Cables Detail C.I.A. Waterboarding at Secret Prison Run by Gina Haspel

The 2002 cables, written or overseen by Gina Haspel, now the C.I.A. director, detail the torture of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the main suspect in the bombing of the Navy destroyer Cole.

Comments: 238

  1. Let's see: The Bush Administration lied to the American people in order to start an illegal war against a nation that never attacked us. This then allowed our corrupt government to sanction and commit acts of torture which never resulted in any significant intel to our military welfare complex.
    Sounds like the script for bad TV series and nationalistic movies glorifying the American empire. Oh, no, it's the sad legacy of the real U.S. which can no longer be considered morally or ethically sound. The moral compass is broken.

  2. @mrfreeze6

    And the Obama administration, instead of prosecuting these direct violations of U.S. and international law, swept it under the rug.

    Republicans investigate Democrats for made up scandals again and again, but Democrats refuse to preview Republicans for actual crimes.

    Democrats created Trump by setting no boundaries for the Republicans' childish party.

  3. @mrfreeze6, do you understand dates at all, like October, 2002 or December, 2002? This happened before the start of the "illegal war". It was justified by September 11th. It stands on its own merits as horribly wrong, without all the junk you're attaching to it, most of which defies the laws of physics and the definition of causality by making something the cause of something else when it happened afterward.

  4. @mrfreeze6, The Republicans have become habitual liars culminating in the Supreme Liar trump.

  5. Reading this just heightens my incredulity that the person who oversaw the worst CIA scandal since at least the war in Vietnam has received Congressional approval to oversee the whole agency.

  6. @Delbert

    She received Republican approval.

  7. Thugs managed by thugs financed by a violent culture. We can safely and shamefully admit that we had indeed created the culture of ISIS and its founding members who like Baghdadi were tortured and humiliated in our sites in Iraq and Syria. We really have no moral grounds to stand on.

  8. @Tired Of trump at least he still has his head. Ask Daniel Pearl if he would have preferred waterboarding and sleep deprivation.

  9. @Tired Of trump Too boot, we filled them with a terrible and unquenchable resolve.

    We kill innocent women and children via drone strikes, then we capture a survivor. They are tortured regardless of guilt or innocence. The innocent woman and children are his so what would the logical outcome? Spending one life trying to destroy anything and anyone who did this me. That would be my approach to these events.

    We have met the enemy and it is us.

  10. “If tyranny and oppression come to this land it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." - James Madison

    Reading about such cruelty and looking at Ms. Haspel's benign smiling face is a chilling reminder that even the most noble ends will never be achieved with government-sanctioned brutality. Her behavior helped dramatically lower the United States' standing around the world and put our soldiers and citizens at risk like never before. I lower my head in shame and horror that she's been elevated to her current role and is not in prison.

  11. There is a conclusive way to determine if water-boarding works.

    Each of the authors would be given 2 secrets.

    One secret would be obtainable through water-boarding and enhanced interrogation. The other secret would be obtainable through tenderness and ice cream cones and soft music.

    Whichever secret is withheld in each circumstance would provide conclusive proof of whether water-boarding works - and this would be based on the actual experiences of the authors, not on speculation.

  12. This is the problem with allowing torture. Once you can torture terrorists people start wanting to torture others ... say reporters who wrote an article they found objectionable.

  13. @Maurice Gatien - "Each of the authors would be given 2 secrets."

    Lets add that the torturers are told the authors know 3 secrets and their job is to extract all 3. And the authors can lie to stop the pain. Gets complicated, doesn't it?

  14. i have always been profoundly uncomfortable
    with the saying that "in love and war, all is fair."

  15. Haskell proves that women can be just as immoral as men.

  16. @katherinekovach

    There's no proof here. Rather the article offers anecdotal evidence that one woman can be just as immoral as some men.

  17. This type of behavior, and probably worse, will occur again because Obama made the decision to immunize the torturers, and those who condoned and ordered, it from prosecution. We hanged Japanese after WWII for this same behavior. It has always been considered torture and always been illegal, no matter what twisted logic the twisted mind of John Woo tried to come up with to "legalize" it as ordered by Cheney/Bush. Allowing this behavior to not only go unpunished, but even rewarded, sends the clear message and there is no limit to what will be "forgiven" in the name of "security". Shame on us for allowing it.

  18. @Jack Robinson

    Yes, centrist Democrats made Trump possible and are enabling him.

  19. @Jack Robinson

    And John Woo teachers law now at Berkeley. Irony or ironies. He should have been disbarred long ago, and all those who came up with the legal, ethical and medical underpinnings of this policy should lose any accreditation they might have.

    Such vile behavior should not be condoned, sanctioned, or rewarded.

  20. @Jack Robinson
    On Youtube, I found many WWII military training films instructing interrogators in the art of interrogation.

    It's striking to compare these US interrogators, who actually knew what they were doing, with the CIA interrogators who, like Haspel and her psychologist contractors, didn't have the faintest idea of how to get information out of a captured enemy prisoner.

    For example, the interrogator who interviewed captured German pilots was himself a pilot, had lived in Germany, spoke German, and could build rapport by talking about the bars in Berlin. His great line was, "As one pilot to another, what's it like to fly that Heinkel 162?"

    The US army training films emphasized that these enemy fighters were people just like us, who were drawn from ordinary occupations just like us -- teachers, engineers, salesmen. They repeatedly said, "We should treat them well, because we want them to treat our soldiers well when we're captured."

