Toward an Index of the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture

From Melville House's December '14 edition of the report

In September 2004, the editors of n+1 noticed that the recently published 9/11 Commission Report, though “admirably lucid” and bearing “115 pages of endnotes,” did not include an index. They and a crack team of indexers set out to remedy this oversight. Just over a decade later, The Senate Select Committee Report on Torture committed the very same oversight, which we correct below.

The page numbers included here track those in the edition published by Melville House, as opposed to the original version released by the government.

PART ONE: “Worthy of the lamentable knuckleheads”

African American Muslims 

CIA’s obsession with
— Khalid Shaykh Muhammad (KSM) is waterboarded for not confirming suspicions that he had been trying to recruit members of the African American Muslim community, 207
— after waterboarding, KSM fabricates information about trying to recruit African American Muslims in Montana, 207
— KSM is waterboarded again for not providing more information, after which he fabricates more information, 207

al-Ghuraba Group

—CIA inaccurately reports that the group was to execute “Second Wave Plot,” 196, 197, 198, 200
—CIA claims multiple members of the group had an interest in aviation, 457
—only one member of the group has interest in aviation; says he is “big maniac for airplanes,” though interest is unrelated to terrorism,” 457

al-Kuwaiti, Abu Ahmad

—Usama bin Laden facilitator whose identification leads to location of bin Laden compound, 277
—extensive reporting on al-Kuwaiti is collected prior to and independent of information from CIA detainees, 277-278
—most accurate information on al-Kuwaiti is provided by a detainee who had not yet been tortured, 277, 280.
—CIA detainees who are tortured withhold and provide fabricated information about al-Kuwaiti, 277, 281-2

al-Shibh, Ramzi bin

—falsely alleged by President Bush to have helped the CIA find Khalid Shaykh Muhammad

Ashcroft, John (Attorney General)

—writes one-paragraph letter informing John McLaughlin that nine specific torture techniques do not violate the US Constitution or any statute or US treaty obligations, 125

Barot, Dhiren

and literature
—writes 1999 book The Army of Madina in Kashmir, a book said to advocate for “worldwide jihad,” 206
—uses pen name “Esa al-Hindi,” 205
—CIA looks up his book on the internet in 2003, 458

and US/UK intelligence
—uses aliases Issa al-Hindi, Issa, Abu Issa, Abu Issa al-Pakistani, Issa al-Britani, 202, 458
—detainees in CIA custody give conflicting information on “Issa,” 206-210
—UK leads investigation of “Issas,” frustrating CIA, 458
—CIA reports “it was often unclear which Issa the detainees [were] referring to at different stages,” 458

bin Laden, Usama (UBL)

—CIA identifies former bodyguard of, 59
—is believed to have been assisted by Arsala Khan, an Afghan national who is subjected to fifty-six hours of standing sleep deprivation, after which he hallucinates that dogs have killed his family, after which he is discovered to have probably not assisted bin Laden, 103
—is said to be living in the Peshawar area, 120
(see also, “Lessons for the Hunt for Bin Laden”)


—Jose Padilla proposes making one by putting uranium in buckets and spinning said buckets clockwise over his head to separate uranium, 190
—Dhiren Barot plans to make one using ten thousand smoke detectors containing a radioactive element, 202, 212

—planned use of in “Second Wave Plot” to attack tallest building in California, 198

Bush, George W.

—expresses “discomfort” on April 8, 2006, in response to the “image of a detainee, chained to the ceiling, clothed in a diaper, and forced to go to the bathroom on himself,” 51
—issues statement that the “United States is committed to the world-wide elimination of torture,” on June 26, 2003, 158
—signs covert Memorandum of Notification “granting the CIA unprecedented counterterrorism authorities,” on September 17, 2001, 12

Cheney, Dick

—states that the CIA is carrying out Administration policy in implementing its interrogation program, 110
—urges a major US newspaper not to identify the country in which Abu Zubaydah is being held, 38

Faris, Iyman

—works as a truck driver in Ohio, 214
—is tasked by Khalid Shaykh Muhammad with procuring tools and devices for collapsing suspension bridges and derailing trains, 214
—when approached by law enforcement, volunteers information, incriminates self, 214
—is inaccurately represented by the CIA as having been identified and captured as a result of torture, 214

