CIA Torture Report: The Most Stunning Findings

Interrogators allegedly threatened to sexually assault detainee family members.

ByErin Dooley
December 09, 2014, 4:06 PM

— -- The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence today released a blistering report on CIA interrogation practices -- claiming the "brutal" techniques the agency used on detainees in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks “were not effective.”

A separate study released today by committee Republicans disputes some of the conclusions of that report, released by committee Democrats -- but does not defend the use of controversial "enhanced interrogation" techniques.

Below are highlights from the report released by Committee Democrats:

Interrogators Admitted to Sexual Assault

According the the report, "numerous CIA interrogators and other CIA personnel associated with the program had either suspected or documented personal and professional problems that raised questions about their judgment and CIA employment. This group of officers included individuals who, among other issues, had engaged in inappropriate detainee interrogations, had workplace anger management issues, and had reportedly admitted to sexual assault."

Round-the-Clock EIT

Detainee Abu Zubaydah was placed "in complete isolation for 47 days," then subjected to "enhanced interrogation techniques on a near 24-hour-per-day basis." He “cried, begged, pleaded, and whimpered,” but denied having any information.

The CIA reportedly instructed personnel that his interrogation should take "precedence" over medical care, which eventually led to the "deterioration" of a bullet wound Zubaydah sustained during his capture.

Stuffed in a Coffin-Like Box

Zubaydah spent a total of 266 hours in a "large confinement box" that looked like a "coffin." He spent an additional 29 hours in an even smaller box, which was 21 inches wide, 2.5 feet deep, and 2.5 feet tall.

CIA interrogators reportedly told Zubaydah "that the only way he would leave the facility was in the coffin-shaped confinement box."

Waterboarding Continues

Even after the interrogation team told CIA headquarters that it was “highly unlikely” he had the information they were looking for, interrogators continued to waterboard Abu Zubaydah, who “coughed, vomited, and had involuntary spasms of the torso and extremities’” during the procedure. At one point, he "became completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth."

CIA Personnel ‘Choking Up’ During Waterboarding

The waterboarding eventually induced "involuntary leg, chest and arm spasms." According to CIA records, “it seems the collective opinion that we should not go much further.” Several on the team were “profoundly affected,” “some to the point of tears and choking up.”

Rectual Infusion of 'Pureed' Humus, Pasta, Nuts and Raisins

Several detainees, including Zubaydah, Marwan al-Jabbur, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, underwent "rectal rehydration" or "rectal fluid resuscitation" -- and detainee Majid Klian's “lunch tray," made up of hummus, pasta with sauce, raisins and nuts, was "pureed" and rectally infused.

According to CIA medical officers, rectal infusions were partially used as a behavior control: "While IV infusion is safe and effective," an officer noted, "we were impressed with the ancillary effectiveness of rectal infusion."

Intimidation with a Power Drill

Another detainee, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, was blindfolded before an interrogator placed a pistol near his head and operated a cordless power drill near his body.

‘Let’s Roll With the New Guy’

Less than two hours after the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, self-professed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, in March 2003, an CIA interrogation chief sent an email to CIA headquarters requesting permission to “press [Sheikh Mohammed] for threat info right away.” The subject line: “Let’s roll with the new guy.”

Medical Officer: Waterboarding is ‘Basically…Drownings’

During waterboarding sessions, Sheikh Mohammed ingested significant amounts of water. According to CIA records, his abdomen “was somewhat distended and he expressed water when the abdomen was pressed.”

“In the new technique,” a medical officer wrote, “we are basically doing a series of near drownings.”

Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded at least 183 times.

Transforming Interrogations into ‘Battles of Will’

Sheikh Mohammed was also subject to abdominal and facial slaps, standing sleep deprivation, stress positions, nudity, water dousing. And although he hadn’t determined it was medically necessary, an interrogation chief also ordered rectal hydration.

The procedure, the chief said, illustrated the interrogators’ “total control over the detainee” – but an on-site psychologist later concluded that sessions would have been more successful had interrogators avoided “confrontations that allow [Sheikh Mohammed] to transform the interrogation into battles of will with their interrogator.”

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