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Rockefeller Speaks about CIA Torture Investigation

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U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation
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Senator Jay Rockefeller spoke on the floor of the United States Senate about the findings of a senate investigation into the CIA’s interrogation methods after 9/11 attacks.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a redacted Executive Summary of its Study on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.

Key Findings:

  • “First, the Detention and Interrogation Program was conceived by people who were ignorant of the topic and made it up on the fly based on the untested theories of contractors who had never met a terrorist or conducted a real-world interrogation of any type. 
  • “Second, it was executed by personnel with insufficient linguistic and interrogation training, and little if any real-world experience. Moreover, the CIA was aware that some of these personnel had a staggering array of personal and professional failings that included criminal activity and should have disqualified them immediately not only from being interrogators, but from being employed by the CIA at all. Nevertheless, it was consistently represented that these interrogators were professionalized and carefully vetted, and that became part of the hollow legal justification of the program.
  • “Third, the program was managed incompetently by senior officials who paid little or no attention to crucial details, and it was rife with troubling personal and financial conflicts of interest among the small group of CIA officials and contractors who promoted and defended it.
  • “Fourth, it was physically severe, far more so than any of us outside the CIA ever knew.
  • “Finally, its results were unclear at best, but it was presented to the White House, the Department of Justice, the Congress, and the media as a silver bullet that was indispensable to ‘saving lives.’  In fact, it did not provide the intelligence it was supposed to provide, or that CIA officials argued it provided.  To be perfectly clear, these harsh techniques were not approved by anyone – ever – for the low-bar standard of learning ‘useful information’ from detainees.”

Senator Jay Rockefeller initiated an investigation in 2007 when he became Chairman of the Intelligence Committee that became the basis for the senate Study.
“The Senate Intelligence Committee’s entire Study on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program is the most in-depth and substantive oversight initiative that the Committee has ever undertaken," Rockefeller said. "It presents extremely valuable insights into crucial oversight questions and problems that need to be addressed at the CIA.”

Rockefeller said investigations was one of the most difficult tasks he’s undertaken in his political career. He said the CIA developed the Interrogation Program in the wake of an unprecedented national crisis, and mistakes were made that were “shocking and deeply troubling,” and they deserved the utmost scrutiny. He encouraged his peers and constituents to resist the natural inclination to cast doubt on the disturbing and embarrassing findings.

“How we deal with this opportunity to learn, and improve, will reflect on the maturity of our democracy,” Rockefeller said.

The Obama Administration continues to withhold more than 9,000 Bush Administration documents related to the CIA’s program. Senator Rockefeller said in a release that he "hopes and expects that beyond today’s initial release of the Executive Summary and Findings and Conclusions, the entire 6,800 page Study will eventually be made public with the appropriate redactions."


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