Senate-approved CIA torture report kept under wraps

The 6,000-page investigation challenges the efficacy of enhanced interrogation during the war on terror

By Natasha Lennard
December 14, 2012 10:04PM (UTC)
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Although the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted Thursday to approve a 6,000-page report on the use of torture and extraordinary rendition by the CIA, the investigation will for now remain classified. According to the Guardian, Republican senators could push for the extensive report to stay under wraps, despite pressure from human rights advocates to make the information public.

"I believe it to be one of the most significant oversight efforts in the history of the United States Senate," said chair of the intelligence committee Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.  She noted that the report is "a comprehensive review of the CIA’s detention program that includes details of each detainee in CIA custody, the conditions under which they were detained, how they were interrogated, the intelligence they actually provided and the accuracy — or inaccuracy — of CIA descriptions about the program to the White House, Department of Justice, Congress and others."


The investigation is believed to conclude that the CIA's "enhanced interrogation" practices did not glean significant intelligence information. In contention with the narrative depicted in new film "Zero Dark Thirty," which has renewed the debate over the role of torture in the hunt for Osama bin laden, the Senate report is believed to conclude that effective torture did not play a central role in finding the al-Qaida leader.

As I noted yesterday, the vote to adopt the report coincides with a landmark ruling in the European Court of Human Rights, which on Thursday vindicated the claims of a German-Lebanese man who had been subjected to torture and extraordinary rendition by the CIA. Khaled el-Masri was handed over to CIA agents by Macedonian officials and shipped to a secret Afghan prison dubbed "the salt pit." Before the CIA realized it had mistaken el-Masri for another terror suspect, it had tortured him for five months. He was beaten, stripped and sodomized.

The European court ruled that both the United States and Macedonia must now issue el-Masri a full-scale public apology and appropriate compensation. For the first time the court explicitly used the term "torture" to describe CIA interrogations.

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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Cia Dianne Feinstein Enhanced Interrogation Senate Senate Intelligence Committee Torture War On Terror