The soon-to-be declassified CIA “torture report” is set to come out very soon, and some of the people who participated in what was known as “enhanced interrogation” under the Bush administration think they are about to get thrown under the bus as the political winds have changed.
CIA Director John Brennan gave what amounted to an employee “pep talk” at the agency’s Langley, Va. headquarters on Thursday, and he apparently dodged the question of whether individual CIA employees could end up facing charges or other disciplinary action, Shane Harris reports at Foreign Policy.
Brennan’s presentation, according to officials present who spoke with Harris, “went over like a lead balloon.”
CIA employees have reason to be anxious. Dismissing the language of his predecessor who referred to practices such as slapping, sleep deprivation, and waterboarding as “enhanced interrogation” in a speech on Friday, President Obama said CIA officials “crossed a line” after the 9/11 attacks and “tortured some folks.”
The still-classified 6,300-page Senate report set for partial release — possibly sometime next week — concludes that not only did CIA officers use brutal techniques on captured terror suspects, but they failed to produce actionable intelligence from it despite their claims to the contrary, according to AP.
In talking points leaked from the White House on Wednesday, it’s quite clear the Obama administration is keeping its distance from the program which began under President Bush. “This report tells a story of which no American is proud,” one point reads.
Obama banned the use of torture when he took office in 2009. His attorney general, Eric Holder — who opened an investigation into the practices that year — announced in 2012 that no one would be prosecuted for such interrogations, despite the deaths of two prisoners while in CIA custody, according to The New York Times.
The administration’s decision to not pursue charges angered human rights groups and others.
Still, the release of the report is sure to bring the issue back front-and-center, which CIA employees are keenly aware of. At least some, as Shane Harris writes, feel they may be “hung out to dry” soon after.
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