CIA Report Doesn't Say "Torture" Anywhere, But There's No Other Word To Describe This

There's a reason why some headlines are putting the word "torture" in quotation marks. The Senate Intelligence Committee's massive CIA torture report never actually uses the word "torture," which seems downright absurd considering 1) it's widely known as "the torture report," and 2) it features overwhelming evidence of not just torture, but extremely brutal torture. There's just no other way to describe what CIA agents were doing to detainees during interrogation sessions after 9/11. And as we become privy to the horrifying tactics used on detainees, it's infuriating to see that the CIA is still defending its actions.

In response to the report released on Tuesday, CIA Director John Brennan issued a statement on the CIA's site:

Despite common ground with some of the findings of the Committee’s Study, we part ways with the Committee on some key points. Our review indicates that interrogations of detainees on whom EITs were used did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives. The intelligence gained from the program was critical to our understanding of al-Qa’ida and continues to inform our counterterrorism efforts to this day.

In Brennan's statement, EITs refers to "enhanced interrogation techniques," techniques which he's upholding as effective and justifiable. For anyone who has read the details of the report, these EITs will likely be some of the worst accounts of torture they'll ever read. And though the report itself does not use the word "torture," Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has come forward with her own assessment.

She writes in the report's foreword, "It is in my personal conclusion that, under any common meaning of the term, CIA detainees were tortured."

Here's why she's right.

Beyond Inhuman Tactics

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The torture report describes interrogation tactics you won't even see in the most depraved, sadistic movies. Some of the most gruesome — trigger warning for violence below — include:

  • Pureeing hummus, pasta with sauce, raisins, and nuts and infusing it into the detainee's rectum.
  • Forcing detainees to stand on broken legs and feet in difficult positions.
  • Depriving detainees of sleep for up to 180 hours, forcing them to stay awake while standing or with their hands shackled above their heads.
  • Keeping cells so cold that detainees died of hypothermia.
  • Forcing detainees into stress positions, like holding hands above their head, for days at a time.
  • Waterboarding detainees until they convulsed and vomited.

Family Members Threatened

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According to the report, CIA interrogators threatened at least three detainees, including so-called 9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, with physical harm to their family members. This included hurting and killing the detainees' children, sexually abusing their mothers in front of the detainees, and threatening to cut a detainee's mother's throat.

Interrogators Admit to Sexual Assault

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In the report, it's revealed that interrogators admitted to sexually assaulting detainees.

Numerous CIA interrogators and other CIA personnel associated with the program had either suspected or documented personal and professional problems that raised questions about their judgment and CIA employment. This group of officers included individuals who, among other issues, had engaged in inappropriate detainee interrogations, had workplace anger management issues, and had reportedly admitted to sexual assault.

Forced to Play Russian Roulette

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The report found that "among other abuses, [redacted] had engaged in 'Russian roulette' with a detainee.

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