CIA Spies On Senate Intelligence Committee In Effort to Block Senate Report On Disastrous CIA Torture Program

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A devastating and secret report by the Senate Intelligence Committee documents in detail how the C.I.A.’s brutalization of terror suspects during the Bush years was unnecessary, ineffective, and deceptively sold to Congress, the White House, Justice Department, and the public.

The CIA has long fought to keep the report secret.

That's not surprising, given that torture is wholly illegal (and see this).

And that the CIA's torture program ended up deceiving the 9/11 Commission. Specifically, the 9/11 Commission Report was largely based on third-hand accounts of what tortured detainees said, with two of the three parties in the communication being government employees.  The 9/11 Commissioners were not allowed to speak with the detainees, or even their interrogators. Instead, they got their information third-hand.  The Commission itself didn’t really trust the interrogation testimony ... yet published it as if it were Gospel.

New York Times investigative reporter Philip Shenon Newsweek noted in a 2009 essay in Newsweek that the 9/11 Commission Report was unreliable because most of the information was based on the statements of tortured detainees.

As NBC News reported:

  • Much of the 9/11 Commission Report was based upon the testimony of people who were tortured
  • At least four of the people whose interrogation figured in the 9/11 Commission Report have claimed that they told interrogators information as a way to stop being “tortured.”
  • One of the Commission’s main sources of information was tortured until he agreed to sign a confession that he was NOT EVEN ALLOWED TO READ
  • The 9/11 Commission itself doubted the accuracy of the torture confessions, and yet kept their doubts to themselves

Indeed, the type of torture used by the U.S. on the Guantanamo suspects was of a "special" type. Senator Levin revealed that the the U.S. used Communist torture techniques specifically aimed at creating false confessions. And see these important reports from McClatchy, New York Times, CNN and Huffington Post.

CIA Goes to Great Lengths to Cover Up Torture

The CIA has already gone to great lengths to cover up the torture ... and the unreliability of the testimony published by the 9/11 Commission.

The CIA has blocked release of the Senate's torture report for years. But it has taken many other actions to try to keep the lid on the torture program.

For example, the CIA videotaped the interrogation of 9/11 suspects, but  falsely told the 9/11 Commission that there were no videotapes or other records of the interrogations, and then illegally destroyed all of the tapes and transcripts of the interrogations.

9/11 Commission co-chairs Thomas Keane and Lee Hamilton wrote:

Those who knew about those videotapes — and did not tell us about them — obstructed our investigation.

 

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Government officials decided not to inform a lawfully constituted body, created by Congress and the president, to investigate one the greatest tragedies to confront this country. We call that obstruction.

(And the chairs of both the 9/11 Commission and the Official Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 said that Soviet-style government “minders” obstructed the investigation into 9/11 by intimidating witnesses.  We believe that some of the minders were from the CIA.)

Spying On Its Overseers In Washington

In the last 24 hours, the New York Times and McClatchy have published stories revealing that the CIA is spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee, as part of its efforts to block release of its torture report.

McClatchy reports:

The CIA Inspector General’s Office has asked the Justice Department to investigate allegations of malfeasance at the spy agency in connection with a yet-to-be released Senate Intelligence Committee report into the CIA’s secret detention and interrogation program, McClatchy has learned.

 

The criminal referral may be related to what several knowledgeable people said was CIA monitoring of computers used by Senate aides to prepare the study. The monitoring may have violated an agreement between the committee and the agency.

 

The development marks an unprecedented breakdown in relations between the CIA and its congressional overseers amid an extraordinary closed-door battle over the 6,300-page report on the agency’s use of waterboarding and harsh interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists held in secret overseas prisons. The report is said to be a searing indictment of the program. The CIA has disputed some of the reports findings.

Tech Dirt argues:

In many ways, the idea that the CIA is directly spying on the Senate Committee charged with its own oversight is a bigger potential scandal than many of the Snowden NSA revelations so far.

We partially agree … although the NSA has also been spying on (and perhaps even blackmailing)  its “overseers” in Washington.