A Senate Intelligence Committee report yet to be made public concludes that the CIA’s use of “waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques” may not have been legal even under the controversial definition of “torture” created by John Yoo and the Bush-era Department of Justice, McClatchy reports.
The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel found that [interrogation methods such as waterboarding] wouldn’t breach the law because those applying them didn’t have the specific intent of inflicting severe pain or suffering.
The Senate report, however, concluded that the Justice Department’s legal analyses were based on flawed information provided by the CIA, which prevented a proper evaluation of the program’s legality.
“The CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information to the Department of Justice, impeding a proper legal analysis of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program,” the report found.
For example: the CIA told the Department of Justice that methods like waterboarding would not be repeated in a “substantial” way on any one prisoner, but then waterboarded individual subjects as many as 183 times. Per McClatchy, the report also finds that the CIA used interrogation techniques that were never approved by the DOJ in the first place, gave “erroneous” information about the number of detainees subject to harsh interrogation, and detained 26 individuals via the interrogation program who didn’t meet the legal standard to be held at all.
The Senate committee sent the report to the executive branch for declassification on April 3, and its release is pending.