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.
While 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