Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today's Headlines and Commentary

By Benjamin Bissell
Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 2:46 PM

The news cycle over the past day has been dominated by the release of the extensive report on CIA intelligence-gathering techniques, popularly known as the “torture report” or the “CIA report.” The New York Times writes that the review portrays a broken CIA that was devoted to a failed interrogation program. NBC News reports that the CIA paid “torture teachers” over $80 million to develop and operate the “enhanced interrogation techniques.According to Vox, the Senate report proves “once and for all” that the use of enhanced interrogation techniques did not lead to the capture of Osama bin Laden. The New York Times has its own piece on that latter point, too.

The Times also claims that, according to the report, the CIA used media leaks to its advantage by shaping public discourse and opinion over the EITs. The Washington Post outlines some of the more gruesome techniques interrogators employed, including rectal rehydration and feeding. NBC News takes a look into how the CIA tried to “break” prisoners in its ultra-secret “Salt Pit” detention center in Afghanistan. The Los Angeles Times notes that according to the report, the CIA struggled to continuously rationalize the brutal interrogations. Also, the Boston Globe repeats a report allegation that former President Bush was “kept in the dark” on certain CIA tactics.

The Hill carries President Obama’s response to the report, wherein he states that torture is “contrary to our values.” The Washington Post features more on his comments and the report here. The Post also has CIA Director John Brennan’s rebuttal to the study. RollCall covers Senator McCain’s reaction to the report and his “unique moral perspective” on the question of torture.

Politico outlines what is not in the report. The New York Times notes that the release of the study has prompted calls, both domestically and abroad, for prosecution of CIA agents involved. However, those hoping for trials shouldn’t hold their breath, says Bloomberg View. According to them, there are more than a few reasons why the CIA is not likely to be punished.

In addition to their coverage, the Washington Post also has a timeline of important dates regarding the report. US News features the numbers behind the CIA interrogation report. For those interested in knowing more about the 54 countries that aided the CIA’s detention and interrogation program in some way, Vox provides a map. Also, the Washington Post collated the 10 “most harrowing” excerpts from the report.

If you want to know what the CIA actually did, Time explains. And, for an oldie, check out this piece in the Post that examines five myths about torture.

For more related coverage, here is a handy list:

For more commentary, here is another roundup:

If you are looking for all of the primary materials involved with the report, Lawfare has got you covered. Stay tuned---we are currently sifting through all of the documents and will be publishing and updated commentary and analysis along the way.

In other news, the Long War Journal reports that the 6 Guantanamo detainees that were transferred to Uruguay were reportedly part of al Qaeda’s network.

The New York Times carries the testimony US Secretary of State John Kerry gave yesterday on the fight against ISIS

McClatchy writes that rebels in northern Syria say the US has stopped paying them.

According to the Washington Post, Iraqi officials are pressing outgoing US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel for more military support.

The Daily Beast is out with a new article that explains ISIS slavery for dummies.

The Wall Street Journal reports on the security gaps at US posts abroad.

ISIS has another jihadi competitor; NBC News reports that Boko Haram’s level of violence is now comparable to the Islamic State.

The West Bank is on high alert today after a high-ranking Palestinian Authority minister died during an altercation with Israeli security forces. Zaid Abu Ein, the PA Minister for Settlement and the Fence, reportedly collapsed and passed away during a demonstration in Emek Shilo, an area “prone to frequent clashes.” The New York Times has more.

Israel’s Labor party, led by Isaac Herzog, and Hatnua party, led by Tzipi Livni, announced their merger today ahead of early elections in the country. The Jerusalem Post provides more on the move.

Finally, Reuters reports that the US and Pakistan have agreed to increase their bilateral cooperation.

ICYMI: Yesterday, on Lawfare

Ben Wittes provided an overview of what to expect from Lawfare as we review the SSCI report on CIA Enhanced Interrogation Techniques.

The Lawfare staff curated the primary documents from the SSCI study, including the full report, Minority and CIA responses. Ben Wittes also provided video reactions from various senators.

Wells Bennett, Cody Poplin, and Ben Bissell have began to review the findings, conclusions and areas of dispute between the SSCI study, the Minority, and the CIA. You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Paul Rosenzweig introduced a new series on the Lawfare Bitcoin. Make sure to follow along in this experiment.

Ben Wittes linked us to the text of Secretary Kerry’s opening statement and the video of his full testimony yesterday in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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