Top Interrogators and Intelligence Officials Urge President Obama to Ensure that CIA Leadership Takes Responsibility for Torture Report Findings
Washington, D.C. – 15 current and former professional interrogators, interviewers, and intelligence officials today warned President Obama of the need to take action to ensure that the CIA does not mount a defense of the former interrogation program in response to the soon to be released findings of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on post-9/11 CIA torture tactics. The call came in a letter highlighting false claims made by former government employees to defend the results of the so-called “enhanced interrogation” program.
“The CIA’s program prompted a public discussion about whether these “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITs) produced reliable information,” wrote the interrogators, interviewers, and intelligence officials. “We are not surprised that those who have read the intelligence committee study say that it concludes that the use of EITs produced little valuable intelligence. Based on our experience, torture and other forms of abusive or coercive techniques are more likely to generate unreliable information and have repeatedly proven to be counterproductive as a means of securing the enduring cooperation of a detained individual.”
The letter comes as the committee and the executive branch are engaged in discussions about the extent to which the report should be redacted. The 600-page executive summary promises to provide details on the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” practices, setting the record straight on the use of torture and shedding light on the claims that torture played a significant role in gaining actionable intelligence post 9/11. In April of this year, following a concerted campaign led by Human Rights First, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted 11-3 to declassify the report.
Since the Senate Intelligence Committee’s declassification vote, former and current CIA employees – including former CIA director George Tenet and current CIA Director John Brennan – have worked to discredit the report and are reportedly coordinating a response to the document’s release. Last week, the CIA acknowledged that it inappropriately accessed a computer network used by the intelligence committee during its review of the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program, further evidence that the agency has consistently misled Congress, the White House, and the Department of Justice about its interrogation program.
“It would be a disservice to the public if the CIA engaged in a concerted campaign to discredit the report’s authors and defend the EIT program,” noted the group. “We urge you to instruct the current leadership of the CIA to responsibly address the report’s findings and unequivocally stand behind your condemnation of torture.”