Ghul, Hassan

—gets “more than he bargained for” in CIA raid in which “he denies being Hassan Ghul,” according to CIA cable, 243
—is in fact not apprehended in CIA raid, 243
—spends two days at Detention Site Cobalt, 273
—provides information for at least twenty-one intelligence reports while not being tortured, 271
—is transferred to Detention Site Black and tortured, 273-274

Goss, Porter

—as CIA director in 2005, requests that the inspector general not initiate further reviews of torture program, 11
—assures Senate Committee that they “would be proud” of CIA torture program “if you saw how it’s operated,” 324
—believes it “makes sense to complete existing reviews . . . before opening new ones,” 114
—claims torture program “has allowed the U.S. to save hundreds, if not thousands, of lives,” 225
—did not brief Bush or Cheney on specific CIA enhanced interrogation techniques before April 2006, 9
—explains that in trying to put detainees in a “psychologically disadvantaged” position, “just the simplest thing will work, a family photograph or something,” 324
—says torture program is “not a brutality” but “more of an art or a science that is refined,” 325

Gul, Janat

—is described by CIA personnel as “not the man we thought he was,” “not the link to senior AQ leaders that [CIA headquarters] said he was/is,” and “a very simple man,” 259
—is detained by the CIA on the basis of what is later revealed to be fabricated information, 123-124

Hayden, Michael

—asks President Bush to issue executive order interpreting Geneva Conventions in a way that allows the CIA to use torture, 147
—becomes CIA Director on May 30, 2006, 540
—claims that all ninety-six CIA detainees provided actionable intelligence, 179
—lists, but does not describe, torture techniques at first-ever briefing to the Senate Intelligence Committee about the existence of torture program, 325
—provides false testimony regarding destroyed interrogation videotapes on December 11, 2007, 329
—says, during the Senate Intelligence Committee briefing, that once detainees begin cooperating, interrogations are “not significantly different than what you and I are doing right now,” 325
—says to the European Union, “This is not CIA’s program. This is not the President’s program. This is America’s program,” 8
—says to the transition team of Barack Obama, “despite what you have heard or read in a variety of public fora, these [enhanced interrogation] techniques and this program did work,” 152
—tells CIA officer to lie about number of detainees in CIA custody, 31
—testifies to the Senate Intelligence Committee in September 2006 that more than eight thousand intelligence reports were gathered from ninety-six detainees, 179

internet bookmarks

—concerning suspicious chemicals, 504

Mansfield, Mark (CIA director of public affairs)

—writes email with the subject line “We Can’t Let This Go Unanswered” regarding a proposed New York Times story on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, 294

Memorandum of Notification

—interpreted broadly by the CIA, 30
—signed by President Bush on September 17, 2001, 28
—leads the CIA to determine that US military bases are the best detention locations, 13
—prompts CIA attorneys to research possible legal defenses for using torture, 32
—provides the CIA with new detention authorities described by “[REDACTED]” as “terrifying,” 318
—sets out standards for justified detention that were not met in the cases of at least 26 of 119 known detainees, 17

Mukasey, Michael

—nominated to be attorney general by President Bush on September 17, 2007, 449
—says, of waterboarding, “These techniques seem over the line or, on a personal basis, repugnant to me . . . [but] hypotheticals are different from real life, and in any legal opinion the actual facts and circumstances are critical,” 449

Muhammad, Khalid Shaykh (KSM)

—referred to by CIA officers as “Mukie,” 462

“ASSET X”’s role in the apprehension of
—ASSET X meets with CIA officials in fall 2001, is “very willing to clandestinely assist the USG as directed,” and is able to locate Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, 246
—ASSET X is denied financial compensation, declines to work with the CIA, and is lost to the CIA for several months, 246
—ASSET X is handled by a new case officer who sends a number of cables to CIA headquarters, where nobody reads them, 247
—significance of ASSET X becomes clear to new case officer only when, while telling his station chief that he plans to terminate his relationship with ASSET X, he is overheard by a visiting officer who, incredibly, used to work with ASSET X, 247
—ASSET X visits KSM on his own initiative, 247
—ASSET X texts CIA handler, “I M W KSM,” 248

actions of
—“consistently wavers” on issues of bin Laden’s location, protectors, and hosts, 94
—yells and twists, 88
—vomits during and after the procedure, 88

affect of
—“somewhat frantic” after assuming position on the waterboard, 90
—“tired and sore,” 91
—“composed, stoic, and resigned” at his fifteenth and final documented waterboarding session, 92

