This Is A Low: Collected Lowlights Of The 2004 CIA IG Report Into Torture

To be updated. First: the report identifies a 21-hour gap in videotapes of interrogations, "which included two waterboard sessions." And that’s before the tapes are destroyed.

Second, CIA’s waterboarding was "for real" compared to SERE’s waterboarding, which is to say that the agency "continuously applied large volumes of water to a cloth that covered the detainee’s mouth and nose." 

Third, a field guide for how you can muddy the rhetorical waters about whether torture "worked."

Fourth, the revelation that the CIA withheld material medical information about proposed torture techniques to John Yoo, Jay Bybee, and the OLC lawyers — I know, right? —  who were asked to issue 2002 opinions about their legality. This is what I was referring to yesterday about the difference between the Baroque and the Systemic.

Fifth, what George Tenet thought weren’t enhanced torture techniques.

Sixth, the two documents that Dick Cheney wanted from CIA to vindicate torture.  Like Lil Wayne, I-I-I-I-I got ’em.

Seventh, something called the "hard takedown" and the ways in which unapproved interrogation techniques operated like approved ones. ("Approved" here being a reference to the OLC; CIA headquarters, according to the report, knew all about this.)

Eighth, a pretty sanguine you-are-listening-to-me-speak statement from DiFi.

Ninth, the epistemic impossibility of demonstrating to an intelligence analyst that a detainee just doesn’t have the information he’s presumed to have.

Tenth, you’ll be surprised to hear that a GOP memo on the IG report is a laughable tissue of misrepresentation and decontextualization

Eleventh, but but but if we let them go, they’ll say we tortured them!  OK it’s 9:40 and I’m going to leave the office now, go walk the dog, get something to eat and then get back to this, though pending my editor’s sleep schedule this may have to resume in the morning. I’m wide awake though.

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Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman

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