The CIA has been accused of using “brutal” interrogation techniques on al-Qaeda suspects in the years following the 11 September attacks, in a report by the US Select Committee on Intelligence.
The report also said that the CIA misled the US public about its use of the techniques, that would commonly be described as forms of physical and mental torture.
The document outlines how suspects were interrogated using techniques such as waterboarding, stress positions, slapping, humiliation, exposure to cold temperatures, and sleep deprivation.
The report goes on to claim that the information gained from torturing prisoners failed to be integral in foiling any threats on the US.
However, the CIA has claimed that the Rendition, Detention and Interrogation programme “did produce valuable and unique intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists and save lives”.
The CIA also denies that they “systematically and intentionally misrepresented the program to Congress, others in the Executive Branch, and the media” as implied by the report.
However, the CIA said that it does acknowledged that there were mistakes in the programme, especially early on when it was unprepared for the scale of the operation and its staff lacked the required competencies.
The controversial interrogation programme outlined in the report was authorised by President George W. Bush on 17 September 2001, six days after the terror attacks on the US, and was later reviewed and determined to be lawful by the Justice Department, and implemented by the CIA.
However, it was brought to an end by President Obama in 2009 as one of his first acts in office with Executive Order 13491. Any future use of Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EITs) by the CIA was also quickly prohibited at the same time.
In a statement following the release of the report, CIA Director John O. Brennan said:
“I agree with the President’s decision [to end the detention and interrogation program], and, while I am the Director of the CIA, this program will not under any circumstances be reinitiated. I personally remain firm in my belief that enhanced interrogation techniques are not an appropriate method to obtain intelligence and that their use impairs our ability to continue to play a leadership role in the world.”
The report will make for uncomfortable by those, such as Britain, which aided the US in its programme, and will make any condemnation of a brutal regime appear hypocritical. It may also offer a justification for terrorists actions, and open the US and its allies to attacks as a form of retribution.