Washington, D.C.—To mark the one-year anniversary of the release of the executive summary of the Senate intelligence committee’s report on the CIA torture program, Human Rights First today launched an online annotated version of the findings designed to guide the public through its most important revelations.
“Last year the American people for the first time learned what was done in our name; we were finally able to see that torture, in addition to being a morally abhorrent practice, was also completely ineffective at gaining actionable intelligence,” said Human Rights First’s Raha Wala. “As we make progress toward reestablishing the durable bipartisan consensus against torture, Human Rights First’s new project will ensure that those lessons are not forgotten.”
Last month President Obama signed into law an updated defense authorization bill that includes a landmark provision reinforcing the United States’ ban on the use of torture. The legislation was supported by dozens of intelligence and interrogation professionals and retired generals and admirals.
The amendment, designed to prevent any future administration from authorizing torture and other cruelty that violates domestic or international law, will:
- Restrict the intelligence community—and the CIA in particular—to interrogation methods articulated in the Army Field Manual; and
- Require that the International Committee of the Red Cross be provided notification of and access to detainees held in U.S. custody.
In December 2014, the Senate intelligence committee publicly released its executive summary on the CIA’s post-9/11 detention and interrogation program. The report is the result of an investigation launched with bipartisan support, and the report itself was both adopted and declassified in separate bipartisan votes in the committee. The findings document a program that was far more brutal and widespread than Americans were led to believe. The findings also reveal that the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” did not produce critical intelligence gains that had previously been claimed and that the CIA systematically misled the administration and Congress about the efficacy of the program.
The report’s findings enjoy widespread support from political, national security, and intelligence leaders, including among Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham. The report was also initiated, adopted, and submitted for declassification on three independent, bipartisan votes. A nonpartisan group of retired generals and admirals who stood with President Obama in the Oval Office as he signed an executive order banning torture tirelessly advocated for the report’s release.