    The WWII training films are a window back to the time when you could be proud to be an American, a country that upheld the highest values of civilization.

    (And yes, the military had many films teaching soldier the valuable contribution "the Negro soldier" was making to the war effort.)

  21. The CIA is exempt from many provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552a. What's to stop the CIA from collecting information or covertly arresting U.S. citizens?

    I was arrested by DoJ and detained for 5 months but never charged with anything. They didn't even investigate me nor interview me during the 5 months. They classified it as a high intensity drug task force arrest but never tested me for drugs or changed me with possession. I was told in federal court that I didn't have a right to counsel and they didn't have a bail hearing. I don't have a criminal background and they didn't have a search warrant but they classified me as a maximum security felon. I, or my teenage sons, could have been killed during the arrest process. I could have been killed in custody since I was transported with convicted felons or they could have claimed it was suicide. Since then DoJ has claimed over and over again that it is legal for them to arrest and detain U.S. citizens even if there is no probable cause that they committed a federal crime.

  22. @Kay There must be more facts at issue, or, you've got a whale of lawsuit under Sec. 1983. Did you have counsel?

  23. After Rick Perry in the energy dept., Betsy DeVos in education, and Scott Pruitt advocating for pollution, this should come as no surprise. Why are you highlighting her qualifications now? She’s already got the job. The question is, who do we put in charge of mental health, now that Charles Manson is no longer with us?

  24. @Peter, Good points, but I would also ask how many more appointments of either unqualified, or inept people Mr. Trump selects for high office will it take for his supporters to recognize his own ineptitude? How many more people who step down for fear of being exposed for their ineptitude will it take for his supporters to wake up and see Trump for who and what he is?

  25. @Peter
    My surprise comes from the fact that Democrats voted for Haspel and many other Trump nominees.

    Do Democrats only exist to give cover to the anti-constitutional behavior of the Republican Party?

  26. Resign Gina or suffer the consequences of your deception. The depths of America’s cruelty never ceases to amaze me. What is its genesis? Makes me so ashamed to be an American.

  27. @Beth Bardwell torture is organ failure; I believe that is where we were drawing the line back then. If you had a son or nephew in the service, and he was captured by the enemy, would you rather have him waterboarded and deprived of sleep, or tortured with electricity and power tools by Al-quaeda? That's what I thought.

  28. I had two friends on the USS Cole, and they both died during the terrorist attack ordered by al-Nashiri. Please refrain from passing any judgement on Ms. Haspel or any other CIA officers forced to make hard decisions. You have never walked in their shoes. Thank you.

  29. @Maria

    Sorry, Maria .. everyone who has ever had a loved one hurt or killed, has probably wished many violent things upon the accused.

    But firstly, they are only accused, and probably shoudl not be tortured until convicted (you know - 'our values');

    And secondly, neither you nor this Haspel person, nor any other person who was hurt by this attack have the right to make that call - that's the type of thing that happens in many muslim countries, where the aggrieved family gets to determine the punishment. You can live in that type of society anytime you wish.

    But here, in the US, we passed laws that bind us all, and do not permit the emotional anger of the aggrieved to inflict their chosen violence on an accused.

    See the difference? I do not care about your service, or theirs. I do not care about Haspel weighty 'decisions'. They are Americans and NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW.

    Or, is all that lofty stuff we say about ourselves just children's lies ...

  30. @Maria: we are sorry to read of your friends' lives lost.
    any life lost due to violence of any kind is one too many.

    yet, and for as painful as it may sound,
    the very second that someone enlists in any military,
    they agree to risking their lives, don't they?

    that's why it is still such a shame that we, as a
    so-called 'civilization', have not been able to overcome
    the seemingly eternal "lust" for war ... or is it that

    we just keep falling for those who benefit from it?
    bc every war fought to date had to be preceded by
    at least ONE BIG LIE.

  31. @Maria The studies show torture does not work, and our use of torture will be used on American citizens when there is no punishment. The government cannot expect citizens to follow the law if the government does not. The government had all the information necessary for the death penalty before it started the torture.

    us army 1969-1971/california jd

  32. Could we get a few facts, so often ignore in the heat of Political Correctitude, straight.
    First, torture of military personnel during armed conflicts has pretty much disappeared from civilized society. Note "civilized".
    And we are a nation brimming with laws to protect the health and wellbeing of criminals.
    It is in the interface between these two milieu that things get a little sketchy.
    What is the correct response to military intrusions into our civil society.
    Consider this: if it had been determined that an impending attack on U. S. civilians, killing thousands and destroying two massive buildings and acres of New York infrastructure and resulting in the deaths of hundreds of first responders, could be averted by cooking someone over a slow fire, I would happily have provided the matches.
    Yes, it is difficult to define the circumstances in which torture is justified, but they exist and simply to remove this tool (liberal cries and whimpers everywhere) from the intelligence agencies work is in no one's best interest.
    Except individuals determined to kill American citizens.

  33. @Good John Fagin: And if you thought the attack could be averted by slowly cooking that person's innocent daughters, sons, all the children of his neighborhood (less than thousands), or even all the people of his ethnic group in the world (more than thousands, but non-Americans), would you still have gladly provided the matches? You see where this leads? I'm sure in this spectrum you have a personal line you will not cross. But how sure are you that, in the heat of the crisis you posit, the people really wielding the matches, to do what they think their duty is, will not go over that line?

