CIA Torture Report: The Most Stunning Findings

Interrogators allegedly threatened to sexually assault detainee family members.

ByABC News
December 9, 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.”

'Mr. Rogers' Persona'

The interrogation team eventually concluded the enhanced techniques had caused Sheikh Mohammed to "clam up," prompting interrogators to adopt a "softer Mr. Rogers' persona."

In what the interrogation team deemed the "best session held to date," a "more cooperative" Sheikh Mohammad revealed information about an individual he described as the protector of his children. The information turned out to be fabricated, resulting in the capture and detention of two innocent people.

Family Photo

When interrogators concluded there would be “no further movement” in Sheikh Mohammed’s interrogations, detention site personnel hung a photograph of his sons in his cell to “[heighten] his imagination concerning where they are, who has them, [and] what is in store for them.”

Interrogators Threatened Families

CIA officers also threatened at least three detainees with harm to their families. Those threats included doing harm to the children of a detainee, threats to sexually abuse the mother of a detainee and to "cut" a detainee's mother's throat.

'They Cowered'

Detainees at a detention facility referred to in the report as "COBALT" were kept in complete darkness -- paired with constant noise.

Detainees "'literally looked like a dog that had been kenneled,'" one CIA interrogator said. "When the doors to their cells were opened, 'they cowered.'"

Naked Detainees Doused With Ice Water

Without approval from CIA headquarters, interrogates doused COBALT detainees with ice water. They were hosed down while shackled in a standing position or held down naked on the floor.

One detainee, Gul Rahman, naked except for a sweatshirt, died of hypothermia while chained to a wall at COBALT in 2002.

Diapers, Sleep Deprivation

Mohamed Rahim, the last CIA detainee in the Detention and Interrogation Program, was kept awake for 138 1/2 hours -- almost six days.

Diapered and and shackled in a standing position, Rahim “reiterated several times during the session that he would make up information if interrogators pressured him, and that he was at the complete mercy of the interrogators.”

26 Individuals Improperly Detained

Twenty-six of the CIA's 119 detainees "did not meet the ... standard for detention," according to the report.

One of these improperly detained individuals, Abu Hudhaifa, endured 66 hours of standing sleep deprivation and ice water baths "before being released because the CIA discovered he was likely not the person he was believed to be." A second "intellectually challenged" individual was detained and used "as leverage" against a family member. Two more spent 24 hours chained in the standing sleep deprivation position, until CIA Headquarters "confirmed that the detainees were former CIA sources," who had previously reached out to the CIA to try to share intelligence.

ABC News' Martha Raddatz, Ely Brown, Ali Weinberg, Luis Martinez, Jeff Zeleny, Cindy Smith, Stephanie Smith, Avery Miller, Arlette Saenz, Robin Gradison, Ariane DeVogue, and Alex Mallin contributed to this report.

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