The Senate Torture Report has now been released. Much of what it says echoes what many of us have thought all along: that torture is wrong and inconsistent with the ideals of the United States as well as treaties and conventions to which it is signatory; that torture is ineffective in obtaining intelligence, and that the agencies using torture were lying to the rest of the government.

The report has graphic and horrifying details. It’s never been necessary to know those details in order to know that torture is wrong, but the coverups make it necessary to lay them out for all to see. This is what our government did, and we must see that it never does again.

We probably won’t write much more on this. Our expertise, and our ability to provide new information, is not in these areas. We note that contractors played a part in developing and applying torture methods; this is inevitable in the continuing expansion of contracting-out government functions that also is a problem in parts of the government dealing with nuclear weapons.

Others are analyzing and commenting on the report more capably than we can. Releasing this executive summary, and eventually the entire 6000-page report is a part of what we need to do to come to terms with the unconscionable things that were done in our names.


The Torture Report Executive Summary (pdf; takes some time to load)

The Minority (Republican) Response

Diane Feinstein’s statement

CIA Saved Lives. This is a website “created by a group of former CIA officials with hundreds of years of combined service. They all have first-hand knowledge that the CIA’s interrogation program was authorized, legal and effective. They also have in common that during its 5+ year investigation, the SSCI did not bother to contact them and seek their views.” The documents on the website are consistent with that description. However, I am always wary of websites that do not name the people responsible for them. Update (December 10, 2014): The New York Times:

The website was organized by Bill Harlow, the C.I.A.’s director of public affairs from 1997 to 2004, who still acts as a spokesman for George J. Tenet, the C.I.A. director when the interrogation program began.

CIA Fact Sheet Regarding the SSCI Study on the Former Detention and Interrogation Program

Statement from CIA Director Brennan on the SSCI Study on the Former Detention and Interrogation Program

Media Coverage

The New York Times and Washington Post both have multiple articles on the report, and undoubtedly will continue to produce more.

Decoding the secret black sites, which are referred to by colors in the report, but are fairly transparent.

The “dirty bomb plot” of which Jose Padilla was accused. 

A short summary of the whole thing by David Cole.

David Ignatius makes the very valuable point that countries must reconsider great wrongs that they have done.

One of the arguments against releasing the report was that it would betray the countries that had cooperated with the United States by hosting “black” sites. That doesn’t seem to be happening.


I am seeing some themes that may fit with our concerns here at Nuclear Diner more closely than I thought when I wrote the paragraphs above. So we may do some writing about them after all, but it will be after some thought.

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