subjected to
—some sleep deprivation, 83
—sleep deprivation, 83
—torture “a few minutes” after questioning begins, 84
—facial slaps, 84
—the insult slap, 86, 87, 91
—the attention grab, 86, 91
—the attention grasp, 8
—stress positions, 84
—nudity, 84, 86
—additional waterboarding, 91, 92
—additional rectal hydration, 84
—at least 183 instances of waterboarding, 87
—a day of intensive waterboard sessions, 88
—more than sixty-five applications of water during four waterboarding sessions between March 12, 2003 and March 13, 2003, 88
—a 180-hour period of sleep deprivation, most of it in the standing position, 90
—walling, 91
—intense questioning, 91

information provided by
—accurate description of a Pakistani/British operative, dismissed as having been provided during the initial “throwaway stage” of information collection, 84
—fabricated information provided during a session deemed the “best session held to date,” 86
—nearly 15 percent of total detainee reports, a higher proportion of “intelligence” than any other CIA detainee, 95

on-site medical officer (Detention Site Blue)

—writes, of the possibility of waterboarding Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, “the team here apparently looks to use the water board in two different contexts. One is as a tool of regression and control in which it is used up front and aggressively. The second is to vet information on an as-needed basis. Given the various pressures from home vs what is happening on the ground, I think the team’s expectation is that [KSM] will [be] getting treatment somewhere in between. I don’t think they believe that it will be possible to entirely avoid the water board given the high and immediate threat to US and allied interests. It is an interesting dynamic because they are well aware of the toll it will take on the team vs. the detainee,” 85
—writes that “[in] the new technique we are basically doing a series of near drownings,” 87
—raises concerns that a fourth waterboarding in fourteen hours would exceed limits included in guidelines, 88

one hundred dollar bills

—boxes of, 169

Padilla, Jose

—provides “sketchy” story about losing passport and overstaying his visa in Karachi, 186-187
—conceives “Dirty Bomb Plot” after reading a satirical article titled “How to Make an H-Bomb, 185
—is a good-looking man and a great brother, 187
—says he proposed “Dirty Bomb Plot” as way to leave Pakistan and go home to the US, 189
—is said by Khalid Shaykh Muhammad to have “a screw loose,” 189
—believes one can make a dirty bomb by putting uranium in a bucket, 190
—is discussed in email with subject line “Don’t Put All Your Uranium in One Bucket,” 190
—is tried in federal court, found guilty, and sentenced to 17 years in prison, 190

Paracha, Saifullah

—concocts plan to smuggle explosives into the United States for an attack in New York City, 262
—is ratted out by his son Uzhair and by a business associate in interviews conducted by the FBI, independent of the CIA’s interrogations, 264
—has smuggling plan described by senior CIA official as “worthy of the lamentable knuckleheads,” 265

Pavitt, James

—tells the inspector general that he “did not recall specifically ordering that a detainee be waterboarded right away,” but he does not “discount that possibility,” 86
—does recall saying, “I want to know what he knows, and I want to know it fast,” 86
—precedes every intelligence success claim in a memorandum with some version of the phrase, “as a result of the lawful use of enhanced interrogation techniques,” 165


Brooklyn Bridge
—Khalid Shaykh Muhammad plans to cause bridge to fall down by cutting its suspension cables with “gas cutters,” 218
—senior CIA official writes, in an email, “again, odd. ksm wants to get ‘machine tools’ to loosen the bolts on bridges so they collapse? did he think no one would see or hear these yahoos trying to unscrew the bridge?” 468

Gas limos project
—“while ambitious and creative, is far-fetched,” according to FBI, 203

—Khalid Shaykh Muhammad provides information on planning in 2003, recants almost all of it in 2004, 90
—Deputy Chief of detention center writes, of KSM’s information, “Ok, that’s it . . . yet again he lies and ONLY ADMITS details when he knows we know them from someone else,” 94

—location of a US Consulate that was the planned target of an attack, 110
—location where Jose Padilla provides his “sketchy” story, 187

Second Wave
—Khalid Shaykh Muhammad plans airplane attack on tallest building in California, 198
—shoe bombs to be used to gain access to cockpit, 198
—plan is shelved after Richard Reid’s shoe bomb is discovered, 198, 455

Tall Buildings
—plan to use natural gas to destroy high-rise residences, 190
—considered by CIA to be “simplistic, if not amateurish,” 190

