CIA Waterboarding Report: Appears to Debunk Cheney’s Claims That Torture Worked
May 11, 2009
(ChattahBox)—A CIA Inspector General’s report, completed in May 2004, is about to be declassified and released by the Obama administration, and is said to cast serious doubt on the usefulness of waterboarding in preventing specific and imminent terrorist attacks.
The report was also critical of the extreme waterboarding techniques used by Bush administration interrogators that violated the Marine Corps’ Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape or SERE training, and appeared to also violate U.N. torture conventions.
In light of many torture proponents claiming waterboarding saved lives by extracting useful information from Al-Qaeda detainees, including former Vice President Dick Cheney, this report is the strongest evidence yet that torture didn’t work.
Cheney recently appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer, where he again insisted that the Bush administration’s interrogation policies were within the law and saved American lives. Cheney also appeared on CCN with John King last month, where he accused President Obama of making America less safe by banning torture and closing Guantanamo Bay.
The IG report concluded that it was difficult “to determine conclusively whether interrogations have provided information critical to interdicting specific imminent attacks.”
Additionally, the type of waterboarding techniques employed by interrogators for a time, used greater amounts of water poured over a prisoner’s nose and mouth than was recommended as being medically safe. The interrogators also tortured using waterboarding multiple times on prisoners.
The intensity and extreme methods used by interrogators in some cases “appeared to violate the U.N. Convention Against Torture” the report concluded.
When medical personal at Guantanamo witnessed the extreme waterboarding techniques on detainees, they concluded “there was no a priori reason to believe that applying the waterboard with the frequency and intensity with which it was used by the psychologist/interrogators was either efficacious or medically safe.”
After the IG report was issue in 2004, the waterboarding methods were changed to comply with the SERE guidelines.
Information from the IG report already reached the public, by way of the footnotes referencing the report in one of the Bush administration’s OLC memos written by attorney Steven Bradbury. The Bradbury memo was released last month.
The CIA, 2004 IG report is expected to be released by the Obama administration within days. It is sure to lead to a vigorous discussion on the efficacy of waterboarding and torture in general, used during the Bush administration.