CIA interrogation, CIA techniques

Several vitally important allies of the United States severely criticized the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for using brutal interrogation techniques (usually called torture) against terrorist detainees, CNN reports on December 12. British Prime Minister David Cameron strongly condemned torture while in Turkey, saying: “Torture is wrong. Torture is always wrong. Those of us want to see a safer, more secure world, want to see the extremism defeated. We won’t succeed if we lose our moral authority”. In Germany, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on his verified Twitter account that the report findings pointed to “clear violations of democratic values”, and that “this cannot be repeated”. He also stated that “President Obama clearly breaks with the politics of his predecessor. We welcome this new transparency to admit mistakes ... What was considered right in fight against Islamic terrorism was unacceptable – a serious mistake”. In France, the Foreign Ministry said that, when it comes to the fight against terrorism, “the main objective of the international community must stay within the framework of respect for human rights and international humanitarian law”. And in Poland, the largest and strongest NATO member directly confronted now with the new Russian expansionism, former President Aleksander Kwasniewski said the report findings further “the feeling that the USA is becoming weaker, especially in Moscow, where for many years now there is an opinion to 'test' the West as America is weak”. He also said that “this report is something that the Kremlin will receive as an unexpected Christmas present”, and that “another lesson from this report is, that trust even in your closest ally must be limited”. Russia, China, Iran (the important powers usually acting against the West and strongly interested in diminishing the U.S. global influence), together with Afghanistan and Pakistan delivered even more acid comments[1].

The Senate report said nothing can “justify, temper, or excuse improper actions taken by individuals or organizations in the name of national security”

On December 10, 2014, the Senate Intelligence Committee (Senate Select Committee on Intelligence) made public a “report into the CIA’s brutal interrogation tactics against detainees captured after the September 11, 2001”; the report “found CIA tactics were more brutal than previously known and accused the agency of keeping the Bush White House and Congress in the dark”, CNN also reports[2]. The report[3] “contains grisly details of detainees held in secret overseas facilities being subjected to near drowning, or waterboarding, driven to delirium by days of sleep deprivation, threatened with mock executions and threats that their relatives would be sexually abused”, another CNN piece of news says. The same text says that “the central claim of the report is that the controversial CIA methods did not produce information necessary to save lives that was not already available from other means. That is important because supporters of the program have always said that it was vital to obtaining actionable intelligence from detainees that could not be extracted through conventional interrogations”. But CIA Director John Brennan strongly disagreed with this finding, and said: “Our review indicates that interrogations of detainees (subject to enhanced interrogation) did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives”[4].

Most probably, some of the findings in the report will significantly damage important elements of the special relations of the U.S. with several vital strategic allies in Europe and outside Europe, obviously diminishing U.S. action capabilities of all sorts. In our opinion, the consequences of the findings presented by the report will negatively impact the national power of the U.S.

[1] For all fragments quoted here see Roy SANCHEZ, “World reacts to U.S. torture report”, CNN, December 11, 2014, at the Internet address

[2] Ibidem

[3] The text of the parts of the report made public (Foreword by Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Dianne Feinstein, plus Findings and Conclusions Executive Summary) can be easily and freely accessed at the Internet address (last accessed on December 12, 2014)

[4] Stephen COLLINSON and Evan PEREZ, “Senate report: CIA misled public on torture”, CNN, December 10, 2014, at the Internet address

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