United Kingdom Urban Targets
—Dhiren Barot meets with al Qaeda leaders in 2004 to discuss two-part attacks in UK, 202
—laptop containing plot plans is seized, 211, 212
—plan is considered by intelligence community to have been “amateurish” and “defective,” 202

Powell, Colin

—White House worries that he “would blow his stack if he were to be briefed on what’s been going on,” 9
—as of 2002, has not been briefed on torture techniques, 50
—is first briefed on the CIA’s detention program, for 25 minutes, on September 16, 2003, 110
—makes speech to the United Nations arguing that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction on February 5, 2003, 407

[REDACTED], chief of interrogations

—sends email to CIA headquarters with subject “Let’s roll with the new guy,” asking permission to “press [KSM] for threat info right away,” 84
—characterizes rectal hydration as illustrating the interrogator’s “total control over the detainee,” 84

Rice, Condoleezza

—agrees that CIA is carrying out Administration policy in administering the interrogation program, 110
—has request for a review of the torture program’s effectiveness rejected on the grounds that “an effectiveness review is not possible,” 116
—is informed that “there would be no briefing of the President on this matter,” 50
—requests delay in approval of interrogation techniques, 46
—requests information on possible mental harm resulting from staged burials, 46
—says she will not object to torture techniques if the attorney general determines them to be legal, 49
—is not aware, as of 2005, of specific countries in which detainees are being held, 137

Rodriguez, Jose (Chief of the CIA Counterterrorism Center)

—describes a memorandum from which crucial information had been deleted as “short and sweet,” 319
—describes emails questioning legality of torture techniques as “not helpful,” 53

Rumsfeld, Donald

—during a debate about transferring Abu Zubaydah to another country, suggests putting him on a ship instead, 36
—is first briefed on the interrogation program on September 16, 2003
—makes formal decision to not accept any CIA detainees at the US military base at Guantanamo Bay, 140

Tenet, George (CIA Director)

—argues that the application of the Geneva Conventions to the CIA’s torture program will “significantly hamper the ability of CIA to obtain critical threat information necessary to save American lives,” 34
—delegates detention management and oversight responsibilities on October 8, 2001, 30
—issues guidelines for detention and interrogation in January 2003, 14
—notes that he will personally “determine whether and to what extent the President requires a briefing on the Program,” 50
—states that information acquired through torture “has saved many lives” and that such information could not have been acquired by other means, 163


—phonetic spelling included in the text of a 2006 speech delivered by George W. Bush, 168

Zubaydah, Abu

—provides information on Adnan el-Shukrijumah and other al Qaeda associates before being tortured, 242
—is waterboarded and held in isolation for forty-seven days, 267
—“never really gave us ‘this is the plot’ type of information,” according to an email sent by the chief of the Abu Zubaydah Task Force, 189

PART TWO: “Learned helplessness”


—provided to detainees “who report headache and other discomforts during their interrogations,” according to CIA, 306 (see also, Tylenol)

Army Field Manual

—lists limitations on interrogation techniques, which, however, do not constitute “dispositive evidence” that torture falls outside “traditional executive behavior and contemporary practice,” according to the Office of Legal Counsel, 315

cash payouts

—provided to foreign government officials in exchange for willingness to host detention sites, 22


—attempts to determine how many people have been detained by the CIA, 31
—does not conduct research into effective interrogation techniques, 34
—does not review its past experience with coercive interrogations, 13
—initiates a program of indefinite secret detention and the use of torture, xi
—is “unsettled” by December 2003 discovery that it is holding detainees about whom it knows very little, 31
—never develops a list of people it has interrogated or tortured, 17
—outsources nearly all aspects of its torture program by 2005, 16 (see “contract psychologists: Dunbar and Swigert)
—requests approval from the Department of Justice to use torture, 13
—seeks reauthorization for the torture program in response to a White House statement that prisoners in US custody are treated “humanely,” 21

Detention and Interrogation Program
—has “effectively ended by 2006,” 20
—is “inherently unsustainable,” 20

Office of General Counsel
—notes that other countries may be OK with torture if reminded that torture “resulted in saving thousands of lives,” 34

contract psychologists: Dunbar and Swigert

Dunbar, Hammond (real name Bruce Jessen)
—says, of Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, that he is “going to go to school on this guy,” 90

Swigert, Grayson (real name James Mitchell)
—drafts 2003 memo on “learned helplessness,” the theory that “detainees might become passive and depressed in response to adverse or uncontrollable events,” 361

