CIAsenate_large_seal The Senate report is out and linked below. It is remarkable in both its candor and breadth. I was particularly moved by watching Sen. John McCain, a victim of torture, explaining to his colleagues why this country must not only condemn this torture program but come clean about our failure to meet the fundamental values that define us as a people. It was a true profile of courage — an all too rare moment in our contemporary politics where a politician transcends politics and stand boldly on a higher moral ground. What McCain showed was the difference between a politician and a statesman. He proved himself to be the latter this afternoon.

220px-john_mccain_official_portrait_with_alternative_background225px-dianne_feinstein_official_senate_photoWhile I have been critical of Feinstein in the past, I considered this speech to be also her finest hour. While I have criticized the lack action from the committee over the years on this issue, Feinstein did overcome considerable pressure from the intelligence community to bury the report. As the video below shows, McCain called the use of the torture was “shameful” regardless of whether it was effective.

What is most remarkable is the direct identification of people like Hayden, Muller, and others who are accused of giving false information to Congress. This record is combined with the admission that dozens of videotapes were destroyed shortly after the CIA was informed that the legality of the program had been raised. The absence of any criminal charges creates an obvious and troubling disconnect given this lengthy account.

It was equally chilling to not only read of the death of one detainee of possible hyperthermia but the fact that two psychologists created a company and received $80 million for their clearly unethical role in the torture program.

Notably, while the President has repeated his condemnation of the program, there remains a disconnect with the actions of his Administration. The CIA continues to oppose the release of the report and, more importantly, shows a continuing failure to appreciate the depth of the criminal character of this torture program. The CIA issued a statement that again claims that the program was “effective.” As I have discussed in prior columns, it does not matter whether torture is effective or ineffective. It is not just a crime but a war crime. The continued effort of the CIA to claim that it got something positive from torture only reaffirms the view of a rogue agency.

Here is the report: Senate Report


  1. Schulte: As usual, you are thoroughly misguided and way off base. The Democrats released this report in order to rob thunder from John McCain, who is set to take over the Senate committee chair. McCain would’ve been more blistering in his assessment had he not been preempted.

    The GOP does not, and will not, need any help looking bad in the run-up to 2016. Haven’t you read the script?

  2. Paul,
    Thankfully for the country, the law disagrees with your “quaint” definition of torture.


    Doctors without scruples

    Why did the medical professionals of the CIA torture program betray their oath to heal, and concoct a brutal, methodical project to break men’s bodies and spirits?

    in part: According to Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), which has a new report out Tuesday on doctors’ roles in the U.S. torture program, “rectal feeding,” as it is called, was done to Zubaydah, Khan and other detainees as a form of sexual assault and punishment.

    More broadly, the medical professionals involved in the program made a conscious decision, PHR says, to actively participate in torture: “designing, directing, and profiting from the torture program; intentionally inflicting harm on detainees; enabling U.S. Department of Justice lawyers to create a fiction of ‘safe, legal and effective’ interrogation practices; engaging in potential human subjects research to provide legal cover for torture; monitoring torture and calibrating the level of pain; evaluating and treating detainees for the purposes of torture; conditioning medical care on cooperation with interrogators; and failing to document physical and/or psychological evidence of torture.”

    1. leejcaroll – it should go without saying that the job of PHR is to find torture by doctors wherever they can, even if it is not there. If they could not find some, they would have to go out of business.

  4. @Paul C. Schulte ~ Absolutely, it was a partisan hack smear report. Do you think it would have come out, if the Democrats and Obama had not received their reckoning last Nov. 4th? The more the Democrats do to harm Republicans, I feel the more they will lose elections. They have already shown their hand and I think the American people now know their true agenda. Hence, why Obama is trying for a amnesty (votes).

    1. Msjettexas – the idea of this report is to smear the GOP in an effort to set up the 2016 elections. It was also a bright object to deflect from Gruber testifying.

  5. More and more examples that common sense has been lost in politics and law. We are talking about the enemy, not your next door neighbor! They want to kill you, do you understand that at all?

    You can stand in front of these people and ask forgiveness, torturing was wrong, and you know what? They’ll kill you!

    Saving people’s lives is the mission. We didn’t win WWII by being nice to the enemy. In POW camps they were treated well. Deep in a war you do whatever will get you info to save lives. That is why it’s called war!

    Germans were tried in court because they lost, they were the bad guys. The losers get trials, not the winners. And certainly not by their own country. War is about survival, you do what you have to to save lives and your country.

    How many soldiers are in jeopardy because they might hesitate to shoot because they aren’t criminals? And got shot and killed instead!

  6. @Daniel Frankovitch ~
    “This entire Nation is evil, and the best we can do is explain why when our side is doing the evil it is ok, because the other guy is also evil, but in a way that makes it perfectly acceptable to carry out all manners of harm upon them, because we have decided we are going it for a good reason”

    If you think it’s so bad here in the United States Daniel, I’ll pledge on here in front of all of these witness’s that I will BUY you a one way ticket to Iraq, Iran, Russia, Indonesia, Yemen, or Pakistan! I know there is plenty of room there for you and with your attitude and thinking, you’d fit right in!

  7. I find it sad to watch my fellow citizens argue in defense of actions that when those same actions were carried out by our enemies, it was used as evidence of our enemies being evil.

    It is like listening to child molesters explaining why it is ok when they rape a child because the other child molesters murder the kids they rape.

