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Here is the Senate’s 500-page report on Bush-era torture

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The Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday released a long-awaited report on CIA interrogation tactics deployed by the George W. Bush administration in the years after the September 11 attack.

Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) emphasized that the CIA’s interrogation techniques, including torture, did not lead to any valuable intelligence.

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“At no time did the CIA’s coercive interrogation techniques lead to the collection of imminent threat intelligence, such as the hypothetical ‘ticking time bomb’ information that many believe was the justification for the use of these techniques.”

The report also found that the CIA lied about the effectiveness of torture, misleading both the government and the public.

“The study details how the CIA used inaccurate information to obtain legal and policy approval to use the CIA’s ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,'” Feinstein said. “The CIA provided inaccurate information to the White House, Congress, the Justice Department, the CIA inspector general, the media, and the American public.”

Also, Feinstein said, the CIA’s management of the program was deeply flawed, and the agency employed personnel who were poorly trained.

“The CIA deployed individuals without relevant training or experience. CIA also deployed officers who had documented personal and professional problems of a serious nature — including histories of violence and abusive treatment of others — that should have called into question their employment, let alone their suitability to participate in the sensitive CIA program.”

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And finally, the CIA’s techniques were much more brutal than the agency admitted, the chairwoman said.

“CIA detainees at one detention facility, described as a ‘dungeon,’ were kept in complete darkness and constantly shackled in isolated cells with loud noise or music and only a bucket to use for human waste. Lack of heat at the facility likely contributed to the death of a detainee. At times, detainees were walked around naked and shackled with their hands above their head. At other times, naked detainees were hooded and dragged up and down corridors while being slapped and punched.”

Read the report (PDF) below:

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Senate torture report

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Sondland is in ‘tremendous trouble’ no matter how he tries to change his testimony tomorrow: NYT columnist

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On Tuesday, in the wake of testimony from several witnesses in the impeachment hearing that broadly implicated EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland in improper backchannel foreign policy, New York Times columnist Wajahat Ali suggested that Sondland is in "tremendous trouble" — and that no testimony he could give tomorrow will get him out of this mess:

No. He will be trying to save himself. The perjury plus multiple stellar witnesses paint a damning portrait. He's in tremendous trouble. https://t.co/CxN5w0EErb

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Even the Republican witnesses make Donald Trump look like a depraved criminal

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The second half of Tuesday's hearing offered something new in the Donald Trump impeachment inquiry: Witnesses called by the Republican minority on the House Intelligence Committee. It's understandable why Republicans would want these two men.

One of them was Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council aide who is among the few people directly exposed to Trump's famous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky who claims to believe there was nothing wrong with it. The other was Kurt Volker, a former special envoy to Ukraine, who appears to have been a major actor in Trump's extortion scheme in that country. Indeed, Volker was deemed one of the "three amigos" — along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Trump donor/EU ambassador Gordon Sondland — who Trump entrusted with Ukrainian relations as he exerted increasing pressure on the country's leaders to give into his extortion scheme.

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Impeachment: Trump’s ‘hearsay’ defense just crashed and burned

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In the panoply of contradictory and incoherent defenses of Donald Trump, a favorite of Republicans has been to harp on the claim that witnesses to Trump's extortion scheme against Ukraine were all "second-hand" or "third-hand." This has always been confounding, as the official summary readout of the famous phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows Trump clearly conditioning military aid and U.S. support on Zelensky giving a public boost to Trump's conspiracy theories about former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders. The witnesses so far have simply affirmed what the written record demonstrates amply.

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