Senate’s CIA Torture Review Still Classified, But Details Are Leaking

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Source: Colleen Casey

Source: Colleen Casey

Earlier this month, a long-standing point of contention between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Senate came to a head; Chair of the Intelligence Committee, Democrat Dianne Feinstein of California, confirmed to reporters that the CIA was under investigation for allegedly spying on the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

The history of the alleged surveillance dates back to the administration of George W. Bush when, in the aftermath of 9/11, the Senate committee began a lengthy examination of the CIA’s discontinued detention and interrogation program. But it appears that the agency wanted to keep secret the details of the program, details that the still-classified, 6,300-page report would reveal. Through sources familiar with the disagreement, Al Jazeera learned that the report alleges that at least-one “high-value detainee” was subjected to torture techniques that went beyond those authorized by the Bush administration’s Department of Justice.

Feinstein spoke at length on the now-defunct detention and interrogation program on the floor of the Senate on March 11. “Over the past week, there have been numerous press articles written about the Intelligence Committee’s oversight review of the Detention and Interrogation Program of the CIA, specifically, press attention has focused on the CIA’s intrusion and search of the Senate Select Committee’s computers as well as the committee’s acquisition of a certain internal CIA document known as the Panetta Review,” she said. The name of the review refers to former director of the agency, Leon Panetta, who ordered a 2012 internal C.I.A. review.

While initially the central focus of the Senate outrage dealt with the agency’s alleged spying on the Senate committee, concerns about the findings of the report are growing more pressing. Two Senate staffers and another government official told Al Jazeera that the Intelligence committee’s analysis of the 6 million pages of classified records revealed the harsh measures employed by agency interrogators had been used on at least one detainee before official authorization had been given by the Justice Department. That detainee was Zain Abidin Mohammed Husain Abu Zubaydah.

Later, the CIA knowingly misled the White House, Congress, and the Justice Department about the value of the intelligence gained in the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, the government officials informed the publication. His interrogation was used to justify harsher methods.

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