The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's study of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program made several critical mistakes that have limited its long-term impact. Here's how it could have been better.
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The CIA should be held accountable for its mistakes, but it’s important to stick to the facts when doing so.
Note: The author is a member of Abu Zubaydah’s legal team. Joseph Margulies, Mark Denbeaux and Helen Duffy, who also represent Abu Zubaydah, have contributed to this article.
Yesterday, in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Central Intelligence Agency released over 50 documents related to the agency's enhanced interrogation and rendition program during the Bush administration.
2/18 Session: Trying to Finish Classification Review “Within the Lives of Living Men” and Zero Dark Thirty Discovery
The commission is called to order with four defendants present (Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa al Hawsawi) and one conspicuously absent (Walid bin Attash.) Judge Pohl begins the session by swearing in an unnamed Army Major to confirm that bin Attash voluntarily waived his right to be present.
After a brief moment of confusion related to Appellate Exhibit (AE) 408 - or is it 408A? – everyone gets on the same page and realizes that it’s just bin Attash’s waiver form for today, as opposed to the one from yesterday’s session.
When the Senate Intelligence Committee initially released its Study on the CIA’s Enhanced Interrogation Program in December 2014, the CIA quietly released a Note to the Reader along with its Fact Sheet, statement from Director John Brennan, and June 2013 Response to a draft of the SSCI Study.
A quick response without getting into the weeds about why I find Senator Feinstein's post so disheartening. Let me be clear: I agree with her normative position that the CIA's "enhanced interrogation techniques" were morally wrong. Full stop. I have tremendous respect for Sen. Feinstein and the committee.
I was extremely disappointed to read Professor Amy Zegart’s post regarding the Senate Intelligence Committee’s study of the CIA Detention and Interrogation Program. Not only did it include factually inaccurate statements, it also appeared to blame the Committee for the impediments imposed on the Study by the Executive Branch.
My staff has compiled a detailed description of the inaccurate and misleading statements included in Ms. Zegart’s post, which appears below.
Who won the torture debate -- the CIA or Senate Intelligence Committee Report? Were waterboarding, rectal hydration, stress positions, and other techniques used against detainees effective? Legal? Ethical? In a forthcoming special issue of the journal Intelligence and National Security, a range of academics and one former CIA lawyer weigh in.