The result: a subset became more compliant, but the vast majority also became more suggestible when given misinformation. “Essentially you’re making people less reliable and more stupid,” he said. “You can see the problem.”
Washingtonpost.com does a lot of quoting of the senate documents. They could use a better way of quoting these collections in context.
Almost 13 years after the CIA established secret prisons to hold and interrogate detainees, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the CIA’s programs listing 20 key findings. Click a statement below for a summary of the findings:
And Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Jessen, identified by pseudonyms in the report, had not conducted a single real interrogation. They had helped run a Cold War-era training program for the Air Force in which personnel were given a taste of the harsh treatment they might face if captured by Communist enemies. The program — called SERE, for Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape — had never been intended for use in American interrogations, and involved methods that had produced false confessions when used on American airmen held by the Chinese in the Korean War.
.. On the other side were James E. Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, two former military psychologists who had advised the agency to use waterboarding and other coercive methods. With the support of C.I.A. headquarters, they repeatedly insisted that Mr. Nashiri and other prisoners were still withholding crucial information, and that the application of sufficient pain and disorientation would eventually force them to disclose it. They thought the other faction was “running a ‘sissified’ interrogation program,” the report says.
If those questioning Mr. Nashiri just had “the latitude to use the full range of enhanced exploitation and interrogation measures,” including waterboarding, Dr. Jessen wrote, they would be able to get more information. Such treatment, he wrote, after the two previous months of extremely harsh handling of Mr. Nashiri, would produce “the desired level of helplessness.”
.. Early in the program, the report says, “a junior officer on his first overseas assignment,” who had no experience with prisons or interrogations, was placed in charge of a C.I.A. detention site in Afghanistan known as the Salt Pit. Other C.I.A. officers had previously proposed that he be stripped of access to classified information because of a “lack of honesty, judgment and maturity.”
.. The agency even had trouble keeping track of the people it was holding. In a December 2003 cable to C.I.A. headquarters from one of the countries with a secret prison, the C.I.A. station chief wrote, “We have made the unsettling discovery that we are holding a number of detainees about whom we know very little.” Most of the prisoners had not been questioned for months and seemed to have little intelligence value, the cable said.
.. “I am concerned at what appears to be a lack of resolve at headquarters to deploy to the field the brightest and most qualified officers,” wrote a C.I.A. officer running one of the secret prisons in 2005. “More than a few are basically incompetent.”
He added: “We see no evidence that thought is being given to deploying an ‘A team.’ The result, quite naturally, is the production of mediocre or, I dare say, useless intelligence.”
Detainees were deprived of sleep for as long as a week, and were sometimes told that they would be killed while in American custody. With the approval of the C.I.A.’s medical staff, some C.I.A. prisoners were subjected to medically unnecessary “rectal feeding” or “rectal hydration” — a technique that the C.I.A.’s chief of interrogations described as a way to exert “total control over the detainee.” C.I.A. medical staff members described the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, as a “series of near drownings.”
.. According to the Senate report, even before the agency captured its first prisoner, C.I.A. lawyers began thinking about how to get approval for interrogation methods that might normally be considered torture. Such methods might gain wider approval, the lawyers figured, if they were proved to have saved lives.
“A policy decision must be made with regard to U.S. use of torture,” C.I.A. lawyers wrote in November 2001, in a previously undisclosed memo titled “Hostile Interrogations: Legal Considerations for C.I.A. Officers.”
The lawyers argued that “states may be very unwilling to call the U.S. to task for torture when it resulted in saving thousands of lives.”