World poring over released CIA documents

CIA report cover

CIA report cover

It will take some time before the world’s media and other interested parties manage to comb through the recently released report (.pdf) by the CIA inspector general, as well as a host of other newly declassified documents pertaining to the Agency’s post-9/11 interrogation program. The volume of data is so extensive that some news outlets are apparently requesting assistance from readers. The report on the CIA’s counterterrorism detention and interrogation activities between 2001 and 2003 is not new. It was originally produced in May of 2004 and was released in 2008 by the Bush Administration, in a heavily redacted version. Although the current release is less heavily redacted, several observers have questioned the wisdom of remaining redactions (the National Security Archive has published a useful side-by-side comparison of the Bush and Obama Administration versions of the report). One anonymous former senior intelligence official, who has allegedly read the unredacted version of the report, told ABC News that the remaining redactions contain details of three more detainees who died under CIA custody, as well as data on other detainees that apparently “went missing”. What is clear so far is that the CIA operated a slapdash interrogation program, staffed by essentially untrained interrogators, who were given jumbled operational instructions and rules of conduct. As a result, they often lost their professionalism and temper and resorted to the use of guns, drills, severe beatings of detainees or, in some cases, threatening to rape detainees’ wives or daughters, in order to extract information. What is also clear, is that the following weeks will see massive media exposure for the CIA, as journalists, academics, historians, lawyers, and other interested parties will be poring over the two sets of data, plus the collection of 83,000 government documents relating to torture, published on Tuesday by the National Security Archive. IntelNews will be monitoring reactions as they emerge, so watch this space.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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