are in the same class as al Qaeda operatives.

    And Padilla was one person, whereas the IRS targeted hundreds (thousands?) of taxpaying American citizens just because they were Conservatives, not because they were some kind of existential threat to other American citizens.

    Additionally, in order for the situations to be comparable, we would need a Senate report on the IRS, written exclusively by Republican committed staff, based exclusively on cherry-picked data from IRS documents, with no IRS employees being questioned. Once we have that situation, then and only then will you be in a position to judge how I react to such a report.

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  60. Iconoclast

    You didn’t mention what the article was called. Look at what you posted. If anyone was to rely on just what you posted they would have a completely different impression of what Hitchens thought.

    Perhaps, but I did post the actual link, and assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that interested parties would follow said link and pursue the matter further. It isn’t as if I were deliberately trying to hide anything. I will admit that I could have (should have) been more explicit; blog sound bites can and do get misread and perhaps I did mislead, but my point is that it wasn’t intentional.

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  61. CM

    Perhaps, but I did post the actual link, and assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that interested parties would follow said link and pursue the matter further.

    But unfortunately your linked piece was misleading, so anyone following it (to check) would have read this:

    In 2008, Christopher Hitchens, a man of the left, volunteered to be waterboarded. The headline of his Vanity Fair piece was widely quoted: “Believe Me, It’s Torture.” What almost no one quoted was his more nuanced conclusion that “a man who has been waterboarded may well emerge from the experience a bit shaky, but he is in a mood to surrender the relevant information and is unmarked and undamaged and indeed ready for another bout in quite a short time. When contrasted to actual torture, waterboarding is more like foreplay. On this analysis, any call to indict the United States for torture is therefore a lame and diseased attempt to arrive at a moral equivalence between those who defend civilization and those who exploit its freedoms to hollow it out, and ultimately to bring it down. I myself do not trust anybody who does not clearly understand this viewpoint.”

    There was no link to the actual piece, Presumably because the author (Cliff May) knows he was completely misrepresenting what Hitchens said. Presumably nobody here on the right is going to question May’s piece and go looking at the actual Vanity Fair article though. The fact that my post following yours (linking to the Vanity Fair piece and politely pointing out the clear discrepancy) is one downvote from being hidden makes that very obvious.

    I will admit that I could have (should have) been more explicit; blog sound bites can and do get misread and perhaps I did mislead, but my point is that it wasn’t intentional.

    Well either you were misled or you attempted to mislead us. It’s one or the other. You claim that you certainly weren’t trying to mislead (which I can certainly accept) but then you also said that you’d only accept that YOU were misled “for the sake of argument”:

    (Assuming, for the sake of argument, that I was “misled” to begin with. The TownHall article I quoted clearly stated that the Vanity Fair article headline was “Believe Me, It’s Torture”. The TownHall article stated that the headline was “widely quoted”, but observed that the otehr stuff I quoted Hitchens as saying was widely ignored by the MSM. THAT is the point.)

    Why only “for sake of argument”?

    In fact the piece claimed that the part you quoted (and that “almost no one quoted”) was Hitchens’ “more nuanced conclusion”. Which is nonsense, it wasn’t at all. But if you KNEW it was nonsense, then you weren’t misled at all.
    So neither option makes sense at this point….

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