Report: The CIA Used Torture Even Before Bush Authorized It

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According to a report from Al Jazeera America , the Senate investigation into Bush-era tactics after 9/11 found that the CIA used interrogation techniques not authorized by the U.S. Department of Justice against one or more "high-value" detainees. The report follows Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein's Senate floor speech calling out the CIA's "intimidation" techniques against members of her committee. 

Last week, Feinstein accused a CIA lawyer involved in the Bush-era interrogation programs of seeking criminal charges against Intelligence Committee staffers, and of repeatedly interfering in her committee's investigation into the agency's interrogation programs. The CIA and the Intelligence committee have been fighting publicly for weeks over the document access procedures used by Intelligence Committee members and staffers to conduct their review of the CIA. The CIA, for its part, has accused the Senate committee of improperly obtaining documents, a charge Feinstein denied at length in her speech.

If the Al Jazeera report is any indication, the relationship between the two groups now seems bad enough to inspire a preview of the report's contents. According to multiple Senate staffers and one U.S. official, the CIA: 

  • Implemented interrogation techniques approved by the Department of Justice without waiting for legal authorization to do so on at least one detainee
  • May have misled the White House and Congress over detainee Abu Zubaydah's intelligence value. Zubaydah is one of three prisoners to undergo waterboarding, according to a CIA disclosure in 2008. A large portion of the report reportedly focuses on Zubaydah. 

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Although a preliminary version of the CIA investigation, along with a long CIA rebuttal to that report, already exists, there's still some back and forth on whether either will ever be released. Barack Obama and a U.N. rights watchdog group would like to see a declassified version of the report go public, and Feinstein has indicated she plans to release it some time this year. But according to Al Jazeera, Feinstein would need Senate approval to release the report. And it's not clear whether she currently has enough votes. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.