Brennan Linsley / Reuters Leg shackles are seen on the floor at Camp 6 detention center, at the U.S. Naval Base, in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, January 21, 2009.

The Torture Blame Game

The Botched Senate Report on the CIA’s Misdeeds

In This Review

 

“Executive Summary,” Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program  BY THE U.S. SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE. 2014, 500 pp. Free online.

“Minority Views of Vice Chairman Chambliss Joined by Senators Burr, Risch, Coats, Rubio, and Coburn,” Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program  BY THE U.S. SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE. 2014, 159 pp. Free online.

“CIA's June 2013 Response to the SSCI Study on the Former Detention and Interrogation Program”   BY THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY. 2014, 136 pp. Free online.

“Overview of CIA-Congress Interactions Concerning the Agency’s Rendition-Detention-Interrogation Program”   BY THE CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY. 2014, 43 pp. Free online.

At the end of World War II, the United Kingdom built memorials to every military branch save one: the Royal Air Force’s Bomber Command. The group had skillfully carried out its mission, leveling German cities in raids that killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. But by 1945, the British public had developed second thoughts about the morality and efficacy of that mission. Years later, opinion shifted again. In 1992, the country finally erected a statue, unveiled by the queen mother, of the command’s lead officer, Sir Arthur Travers Harris. Still, the debate over the bombings never really went away; for months, police had to guard the statue from vandalism.

In recent years, the United States has also developed a belatedly guilty conscience about a wartime practice: the torture of detainees in the “war on terror.” The controversy over the program of “enhanced interrogation” carried out by the CIA during the George W. Bush administration was rekindled late last year with the release of a set of reports and documents related to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s five-year, $40 million investigation of the program. That investigation resulted in a 6,700-page report that remains classified. But after a long struggle between the Senate, the White House, and the CIA, the committee’s Democratic majority released a heavily redacted summary of the report last December, along

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