Interrogation tactics by United States intelligence authorities on terror suspects were ineffective and amounted to torture in some cases, a senate investigation has concluded.
The report reignited an intense debate over post-9/11 counterterrorism programs under former president George W. Bush and renewed tensions between the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and US policymakers, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Senate intelligence committee chairman Dianne Feinstein released the report Tuesday, culminating a five-year investigation.
“This document examines the CIA’s secret detention of at least 119 individuals and the use of coercive interrogation techniques — in some cases amounting to torture,” she said.
The report criticized the agency’s decisions and culture for misleading policymakers and the public.
It cites 20 findings and conclusions, charging that CIA management of the program was “deeply flawed,” and that the program was “far more brutal” than the CIA publicly acknowledged, imprisoning some of its subjects for long periods in coffin-size boxes and subjecting them to painful positions.
The report includes several details not previously known, including the true number of detainees in the CIA program and that CIA lost track of some of them.
It said one detainee lost consciousness while being waterboarded, a fact not reported to headquarters and that at least one detainee was chained to a wall for more than two weeks straight.
The report followed last year’s revelations of domestic spying by the National Security Agency which recalled questionable 1970s-era CIA activities unearthed by a congressional committee.
The investigation was backed by Democrats on the intelligence committee but not by most Republicans.
Republican senators denounced it as “an ideologically motivated and distorted recounting of historical events”.
“We have no doubt that the CIA’s detention program saved lives and played a vital role in weakening al Qaeda while the program was in operation,” Republican panel members said in response to the report.
The White House supported the release of the report, putting it at odds with top CIA officials, including Director John Brennan, an appointee of President Barack Obama.
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