    This entire Nation is evil, and the best we can do is explain why when our side is doing the evil it is ok, because the other guy is also evil, but in a way that makes it perfectly acceptable to carry out all manners of harm upon them, because we have decided we are going it for a good reason.

    We dishonor the memory of the people that died on 9.11.2001 when we act like the people that flew the planes into the buildings.

    Correction, those 19 people were willing to die to hurt us, the average American can’t even be bothered to vote.

  8. Paul Schulte,
    “Prairie Rose – I think you need to go back to my original comment which is a response to his original comment. Then I think you will get the lack of flow.”

    Yeah, I did go back to your original comment that was in response to his original comment which was in response to randyjet’s post on Dec. 9 at 1:54 pm in which he said, “The psychologists should be expelled from any professional society they are members of.”

    As far as I can tell you were not interested in having a discussion about the topic Chuck was expanding upon.

    Did you disagree with him?

    1. Prairie Rose – I wanted to discuss the comment he made about his profession.Although he sniped about his profession, he thought that no one else was allowed to do it so he took he ball home. Actually, he has not played well with others on this site for some time.

  9. Eric:

    I’m familiar with the Credit Suisse case. It’s one of the rare instances in which I actually agreed with Justice Thomas, the lone dissenter. Nevertheless, my view is that Credit Suisse is distinguishable for several reasons. First, the court in that case was concerned with a potential conflict in the regulatory response to unlawful acts. It was not a case in which one federal statute prohibited conduct permitted by another federal statute. The repugnancy related to enforcement mechanisms. Second, both statutes were concerned with the same sort of unlawful activity. Third, the court did not technically conclude that the antitrust laws had been partially repealed by the securities laws; it concluded that the unlawful activities at issue were exclusively subject to the regulatory scheme developed under the securities laws. Therefore, the finding of implied immunity is more closely analogous to preemption law. In short, I think Credit Suisse is a bad decision, but its holding is not beneficial to your analysis in the context of torture.

  10. diogenesthegreat said…

    It doesn’t matter if we were torturing the devil incarnate, it would still be illegal.

    Agreed. The real question is *why* we did it…at the operations level in particular. As you already know from our previous exchanges, I weary of the legal versus illegal issue alone…because it is really a settled matter. No argument there. How we modify our instincts is more than merely citing the law.

  11. Unlike Dianne Feinstine, I can’t get too worked up over tje sleep-deprivatipm aand other items os so-called torture of these prisoners, She did say she would feel terrible if American lives were lost as a result of this mea culpa Senate Release–might even miss her Senate Coffee break. This was a qustionable report at best. What I do get worked up about are the 3,000+ murdered people in the destroyed Twin Towers and the beheaded prisoners and slaughtered villagers at thr hands of ISIS. One died from the aftereffects of the so-called torture.
    . Small ratio, I’d say..

  12. Mike Appleton,

    Regarding implied repeal, I just skimmed (well, and skipped through) this law review article:


    It seems to be analogous. Apparently, SCOTUS altered the longstanding standard for implied repeal and brought it closer to the standard indicated by the health law FAQ.

  13. Eric, please try not to assume things. The amount I (or anyone) care(s) about the victims and potential victims of radical Isalmic jihadists cannot be measured by one’s tolerance for sadomasochistic fantasies.

    And you still haven’t given me an honest answer on whether or not genocide is permissible under your proposed legal framework. If the president determined that the glassing of the entire Islamic world was necessary and appropriate as a means to preventing a Qutbist terrorist attack from ever happening again, would it be legal under your interpretation of the AUMF?

  14. diogenesthegreat,

    There’s the rub.

    Apart from the legal controversy, it’s apparent that you care less about the Qutbist terrorists’ victims and will-be victims than the American President cared and hopefully cares.

  15. diogenesthegreat,

    Qutbist terrorists aren’t Holocaust victims. Rather, Qutbist terrorists are attempting to carry out their version of the Final Solution.

  16. diogenesthegreat,

    Complain to the Framers. I didn’t write the Constitution. They’re the ones who believed that conducting war and other martial affairs by consensus wasn’t a good idea.

    However, paying for it is a different matter. The Legislature has power of the purse and, related and controversially, demands that the Executive reports to them regularly. The Commander in Chief makes the decision and gives the order, but does not act free of Congress.

    Would an American president order genocide? Not in this American era. As well, unlike enhanced interrogation following 9/11, it’s hard to conceive genocide as a necessary and appropriate counter-terrorism measure, especially with the President’s distinction made at the outset between Qutbism and Islam (“religion of peace”).

    Your question, though, is it hypothetically possible under Article II authority for a President to order a genocide? Article II doesn’t specify like that – genocide no, but world war concluded with atomic bombs yes; enhanced interrogation no, but drone strikes yes. Hypothetically, assuming all the other political and practical factors for it were in place, it is possible, but only if Congress approved and paid for it.

    In the enhanced interrogation controversy, it does not appear CIA acted rogue. It appears Congress approved and paid for it.

    Mike Appleton has raised an interesting point that an implied repeal requires a showing of affirmative intent to revoke or repeal the prior statute which is a different analysis. I based my opinion on the health law FAQ, which implies that affirmative intent to revoke or repeal the prior statute is not required, but rather the conflict itself implicates superseding intent only to the extent of the conflict with deference to the later statute, which calls for an examination of balancing interests.

    Under my understanding per the health law FAQ, enhanced interrogation is likely legal because it appears that Congress intended to authorize enhanced interrogation with later statute. However, per Mike’s explanation, it doesn’t appear that Congress intended to revoke or repeal prior statute.

Comments are closed.