—were both previously employed as psychologists with the US Air Force Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape school, which trains military personnel to resist torture, 35
—author a paper together, 45
—are asked by CIA headquarters about the psychological effects of waterboarding and mock burial, 47
—view the torture of Abu Zubaydah as a “success,” writing, “Our goal was to reach the stage where we have broken any will or ability of subject to resist or deny providing us information,” 55
—argue with the CIA “Renditions Group” about whether the waterboard is “life-threatening,” 70
—suggest reminding Khalid Shaykh Muhammed that “there are differing consequences for cooperating or not cooperating,” 71
—threaten KSM’s children, which the inspector general is assured is OK so long as threats are “conditional,” 86
—form “Company Y,” which provides interrogators, psychologists, debriefers, and security personnel at detention sites, 150
—launch a project called “Terrorist Think Tank,” or “T3,” to “learn about the terrorist mind set,” 150
—receive government contracts for totaling more than $180 million for Company Y, 150
—sign an indemnification contract obliging the CIA to pay Company Y’s legal bills until the end of 2021, 151


—some employees involved in interrogations are “profoundly affected . . . some to the point of tears and choking up,” 346

detention sites

—established in Country [REDACTED], 96

—the primary site of enhanced interrogation techniques, 95

—holds twelve detainees between “[REDACTED] 2006 and 2008,” 67

—keeps almost no detailed records of detentions and interrogations conducted there in 2002
—described as a “dungeon” by chief of interrogations, 6
—described by a senior CIA officer as itself an “enhanced interrogation technique” 6
—keeps detainees in darkness, shackled in isolated cells, subject to loud noise or music, 6
—maintains conditions the Federal Bureau of prisons “wow’ed” by, 82
—houses more than half of 119 CIA detainees identified by the Committee, 14
—run by a junior officer with “no relevant experience”, 14

—keeps almost no records of detentions and interrogations conducted there in 2002,

—another site of enhanced interrogations, 95
—site where at least one CIA detainee is submerged in a bathtub filled with ice water, 95

—established in Country [REDACTED], 96

enhanced interrogation techniques, examples of

(see “torture techniques, examples of”)

enhanced interrogation techniques, symptoms of

(see “torture techniques, symptoms of”)


—nutritional drink provided, along with water, as part of an all-“liquid diet” to “at least” thirty detainees, 356

Hamdan v. Rumsfeld

—concludes that the military commission convened to try a Guantanamo Bay detainee is in violation of the Geneva Conventions, 143
—is decided by the Supreme Court on June 29, 2006, 142
—prompts the suspension of the CIA’s torture program until July 2007, 143

informal operational assessment

—an effort led by two CIA officers that determines it would not be possible to study the effectiveness of the torture program without violating the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects regarding human experimentation, 18
—concludes that the torture program was a success, 18

“knock it off”

—phrase used by nonparticipant observers to deescalate or terminate interrogations, according to CIA Director Michael Hayden, 345


—on allowed physical contact between interrogators and detainees, perceived as a detriment to obtaining information from Hassan Ghul, 275

necessity defense

—could be used, according to CIA attorneys, “to avoid prosecution of U.S. officials who tortured to obtain information that saved many lives,” 7
—“may justify interrogation methods that might violate” laws against torture, according to the Office of Legal Counsel

noncoercive interrogation techniques

—not required to be used before torture techniques, 84

on-site medical officer

—describes waterboarding as “inevitable,” 85
—thinks CIA interrogators feel that waterboarding is “the big stick,” 86
—is prohibited by the chief of base, who is worried about the legal implications, from reporting on interrogations directly to the CIA’s Office of Medical Services (OMS) outside of official CIA cable traffic, 87
—writes to the OMS that “things are slowly evolving from OMS being viewed as the institutional conscience and the limiting factor to the ones who are dedicated to maximizing the benefit in a safe manner and keeping everyone’s butt out of trouble,” 88
—notes that his communication with OMS are “no longer viewed with suspicion, 88
—works at Detention Site BLUE, 85


—is “subjective, not objective,” according to the CIA, 306


—is used to present “pros” and “cons” of various detention options, 359

rapport-building interrogation techniques

—used by foreign government to obtain details of the Karachi plot, 193
—used by foreign government agents, who spend “an enormous amounts of time with Masran [bin Arshad] praying with him, eating with him, earning his trust, listening to him, and eliciting from him,” to obtain details of the “Second Wave Plot” 198, 455

