Torture and Secrecy

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) tortured detainees.  CIA agents and interrogators used a variety of brutal and inhumane methods to torture terrorism suspects during repeated coercive interrogations.

Those are the findings of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program, which was partially declassified and released this week.

News media have provided extensive coverage of the U.S. Senate report and reactions to it by politicians and CIA officials.


One of the best succinct analyses of the significance of the report so far is by Frank Foley, who is a Lecturer in the War Studies Department at King’s College London and the author of Countering Terrorism in Britain and France.

“Following publication of the Senate report,” Foley notes, “there have been calls for the prosecution of Bush administration officials involved in the CIA’s interrogation programme. This would send the strongest possible warning signal to any future US government considering re-authorising such techniques.”

Foley argues that “even short of that, the revelations and public debate on the CIA’s interrogation programme may yet prove to be a powerful deterrent. A fundamental underpinning of the post-9/11 interrogations was a belief among security officials that their brutal treatment of detainees would remain largely secret.”

The BBC published the analysis of the U.S. Senate report on CIA torture. Historians of violence and warfare will want to read the complete Executive Summary of the report, available online.

This entry was posted in Atrocities, Civilians and Refugees in War, Culture, History of Violence, Strategy and International Politics, Terrorism, War and Society. Bookmark the permalink.

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