    This is why we have rules, because we've faced these situations before. Specifically, the military has and continues to face similar situations. And, as David Gregory notes, over much experience, has developed rules about what you can and cannot do. And these rules forbid torture. Call me conservative, but I'd rather go with rules developed through centuries of experience over hypothetical rhetoric. As John McCain understands, you ban torture not because of cries and whimpers, but because experience has taught you that it in the long run, it damages your entire society more than anything or anyone else.

  34. @Good John Fagin

    If you really think that torture will serve a higher purpose, than you should be willing to be prosecuted for engaging in it.

    That is how you make sure torture doesn't get used unnecessarily.

  35. @Good John Fagin
    While I disagree with your conclusion...most of all I disagree with your premise.

    The 9-11 attack on the World Trade Center was not a military action. If it was then we should have gone hammer and tongs after Saudi Arabia. But the fact is that they were Saudi nationals and not Saudi military.

    What we saw was a horrific criminal act...not an act of war.

    That we insisted on a military response in Iraq and Afghanistan reflected our blood lust for revenge; and so we turned to our biggest, baddest military which promptly got bogged down in a pointless and unnecessary "war." And we lost our honor and perspective in the process.

    Perspective and proportionality go a long way in a dangerous world.

  36. "Only the lowest people...."

    TRUMP 2018

    November 6 2018

    Vote !

  37. The US is Morally Bankrupt on so many levels, and has thrown its reputation to the ground and the World knows it and so do I.

  38. EACH and EVERYONE of these CIA persons who were involved in the torture of persons who had been arrested in connection with the 9/11 incident should be expelled from the US Government service with dishonorable recommendation.

    This stain is so harsh that unless and until we, as a nation, put copious amounts of cleansers on it and do everything humanly possible to eradicate it will forever continue to tarnish our reputation as a civilized nation. Putting this disgraceful woman at the top of our intelligence agency is doing everything that we should not be doing.

  39. As we sink lower and lower into the morass - Scott Pruitt, Devin Nunez, John Bolton, Brett Kavanagh, Chris Collins - is it really so shocking that we have an architect of torture running the CIA?

    Our president supports the use of torture - even though it doesn't work - because it sounds tough. But he also supports deficit spending, tariffs - disguised taxes on his fellow Americans - lying to the American people on a daily basis, intriguing with Vladimir Putin, Roger Stone, and Julian Assange, to rig a presidential election in his favor.

    And the beat goes on. Allegations have been made by Senator Bill Nelson - running against Trump acolyte Rick Scott in a hotly contested race - that Russians may have penetrated the voter registration infrastructure in Florida with an eye to swinging the election to Scott. Pushback from Republican sycophants is as vociferous as it is expected. It echoes Trump's assertions that the Russians had no influence on the election that put him in power.

    So, what's a little torture in a secret prison in Thailand? A brutal and corrupt means to achieve a worthless end: that's a metaphor for the how and the where America will end up under the thumb of Trump.

  40. This evil woman should not only be out of the office she holds, she should be in prison. The same is true for the lawyers who conjured up the legal fiction to give cover to this abomination. I am still angry to this day that President Obama and his AG did not prosecute these war criminals.

    When I served in the Army we were trained in the laws of land warfare. In the course of training we were told explicitly that we do not torture, that torture does not work reliably, that it is a war crime and that we would be punished under military law (UCMJ) and quite possibly civil law.

    We were also told of our nation's history, where General Washington declined to torture British prisoners of war under interrogation despite the fact that the British were torturing members of the Continental Army in ships in New York City. Our tradition of not using torture went back to the earliest days of our nation's fight for independence. It was well established in US, Military and International Law, yet John Yoo, David Addington and others conjured up an imaginary allowance. Alberto Gonzales described the Geneva Conventions as "quaint".

    Finally, we were told that not torturing the enemy some degree increased the likelihood that they would surrender rather than fight to the death. If you as an enemy soldier think surrender will get you fair treatment that would make sense, as would the inverse.

  41. Just an FYI,

    Many on the Resistance - including past administration officials such as John Brennan, the former CIA director who regularly lambasts Trump for his mishandling of democracy and decency - defended Gina Haspel's nomination.

    Five democrats voted Yes to install her, including the vice-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mike Warner.

    What this underlines is that still, despite two decades of un-ending war; a destabilisation of the Middle East; countless dead, there are many who are still today willing to openly advocate for those who wanted to destroy video tapes of torture to promote the above.

  42. @Mohamud Warsame I really think Dems need to think about this and vote out these people who do this in their name

  43. Waterboarding was small potatoes.
    The bigger war crime was the Bush family's "shock and awe" bombing, invasion, and war against Iraq. They not only knew there were no weapons of mass destruction, they exploited the American people's fear after 911 to try to make a lot of money on the war. It was mostly about stealing Iraqi oil.
    And yes, John McCain became their enemy because he was so strongly against torture, for obvious reasons. If we torture our enemies, then they get to torture our troops, hence the need for Geneva Convention and other agreements on the conduct of participants in a conflict.
    Hugh Massengill

  44. Yes, and half of the Democrats including Hillary joined the Republicans to approve the war resolution. Supposedly they “didn’t know,” but they voted for it anyway because they were afraid to look weak on national security.

  45. @Hugh Massengill
    Yes and they didn't even steal the oil for the USA, they stole it for the global oil corporations that they own shares in.

    They turned our blood and treasure into their private profit, and Obama did nothing about it.

  46. Now America has progressed from waterboarding prisoners to caging children, toddlers and infants. Uncooperative ones are held down and forcibly medicated.

    Most of this is done by the "very fine people" who make up the modern GOP with Trump at their helm.

    This is what Republicans consider "winning"?
    All I see is America losing more and more of her morals, values and good standing in the world.

    Aren't we better than this?

    Vote Democratic on November 6th.
    Every seat, every office.
    Changing Congress is how we begin to fix this.

  47. Wrong on all accounts.
    As long as humankind waged wars there has always been torture and forced interrogation. Bush didn’t invented, it is not a Republican thing.

    Removing children from parents was also practiced by others including Clinton and Obama. Not a Trump invention or a Republican thing.

  48. @D. DeMarco I've changed my political designation to "enough." That's the way I see it, that's the way I'm voting. Enough of this tangled ugliness.

  49. @D. DeMarco

    Vote Democratic, but don't vote for Democrats that vote for Republican policies and Republican nominees.

    Five Democrats voted for a known torturer to be head of CIA.
    Votes like this lose more voters than they gain.
    Those that like Republican policy vote for Republicans. The job of the Democrats is to oppose the Party of Criiminals like Trump, not help them.

  50. Terrorist attacks, like 9/11, and Climate Change that is causing desertification in Africa are not acts of nature but the consequences of human choices. Torture isn't the way to make better decisions if one wishes to prevent terrorist attacks in the future anymore than increasing tailpipe pollution will restore the environment. Haspel was wrong and unrepentant which makes her a problem, not a solution for CIA credibility which is rightfully under attack by both Trump and his crazies and the even crazier humanitarians.

  51. I still don't understand what Haspel's role was in the treatment of Fatima Boudchar. Did she oversee that person's rendition directly?

    Or was it more of a management thing -- did she set a quota for the number of pregnant women who should be abducted and tortured in a secret CIA-run prison in Thailand? If they processed fewer than 1 per year, was this a sign of being insufficiently vigilant in protecting America?

  52. Regardless to how terrible the deed, you and I lose if we tolerate torture.

    This is not just about being kind to human beings, it's about the kind of world we want to live in. Torture is like a noxious smell. You can't use it without tainting the atmosphere.

    In a few cases it may bring forth useful info that couldn't have been gotten otherwise. In most cases, the evidence is clear, it does not. In all cases, its use remains in the atmosphere and poisons everyone, increasing the number of people who believe they have reason to use similar tactics, thereby increasing our exposure to the dark side of human reality.

    If you're pragmatic, as the argument for occasional use of torture is, do your +/- calculations in a timeframe that includes more than a month or a year. Look honestly at the dynamics created over time. You will see that if your goal is self-protection and reducing harm to yourself and your society, you cannot yield to the impulse to use torture, justified as it may seem.

  53. I guess were supposed to do a mea culpa for 9/11. If the CIA did what the article says, they were doing their job, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart because there have been no other 9/11’s since.

  54. @Ed

    Ed, for heaven's sake!

    If the article exposed CIA rape chambers where officers raped the children of suspected terrorists in front of their fathers all in an effort to "get the truth" would that also have been acceptable? After all, there have been no other 9/11's since.

    We fight over oil and religion while the planet warms. Our time is short.

  55. Too bad you don’t have a crystal ball. If you think that it can’t happen again, you sadly miscalculate the memories of those who survive our brutality in the Middle East.

  56. @Ed: just bc attacs following "9/11"
    have not followed the exact same pattern
    does not mean there have not been any.

    my gov't., sadly enough, has agreed to violate its own
    constitution + int'l. law by helping countless US drones
    manage the earth's curvature on their way toward the
    muslim world: 23,000 thrown on 6 countries in 1 year.

    this, among others,
    is one way to breed more anti-US | anti-west sentiment.

  57. In the fullness of time, so long as there is anyone alive who participated in torture of other humans under the authority of our government, these secrets will come to light. Just like the swarm of elementary particles racing from collisions of energetic atoms studied by physicists, we all leave traces behind. The traces exist even if we would will them out of existence.

    Ours is an imperfect species, but one capable of stuttering change, wandering between the mountain tops and the chasms, the Nuremberg Trials and the CIA's enhanced interrogations.

    "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    We can work for change and hope to speed it but we cannot compel it to happen when we pass through a maelstrom of chaos from external forces like 9/11 or internal forces like the willful destruction of norms brought to us now by greed and lust for power.

  58. @Douglas McNeill The thing is that the arc is longer than the perpetrators’ lives.

  59. What I always find interesting is that the CIA traces 9/11 and other events to Saudi's and yet GW Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld and the US Congress seem to ok the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. So the US has effectively destroyed the MiddleEast for the actions of Saudi Nationals. It made no sense to declare war on millions for the actions of a few Saudi's. This is the abysmal failure of US foreign policy. There did not need to be a War on Terror. There needed to be a surgical approach to deal with an issue that was caused by US failed foreign policy in the first place. The US will never be successful in Afghanistan, joint both the British and Russians as failed military excursions into Afghanistan. The US is going to pay for this failed war on terror for years to come. It is destroying the fabric of US society and the lives of the military who have paid for this war while the politicians go on there merry way, not having to truly face the consequences of their poor decisions, leaving that to future generations.

  60. @jeff bunkers

    It's not surprising. Saudis have OIL. We "need" that, so a gigantic blind eye is turned towards their culpability in the events leading up to / occurring on 9/11.

  61. @jeff bunkers

    The Saudis are now terrorizing the world chutney of Yemen with the full support and Mii kissy equipment of the USA. Half of the hospitals are destroyed, a million people have cholera,the last port where relief suppliers is being bombed, and they bombed a school bus full of children the other day.

    Saudi Arabia is the world's leading exporter of extreme, violent Islamic schools, and our "second most important ally in the Middle East.

    I am convinced that the corporate interests that control U.S. policy now supports international terrorism because it helps them sell constant warts around the world. And these wars are designed to expand their profits at the expense of the citizens of foreign countries, and at the expense of our troops.

  62. A dark chapter in American history.

    Torture has always occurred in this country on a non official or none sanctioned basis.

    This is the first time in our history that it became an official policy of our gov't.

    As Lincoln taught us punish only the worst re war crimes, crimes against humanity, don't start a witch hunt,

    The admitted war criminal Bush 2 should be standing in front of The Hague Tribunal in Belgium.

  63. @Paul In the past, the U.S. has outsourced torture.

  64. Before I deployed to Vietnam in 1967 I completed SERE survival, evasion, resistance, escape training. During that training I was water boarded, let no one be in doubt, it is torture.

  65. @Brendan Varley
    Thank you for your first hand account.

  66. @Brendan Varley Thank-you for your service and your courage. It is important to point out that "doctors" from the SERE school at Fairchild Airforce Base oversaw some of the CIA's torture.

  67. Gina Haspel is a perfect fit in Trump's autocractic Oligarchy. Children in cages, no health care or protective regulations for our citizens, polluted water, humans waterboarded...perfect fit.

  68. Ms. Haspel and the CIA have lost all their humanity.

  69. That's assuming they originally had any. And what message does this send to the rest of humanity when this woman torturer continues to advance after breaking international law. Is there no limit to their shame?

  70. “‘Woman’ torturer”?

    What’s your point?

  71. Why does the Times persist in using the phrase “enhanced interrogation” outside of quotation marks? This was a euphemism employed by the Bush administration for torture. Torture which is illegal and immoral and disturbingly fine with more than zero of the previous commenters. “Enhanced interrogation” without reference to the dishonesty of the phrase only does torturers’ work for them by normalizing and uncritically accepting bad faith. It is not a failure of objectivity to refer to torture as torture but it is a failure of integrity to use the unqualified euphemism of the torturers.

  72. “Enhanced interrogation techniques” (also translated as “sharpened interrogation”) was the Gestapo’s own euphemism for torture. That is the moral plane occupied by the CIA under George W. Bush.

  73. And the US Senate turned a blind eye to the Torturer in Chief now CIA Director.
    God bless America......

  74. Still wondering what pro torture folks are going to say when water boarding is used against Americans.
    Would it be torture then?

  75. @Dan
    They will be doing the torturing.

  76. Gina Haspell should be immiediately removed from her post at the CIA and delivered to the Hague for prosecution. These are war crimes, plain and simple. She knew. She condoned. She authorized. She's guilty.

  77. And so should those above her pay grade who ordered and knowingly condoned her action.

  78. This article sickened me. Man’s basic inhumanity to man. It is a sad sight indeed when the limbic system overtakes the neo cortex.

  79. It's a shame that Bush, Cheney et al were never head responsible for their war crimes.

    The CIA has a long history of aberrant, horrific behaviour and should be disbanded.

  80. @todji

    Republicans spent 8 years on White Water and 8 years on Benghazi, but Democrats gave the Bush administration a pass for their crimes.

    Centrist Democrats made Trump possible.

  81. Careerists at work. I remember an interview with Geoge Tenet where he essentially said he would do anything to keep his job.

  82. @Carol lee “Slam Dunk” Tenet!! He wears his Presidential Medal of Freedom when grocery shopping. With flip flops.Things can get snippy when he rounds the end of an aisle and there, in a Hawaiian shirt and cargo pants, is Colin Powell.

  83. Americans can never again claim to hold the moral high ground when evidence such as this proves to the contrary. Disgraceful and shameful behavior from the highest ranks.

  84. Its good to remember during the time of Trump when we have supposedly lost our moral compass and the Constitution no longer protects us that the Bush/Cheney team was well on the way to authoritarian measures.

    Trump is horrible, he may be our worse president ever. His policies like leaving the Paris accords and destroying the EPA will have a lasting legacy. Caging little children to punish brown skinned mothers is one of the most reprehensible acts this government has taken in years. The list goes on and it is huge.

    But yet there is Bush who also lied (or was deceived?) Lies that killed and maimed thousands of our troops and hundreds of thousands of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. Isis is his ever lasting gift to the world. Trump has a long way to go to catch up to Bush in the killing department.

    While this time with the Mueller investigation and Trump's willingness to be controlled by Russia seems out of place we need to remember that the 8 years of Bush was also out of control. They were establishment so it just looked more "institutional". Mission accomplished.

    I have been a volunteer with a torture survivor NGO for many years. Torture is never acceptable and it does serious damage. For those tempted to think that some deserve to be tortured it is important to be aware that a government that turns to torture of the guilty immediately begins to torture the innocent. It dehumanizes.

    Haspel should resign.

  85. @Duffy Trump was elected because Bush didn’t go far enough as far as the Right is concerned. Obama’s corrections could not be allowed to stand as they represent to the Right the end of “white” cultural hegemony (which they would care to understand as *not* white supremacy, but that is just a “white lie they tell themselves.”)
    It is impossible for equality to be achieved when a majority sees it as an existential threat.

  86. A simpler way to assess people is to ask them for their views on death penalty.

    I would be very surprised to learn that anyone around Trump is against it.

  87. The late Christopher Hitchens, while he was still employed by Vanity Fair, purposely underwent waterboarding in order to find out for himself whether or not the process qualified as ‘torture’, which Hitchens himself doubted prior to the experience.

    It took less than ten seconds for his mind to be changed. Torture is not an effective method of extracting information.

  88. Another shining example of a Trump bottom feeder. She's now well placed to deal with protesting and recalcitrant Americans that criticize and cross his holiness, the president. Journalists should be wary.

  89. You would call me a liberal. And I can't stand the thief, liar, coward and pervert Trump. I also think torture is probably ineffective most of the time. All that said, there are isolated occasions when the use of force is justified. Most if not all the people reading this paper are here today because of the force this country applied in WWII. Direct beneficiaries. We can have this argument at the coffee shop, but it's all academic until people start dying.

  90. We tried Germans and Japanese as war criminals for waterboarding POWs. Don't forget that

  91. “The CIA had no experience or expertise in interrogation”. Then why was the agency tasked with this when there were others who had both the experience and the expertise? After all the knowledge that torture was an ineffective method to gather accurate information was already known elsewhere. The claim that their methods were both harsh & effective has been consistently refuted yet the apologists for the agency and officials behind the “torture” policies continue to claim otherwise. Another Bush administration failure that continues to haunt us to this day.

  92. @John Chastain

    The CIA also outsourced torture. Individuals from Arab countries were caught by the CIA in Europe, drugged and transported for torturing in eg. Egypt, Libya and other client countries. Some of these cases where innocents were tortured have been described in the Eurpoean press..

  93. And trump believes “torture works.”
    As an American, as a human, I am disgusted.
    Even IF torture “works” it is always an abomination.
    Is there any more evidence people need to determine that trump is a fascist? Leading a fascist, white nationalist movement?

  94. This is why all of our chickens have come home roost. It’s unconscionable that no one at the CIA has ever been held accountable for their heinous conduct. And now one of the most notorious torturers has been promoted to lead this tainted intelligence agency. Only in America.

  95. @Zareen

    "Only in America"? You really believe that?

  96. Nothing like a bit of Sunshine to disinfect the CIA operatives who think they can act with impunity.

    We are NOT a third world country. If you think that these actions are "acceptable" you can't, in any sense of the word, refer to yourself as a "patriot".

  97. I agree, and it is my opinion that since the actions taken by this group violated the Geneva Convention, they should be brought to justice and tried for war crimes. Never should we allow ourselves to sink to this level again.

  98. Besides Defense Secretary Mattis, is there anyone serving Trump who isn’t a terrible person?

  99. Arrest her, arrest her now. Gina Haspel lied to Congress, she lied to the American people. She is unfit to serve as the director of the CIA. I see evil in her face, derangement, moral decay.

  100. The Senate Intel Committee "torture report" was a partisan hit job. Not one person from the CIA, the Counterterrorism Center--which oversaw and ran the interrogation program--or the people who did the interrogations was ever interviewed by the senate committee. So big deal, Al Nashiri, who bombed a billion dollar Navy ship, killing 17 sailors, got water splashed on him, his head shaved, and called a sissy. Thank you, CIA interrogators.

  101. Immediately after September 11, 2001 the nation was shocked and afraid. The CIA had little or no experience in extracting information from terrorists. We're not a perfect nation and one of that nature simply doesn't exist. Those in control of government at the time consisted of many that thought they knew the answer to information acquisition from people that killed innocents. Some still believe the interrogation used was moral and legal, including the idiot in the White House. The events of 9/11 were horrific and new and the agents tasked with protecting the nation under unimaginable pressure did what they did not with joy and lust for torture but because there was no real policy in place, other than decisions made by an inept administration. I believe Haspel when she says it was a bad decision. I doubt she'd do it again. We should all remember a CIA field operative, never even recognized by their own government and operating in extremely different conditions, tasked with protecting the nation are people who make mistakes. I'm not going to throw an entire agency under the bus for the mistakes or misguided policies of an administration that probably should have never existed given the nature of how they even came to be. It was NOT the CIA who crashed civilian air liners into those buildings that day. We learn as we go in our attempts to make a more perfect union and some bad judgment calls have to be corrected along the way.

  102. @Robert Westwind
    “The CIA had little or no experience in extracting information from terrorists.”
    Please don’t be naive. Have you never heard about the Phoenix Program the CIA conducted in Vietnam? Never heard or read about CIA support for death squads in South America such as Pinochet’s in Chile? What about the terrorist “Contras” in Nicaragua? And don’t forget the MKUltra program. The US is the world’s worst violator of human rights around the globe and has been since the creation of the CIA after WWII. No other nation even comes close. When it comes to undermining, subverting, overthrowing, and invading other countries around the globe the US has no peer competitors. We are the evil empire.

  103. @Robert Westwind Then again, the CIA wasn't born yesterday. They have had decades to contemplate the ethics, use and utility of torture. It has to have been an ongoing conversation, and they most certainly had to have policies and practices in place regarding its use or non use. To be unprepared would have been a betrayal of the public trust. So, I'm sorry, but it is ridiculous to imagine a CIA operative standing there saying "which way does the board go" when confronted with the task of waterboarding a prisoner. In addition, the government had full warning of the impending assault of 9/11, but chose to ignore it. That is the real war crime. 3,000 plus civilians lost their lives due to the criminal incompetence of the GW Bush Administration. And then Bush et al. threw the CIA under the bus. 'Do our dirty work and then we'll blame you for it.' By all means, let's honor the work these agents do with no thanks or recognition. Let's also acknowledge the scars they bear for being forced to inflict pain and misery on other people. However, let's also not pretend that none of them was ready and quite willing to do so.

  104. @Robert Westwind You ignore the fact they straight up violated our own laws and treaties with the torture plan. So, as they say, ignorance of the law is no excuse, and those participating from the president on down should have been prosecuted.

    us army 1969-1971/california jd

  105. I don't have a problem with water boarding.

    They water boarded that Khalid Sheik Mohamed terrorist over 180 times and got vital information out of him. He's in jail now, no worse for wear.

  106. His torturers are the "worse for wear": they have indulged in their lust to become subhuman moral trash.

  107. @MIKEinNYC
    No. The only thing vital they got out of these folks was their life or mental health. They did not get any vital intelligence from anyone of their victims most of whom were entirely innocent of any crime.

  108. @MIKEinNYC The Senate Intelligence Report does not match your conclusion that the actionable intelligence was obtained. You might want to check your source.

    us army 1969-1971/california jd

  109. But for the Republicans, Haspel should have never been confirmed.

  110. @Debbie

    But for five Democrats that also bored for her....

  111. So far, compared with Bush and his thugs, who left hundreds of thousands of civilians dead, and counting, Trump is a silly clown putting on an act, while Wall Street and himself cash in.

  112. @Pablo Fischer

    Trump is more than capable of torturing Americans.
    Don't underestimate Trump's cruelty.

  113. The tragic events surrounding the war that Ms. Haskell participated arise predictably I would suggest when the popular vote is overly manipulated and/or ignored; consider the arc of history since Al Gore's presidency and how the will of the American people was stolen by morally bankrupt, political handlers running violent mobs in Florida.

    Americans did not have any interest in Iraq, but the bankers and GOP senior patrons wanted the oil money; so they lied. But it was not a small lie, and certainly not a lie intended to help the people in the USA. That war cost a lot of American lives, physically in Iraq and emotionally in the U.S...

    Now, let's contemplate the current president and the same old GOP doing the same old routine to make America a bigger, badder, richer, a far more self-righteous empire, but with more racism, conflict and fear...And while we're at it, let's contemplate an arms war in space.

    Has there ever been a good or just war; clearly, avoid war. So someone tell the Republicans to stop threatening war every month, esp against our allies, as does the current political model of the Trump&co.

    The waning years of an empire, know panic and confusion, perhaps politicians cannot act any differently in times like these. But the people can...American people are stepping up and will lead if given a chance, if given a fair election.

  114. How nice that Trump chose and the GOP rubber-stamped Haspel to head the CIA. I have lots of doubts about how she will handle her job. Trump wants to start using torture again. It makes real sense in his mind to put a woman in charge of the CIA who obviously has experience with and an affinity for it. Aren't we lucky...

  115. @Meg

    Five Democrats voted for her too.

    Democrats that vote with Republicans are not reasonable. They are traitors to the People and he Constitution.

  116. Waterboarding is torture. The Senate should never have confirmed Haspell and the International Court of Justice at the Hague should issue a worldwide warrant for her extradition or arrest on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

  117. She was nominated precisely because of her infamous conduct. She was confirmed by passivity and casuistry in the Senate of the United States, conduct especially infamous for lacking her excuse of being in a rush. That is the history made now, every day, by this government.

  118. Apart from continuing the Times' unaccountable practice of employing CIA advertising slogans ("enhanced interrogation program") as factual descriptions of practices it acknowledges are torture, the authors of this piece make a startling unsupported assumption.

    They claim that "the excesses and missteps that surrounded the C.I.A. enhanced interrogation program occurred in large measure because the agency had no experience or expertise in interrogation".

    In fact, the glee and enthusiasm with which Dick Cheney and GWB spoke of this "program", and the resistance in the WH to discontinuing the torture in the case reported here, suggests more than poor information.

    You could that incompetence, but there are stronger words for people with these inclinations.

  119. Gina Haspel is an unremovable stain on our country's (former) honor. She, and other Republicans who implemented, knew of, and/or supported various forms of torture under George W. Bush should be driven out of town on a rail, not put/kept in positions of power.

  120. @ALB
    IMO that applies to all republicans period. Every single one of them abdicated their duty as citizens before the end of the first reagan admin.

  121. @ALB she is a stain and the democrats that voted for her confirmation . They all need to go

  122. Haspel should be removed for lying under oath. There is no recourse. The article even says that the CIA had no experience with interrogation metods.
    Torture turns the torturer into a monster sadist and doesn't get good information. The victim will say anything for it to stop.
    Torture is never, ever indicated - except as revenge against an adversary and pain deliberately inflected on another human being. It is totally infective.

  123. Imagine if such action had been taken against an American prisoner. What would the United States government have done? What is our guiding philosophy:
    1. All's fair in love and war?
    2. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?
    3. International laws apply to everyone but us?

  124. @Tom Q
    I am against torture. In response to the question of what the USA would do if these actions were taken against an american prisoner. They cut their heads off our citizens.

