WASHINGTON - The CIA misled the government and the public about parts of its interrogation program for years, the Washington Post said Tuesday, quoting a report by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Specifically, the US agency hid details about the severity of its methods, overstated the significance of plots and prisoners and took credit for critical pieces of intelligence that detainees had in fact provided before they were subjected to harsh techniques, the Post said, quoting officials who have seen the 6,300-page report.
It was constructed with detailed chronologies of dozens of CIA detainees.
The paper said the report describes a long-standing pattern of unsubstantiated claims the CIA sought permission to use - and later tried to defend - excruciating interrogation methods that yielded little to no significant intelligence, according to US officials who have reviewed the document.
“The CIA described (its program) repeatedly both to the Department of Justice and eventually to Congress as getting unique, otherwise unobtainable intelligence that helped disrupt terrorist plots and save thousands of lives,” said one US official briefed on the report. “Was that actually true? The answer is no.”
Current and former US officials describing the report spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue and because the document remains classified. The report includes what officials described as damning new disclosures about a sprawling network of secret detention facilities, or “black sites”, that was dismantled by President Barack Obama in 2009.
The report describes previously undisclosed cases of abuse including the alleged repeated dunking of a terror suspect in tanks of iced water in Afghanistan.
This method bore similarities to waterboarding but never showed up on any list of techniques approved by the Justice Department, the Post said.