Standards of Conduct for Interrogation (memorandum)

(see “necessity defense”)


—detainee told he would only leave CIA custody “in a coffin-shaped box,” 6
—detainee told he can never appear in court because “we can never let the world know what I have done to you,” 6
—detainee told his children would be harmed, 6
—detainee told his mother would be sexually abused, 6
—detainee told his mother’s throat would be cut, 6

torture techniques

—administered when Ramzi bin al-Shibh had a “blank stare” on his face, and for other reasons, 82
—used twenty-four hours a day for seventeen days on Abu Zubaydah, 191

examples of
—abdominal slap, 64, 69, 80, 82, 84, 86, 87, 100, 109, 142, 145-148, 257, 300-303, 314
—attention grab, 52, 86, 91, 142, 145-147
—“dietary manipulation,” 16, 63, 82, 100, 142, 145, 147, 256, 300-301, 303, 306, 314, 326, 328, 330, 356
—facial slap or grab, 44, 48, 52, 80, 82, 125, 142, 145-148, 257, 297, 302, 306, 314
—finger press, 64
—insult slap, 48, 86-87, 90, 297, 306, 358,
—kneeling stress position, 86
—loud music, 48, 58-60, 66, 69, 312
—nudity, 5, 16, 59, 63, 82, 84, 86, 100, 142, 145-146, 256, 300-301, 303, 306, 326, 330
—rectal feeding
 - used on at least five detainees, 5
 - administered “without unnecessary conversation,” 107
 - “illustrative of the interrogator’s total control over the detainee,” 85
 - “effective in getting [Khalid Shaykh Muhammad] to talk,” 84-85
 - said to help “clear a person’s head,” 84
 - administered using pureed hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts, and raisins, 107
—rectal hydration (see “rectal feeding”)
—sleep deprivation, sometimes administered standing, 66, 69, 80, 86, 108
—stress position, 52, 70, 74, 80
—“walling” (slamming detainees against wall), 4
—water dousing, 91

justifications for
—proof of when a detainee has no useful information, 55, 71

symptoms of
—hallucinations of dogs mauling and killing family, 103
—insomnia, 106
—“mind virus,” created by interrogators to cause detainee to believe that his situation would continue to get worse until he cooperated, 60
—paranoia, 82
—psychiatric problems, caused by lack of human contact, 6
—self-harm, including attempt to chew into arm at inner elbow, 107

total darkness

—included in CIA interrogation plan for Ridha al-Najjar, along with “lowering the quality of his food; keeping him at an uncomfortable temperature (cold); playing music 24 hours a day; and keeping him shackled and hooded,” 61
—state in which bin al-Shibh was kept to “heighten his sense of fear,” 82
—state in which detainees were kept at Detention Site Cobalt, 58


—provided to detainees who experienced “headache and other discomforts during their interrogations,” according to CIA,” 306 (see also, Aleve)


—based on a misreading of intelligence, 91
—believed to be impossible to avoid given the “high and immediate threat to US and allied interests,” 85
—continued for another ten days on Khalid Shaykh Mohammed despite reservations, 89
—does not produce “anything actionable in [Abu Zubaydah] any earlier than another technique might have,” 90
—“may poison the well,” 89
—thought of as both “tool of aggression and control” and method to “vet information on an as-needed basis,” 85

PART THREE: “Deep discomfort”

Abu Ghraib

—not what the CIA torture program is like, according to 2006 statement by CIA Director Porter Goss, 324

American public

—alerted to inaccuracies in CIA representations about the interrogation program and its effectiveness, 20
—provided with inaccurate information on the effectiveness of torturing Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, 176
—provided with justifications for the torture of Abu Zubaydah, 172
—shocked by elevations of the color-coded threat level of the Homeland Security Advisory System, x


—thinks about briefing the Senate Select Intelligence Committee on interrogation techniques, but doesn’t, 319
—informs the Committee that it will not respond to questions from the Committee, 331

Office of Public Affairs
—provides unattributed background information on torture program to journalists while the program’s existence is still classified, 290
—provides classified information to the New York Times, 291


