Torture architects were paid $81 million by the CIA. Harsh interrogation techniques, portrayed in “Zero Dark Thirty” as helping the U.S. hunt down Osama bin Laden, didn’t actually lead to his capture. And then-Secretary of State Colin Powell was not briefed on torture because the White House feared he would “blow his stack.”
These are some more jaw-dropping revelations, along with what TPM reported earlier, contained in the 525-page report released Tuesday by Senate Democrats about the CIA’s torture program during the Bush administration.
CIA contracted with torture instructors for $180 million and paid them $81 million
The agency contracted with two psychologists “to develop, operate, and assess its interrogation operations” for a $180 million fee in 2006; they were paid $81 million when the contract was terminated in 2009. Neither “had any experience as an interrogator, nor did either have specialized knowledge of al-Qa’ida, a background in counterterrorism, or any relevant cultural or linguistic expertise,” the report states.
Torture didn’t help catch Osama bin Laden
Contrary to the CIA’s claims, the Senate report found that the use of torture didn’t play a role in the eventual killing of Osama bin Laden. The Al-Qaeda chief’s courier, Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti, who led the U.S. to him, provided substantial intelligence before he was subject to enhanced interrogation, the report found, which they used to track him.
The findings contradict what senior CIA officials said about the role of torture in the capture of bin Laden, a portrayal that made it into the film “Zero Dark Thirty.”
One detainee, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, was threatened with a handgun and a power drill
“Multiple individuals involved in the interrogation of CIA detainee ‘Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri failed to report inappropriate activity. With regard to the unauthorized use of a handgun and power drill to threaten al-Nashiri, one CIA interrogator stated he did not report the incidents because he believed they fell below the reporting threshold for the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques, while noting he did not receive guidance on reporting requirements.”
Al-Nashiri, a Saudi Arabian citizen, is believed to be behind the attack on the USS Cole.
26 people were wrongly detained
Of the 119 detainees that the Senate report identified, 26 of them “did not meet the … standard for detention,” the report said. “They include Abu Hudhaifa, who was subjected to ice water baths and 66 hours of standing sleep deprivation before being released because the CIA discovered he was likely not the person he was believed to be.”
The CIA later acknowledged knowing “very little” about another detainee, Muhammad Khan.
Colin Powell was not briefed on torture because he’d ‘blow his stack’
From the Senate report: