Report: CIA Tortured Many, Lied Often, Gained Little Intel

Captives Told Torturers What They Thought They Wanted to Hear

The Obama Administration finally released the redacted 540-page summary of a still secret 6,000+ page report on CIA torture in the wake of 9/11. The story it tells is not a pretty one.

Brutal methods that led to the deaths of captives were the order of the day, and the CIA lied to both the American public and then-President George W. Bush about what they did and what it got them.

What did it get them? Not much as it turns out. The old adages about torture not being a reliable way to gather information and captives telling torturers what they think they want to hear to get them to stop proved true once again, getting them very little usable intelligence.

To make matters worse, the CIA was so bound and determined that torture was the end-all, be-all way to get intelligence that they actually ignored proven information that they got before the torture started simply because they considered pre-torture intelligence “throwaway” information.

And while the CIA and the Obama Administration were trying to hold back the releases, claiming they were a threat to national security, no violence was reported in the wake of the release.

There was a lot of political intrigue surrounding the release too, though similarly there seems to be no real chance of any reform coming as a result of the release, and the CIA is still outraged that the torture has become a matter of public record.

CIA Torture Summary (PDF)

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.