—passes the Detainee Treatment Act on December 23, 2005, 137

Dateline NBC

—airs program on June 24, 2005 inaccurately claiming the capture of Ramzi bin al-Shibh had led to the capture of Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, 167
—claims that intelligence produced by CIA interrogations “approaches or surpasses any other intelligence on the subject of al-Qaida,” 292
—states that al Qaeda affiliates “suddenly found themselves bundled into a CIA Gulfstream V or Boeing 737 jet headed for long months of interrogation,” 292

Detainee Treatment Act

—bars “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment,” 135
—described by CIA Director Michael Hayden as a “safehaven” that potentially permits the CIA to use torture techniques, 325
—nicknamed the “McCain Amendment,” 167
—passed by Congress on December 23, 2005, causing a temporary suspension of the torture program, 21
—renews concerns that Congress will discover videotapes of CIA interrogations, which renews CIA interest in destroying said videotapes, 323

Effectiveness Memo

—concludes that the CIA “would not have succeeded in overcoming the resistance of Khalid Shaykh Muhammad” without torture, 309

Feingold, Russ (Senator)

—expresses his opposition to the detention and torture program in 2007, 326
—writes, “I cannot support the program on moral, legal or national security grounds,” 317

Feinstein, Dianne (Senator)

—describes “deep discomfort” with torture, 326
—describes CIA director Michael Hayden’s testimony as “extraordinarily problematic,” 326
—is “unable to understand why the CIA needs to maintain this [torture] program,” 317

Graham, Bob (Senator)

—as chairman of Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, requests expanded oversight of the CIA’s torture program, which the CIA denies, 320
—does not receive responses from the CIA, 8, 57

Hagel, Chuck (Senator)

—describes “deep discomfort” with torture, 326

International Committee of the Red Cross

February 2007 Report of
—sharply criticizes the CIA torture program, 381-382
—“actually does not sound that far removed from reality,” according to the initial reaction of the acting CIA general counsel, 20

Kessler, Ronald

—has his efforts to collaborate with the CIA on reporting for his book “blessed” by CIA director, 290
—makes substantive changes to The CIA at War after meeting with CIA officials, 295
—publishes The CIA at War, which claims that Congress and the media are trying to undercut the CIA’s successful torture program, 295

McCain, John

—informs the CIA at a 2006 hearing that he believes enhanced interrogation techniques constitute torture, 317
(see Detainee Treatment Act)

New York Times

—challenges President Bush’s assertion that Abu Zubaydah identified Khalid Shaykh Muhammad as the “mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks and used the alias ‘Mukhtar,’” 171
—claims Abu Zubaydah “soon began to provide information” after CIA interrogators applied “tougher tactics,” 295
—describes “sharply contrasting accounts” of the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, 294
—publishes an inaccurate article on the torture program, written by Douglas Jehl, that is “consistent with the inaccurate information being provided by the CIA to policymakers at the time,” 291
—publishes “not necessarily an unflattering story,” about the CIA, according to a CIA officer, 293
—reveals that the CIA destroyed videotapes of interrogations, 329

Obama, Barack

—signs Executive Order 13491, prohibiting the CIA from holding detainees except on a “short-term, transitory basis,” a prohibition which is not found in US law, in January 2009 xii

Panetta, Leon (CIA Director, 2009-2011)

—falsely tells the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that torture played a “substantial role” in finding bin Laden, 279
—wants to be able to get back to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence with specifics, 282
—wants to stress that “we had imagery, we had assets on the ground, we had information that came from a number of directions,” 282

“push back”

—purpose of CIA cooperation with Ronald Kessler, an author, 295

representations, inaccurate

—circulated by CIA officials in order to shape congressional opinion, 291
—in an article by contract psychologists, 115
—in a speech by President Bush, 167
—in talking points, 321
—in the CIA Inspector General’s Special Review, 115
—in the “Effectiveness Memo,” 309-310

provided by the CIA to
—anonymous official of [redacted country], 97
—American public, 20, 167, 172, 176,
—CIA Counterterrorism Center Legal Office, 164
—CIA’s Office of Inspector General, 20, 159, 162, 172, 176,
—Congress, 27, 153, 172, 176, 318-330
—Department of Justice, 20, 27, 153, 172, 176, 297-317
—incoming members of Obama’s national security team, 181
—the media, 27, 167, 186, 290-296
—National Security Council, 160
—Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), 7, 8, 133, 167, 297-317
—policymakers, 172
—Senate Intelligence Committee, 80
—senior CIA leadership, 159, 160
—White House, 20, 152, 153, 172, 176,

regarding the effectiveness of torture
—evolved between spring of 2003 and early 2004, 157

