Investigators with the Senate Intelligence Committee found that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) went to great lengths to avoid federal and White House oversight concerning the use “enhanced interrogation” techniques, McClatchy Newspapers reported on Friday.
The committee’s probe, which is still classified, also reportedly states that the agency released misleading information regarding how many people were actually subjected to that form of questioning, which one former official familiar with the evidence called “BS” on the part of the CIA.
“They are trying to minimize the damage,” the official, who chose to remain anonymous, was quoted as saying. “They are trying to say it was a very targeted program, but that’s not the case.”
While agency officials have stated that about 30 detainees at “black sites” were subjected to harsher methods of interrogation, the committee’s report questioned that total, accusing the CIA of both giving inaccurate information to the Justice Department and using techniques not approved by either the department or CIA headquarters. According to McClatchy, the report identified 26 detainees who received “enhanced interrogations.”
“The CIA did not conduct a comprehensive or accurate accounting of the number of individuals it detained and held individuals who did not meet the legal standard for detention,” the report stated. “The CIA’s claims about the number of detainees held and subjected to its enhanced interrogation techniques were inaccurate.”
The committee’s investigation also reportedly found that the CIA “actively evaded or impeded” congressional oversight over the interrogation program, while also impeding oversight from not only the White House, but its own Inspector General’s Office. The program ran from 2001 to 2006, during George W. Bush’s presidency.
“Given the report remains classified, we are unable to comment,” agency spokesperson Dean Boyd was quoted as saying. “As we have stated previously, the CIA, in consultation with other agencies, will carry out an expeditious classification review of those portions of the final SSCI report submitted to the executive branch for review.”
The four-year, 6,300-page report has been at the center of a row between the committee and the agency, which has included allegations that committee staffers took secret CIA documents from a secret agency facility in Virginia.
[Image via Agence France-Presse]