The Senate report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program represents the most authoritative and comprehensive finding since the US launched its so-called “war on terror” more than 13 years ago that torture does not work.
That conclusion will be contested, most of all by former members of the Bush administration and CIA officials involved in the program. They have launched a public relations backlash to the finding, with its own dedicated website. But the sheer bulk and depth of the Senate intelligence committee report will make it much harder to win that argument.
The report finds that CIA detainees subjected to what were then called “enhanced interrogation techniques” either produced no intelligence, or they “fabricated information, resulting in faulty intelligence”. It says that the CIA’s own interrogators “assessed that the most effective method for acquiring intelligence from detainees, including from detainees the CIA considered to be the most ‘high-value’, was to confront the detainees with information already acquired by the intelligence community”.