—regarding a CIA practice that involves making water cold before using it to douse detainees, 302
—regarding darkness and light, 307
—regarding frequently cited “thwarted” plots, 159, 184,233
—regarding infrequently cited CIA actions, 233-289
—regarding music, 312
—regarding the temperature at which the CIA kept interrogation rooms, 307
—regarding when physical sensations end, 308
—regarding whether torture “shocks the conscience,” 311
—repeated by the OLC, 311, 313-317
—repeated by President Bush, 330
—used as foundation for an OLC legal memorandum on Abu Zubaydah, which the CIA subsequently applies to other detainees despite language in the memorandum specifically forbidding this, 299

Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

—in 2001, is told by CIA Deputy Director of Operations James Pavitt that it will be notified of every individual who enters CIA custody, 318
—is told by Pavitt that the CIA disavows torture, 318
—is also told that limits on interrogation techniques are uncertain, “specifically in the case of having to identify the location of a hidden nuclear weapon,” 318
—expresses “concern” in 2002 about the total lack of legal review of CIA detention authorities, 318
—is told that the CIA “has no current plans to develop a detention facility” in 2002, by which point the CIA already had a detention facility at which Abu Zubaydah was detained, 319

Shelby, Richard (Senator)
—is briefed on the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah on September 27, 2002, 57

Special Review of Counterterrorism Detention and Interrogation Activities

—is undertaken in January 2003 by CIA Inspector General John Helgerson, 64
—concludes that interrogators were “left to their own devices in working with detainees,” 63


—document CIA interrogations, 323
—are destroyed on November 9, 2005, leading to a Senate investigation of the CIA Detention and Interrogation program, 323

Washington Post

—publishes an article about CIA detention sites on November 2, 2005, creating tensions with ally countries hosting detention sites, 137
—causes, with its November 2 article, [REDACTED] country to demand the closure of Detention Site Black within [REDACTED] hours, 138
—prompts the CIA to consider the “dwindling pool [REDACTED] partners willing to host CIA Blacksites,” 139

Wyden, Ron (Senator)

—expresses “deep discomfort with the use of [torture],” 317

The 9/11 Commission Report was constructed like a novel. “Tuesday, September 11, 2001, dawned temperate and nearly cloudless in the eastern United States,” reads its famous opening sentence. The second sentence continues, “Millions of men and women readied themselves for work.” The Torture Report does not share these literary qualities. Its tone is that of an indictment, and its goal is to nail the Central Intelligence Agency to the wall.

It succeeds, for what it’s worth. The CIA makes “misrepresentations” to Congress, to journalists, to the FBI, to the American public, to itself. From moment to moment, the Agency is confused about who it detains and how many detainees there are, and it refuses to admit in plain language what it does to those detainees, over and over. The CIA’s duplicitousness and brutality could hardly be presented more clearly or more thoroughly. The Report makes you want to go down to Langley and throw bricks. The CIA would also seem stupid, except for the fact that it doesn’t seem to have actually wanted accurate intelligence as much as it wanted revenge, which it got.

But the success of the Report’s prosecution isn’t worth as much as you want it to be worth. The Committee’s position—and by extension, this would also be Congress’s position—seems to be something like, “The CIA didn’t tell us they were torturing people, so how were we supposed to know to make them stop torturing people?” The Report skirts around Congress’s obvious, self-preserving acquiescence to the CIA’s stonewalling. Congress didn’t know much because they weren’t trying very hard to find out. And of course many Congressmen are on the record saying that torture “saves lives.”

This shortcoming pales in comparison, though, to the fact that the phrase “war crimes” appears only four times in the text (not counting endnotes). Three of the four instances reference the War Crimes Act. In no case does the phrase appear in reference to a discussion of who should be prosecuted for war crimes, or for lying to Congress, or for anything at all. In a criminal trial, a prosecution and a guilty verdict are supposed to be followed by sentencing. The Report does not even request a sentence, let alone take steps to begin pursuing one.

Index compiled by Richard Beck

Research by:

Laura Cremer
Sam Dean
Moira Donegan
Mimi Dwyer
Elizabeth Gumport
Emma Janaskie
Sasha Jones
Adam Plunkett
Erin Sheehy
Emily Wang
Nick Werle

This is the first installment of a new, regular column on the War on Terror by Richard Beck. Read more here.

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