  125. @Tom Q
    Nope it was- "Imagine the worst thing you can possibly imagine. Got it? OK now act as if it was real.
    They basically kept asking some version of an apocalyptic question like "What if there was a nuclear bomb in downtown DC or NY or LA and this guy knew??? and no one had the sense to point out that if they knew he knew they could also know where it was by the same method or that they were inventing terrifying fantasies to justify doing what they knew was wrong.

  126. We all know it's torture. NYT, why do you continually use euphemisms instead of the REAL words, it's not enhanced interrogation technique, it's TORTURE!!

    And the American Psychological Association just this week tried to ram through another change to their long standing policy of NO psychologists at illegal black ops sites spearheaded by the military psychologists in the organization. Luckily sensible ethical and hardworking psychologists and human rights organizations have been fighting this move multiple times for years, and persevered. Again. Psychologists should NEVER be involved in torture. It explodes our first ethical principle. First do no harm. There is NO grey area in this.

    We all knew Haspel was involved, and a horrible choice, and yet this unethical hateful cruel xenophobic "administration" rammed another appointment through that is anti human being and unethical and immoral.

    The whole crew sickens me to my core. Resist and persist! Democrats elected in EVERY race no matter how local or small!!!!

  127. @Anonymous
    Five Democrats voted for Haspel.

    Not every Democrat deserves our votes. Voting for Democrats that support Republican policy helps Republicans more than it helps us.

  128. @McGloin: Sorry, one bad vote does not a bad senator make. Bill Nelson is a good senator for Florida on the whole. The lousy excuse for a human being running against him, Rick Scott, deserves to be in prison for the way his medical company cheated taxpayers out of their money. On top of that, he is as amoral as they come, a self-identified "religious" man who would be one of the first to spurn and decry the real Jesus Christ for being a radical socialist for his stance on taking care of the poor and unfortunate.

    Bill Nelson tops Rick Scott in every possible way, and Florida would be insane to replace him with such a terrible man.

  129. For what it's worth, the leadership at the APA was complicit in the torture program so they could continue their relationship with the DoD (the AMA and American Psychiatry Association both condemned the program from the start). When everything was dragged into the light, all those people simply walked away and faced virtually no repurcussions for their support

  130. Very disturbing to me that in our so-called 'democracy' of 'principles' none of these people has been punished or prosecuted for conducting torture.
    The psychologists should have lost their practice, and Yoo and Bush should both be in jail as war criminals.

  131. @dmckj

    Perhaps the fact that even you recognize it as a "so-called democracy" is exactly why you should not be surprised, or shocked. Oddly, of course this country's leaders have principles,but perhaps not many, if any, shared by you.

  132. @dmckj Remember Yoo's took a professorship at Berkley, probably teaching ethics LOL, and his cohort Bybee was appointed a Federal appeal court judge. Both richly rewarded for their lack of principles.

    us army 1969-1971/caifornia jd

  133. Such is life in an inmate-run madhouse.

  134. Gina should never have been confirmed. Anyone like her
    "I was only following orders" Is not the type of person we
    want in charge of the CIA. The "only following orders"
    defense has been throughly examined in the trials of Nazi
    war criminals and found wanting.We don't need people
    like her that are incapable of recognizing things that are
    not right in an government organization.She said that torture
    should never have been used.Then why did she let it be used
    when she knew it was wrong?

  135. The banality of evil again assumes power.

  136. Ms. Haspel and Bush and those responsible for the torture should spend the rest of their lives in prison.

  137. These Democrats voted for a known torturer, Gina Haspel, to be CIA Director.

    Senator Joe Donnelly, of Indiana
    Senator Heidi Heitkamp, of North Dakota
    Senator Joe Manchin, of West Virginia
    Senator Bill Nelson, of Florida
    Senator Jeanne Shaheen, of New Hampshire
    Senator Mark Warner, of Virginia.

    This is an example of how "centrist" Democrats get more done for Republicans and their twisted, violent view of the world than they do for American workers.

    Torture is illegal and immoral. The U.S. prosecuted Japanese commanders for waterboarding after WWII. The Obama administration should have prosecuted everyone who was involved in it.
    Now we have a Republican president who is capable of torturing American citizens, just as a Chief of Police in Chicago used to do.

    By supporting Trump 90% of the Republican Party show that they are for lying, bullying, white supremacists, and torture.
    When Democrats compromise with them, Republicans don't move to the center, they become more extreme. 25 years of begging Republican for compromise and helping them pass bad legislation and confirm bad nominees, doesn't mean that they don't call you socialists or investigate fake scandals for years, or that they vote for good legislation.
    It just means that they treat you like suckers and elected Trump.

    Any vote for a Trump nominee is s vote for ripping up the Constitution of the United States of America. Compromising with Republicans helps them shred the Constitution!

  138. The 17 Americans who were killed in the Cole bombing probably did not suffer but some likely died painfully. Why is Nashiri still alive? Gina Haspel should be given a medal.

  139. Why the shock? Did we think we were getting Nelson Mandela to run the agency when the Senate confirmed?
    Haspel was the key element in the torture doctrine of war criminal Bush 43. She had the option to say no, resign quietly, or blow the whistle. She took the reins and just followed orders. How much pushback will the CIA provide under the current occupant?
    The best we can wish for now will be a new release of soothing euphemisms for thumbscrews.

  140. The "Queen of Torture" has risen to the very top. Who said crime does not pay?

  141. What happened to “al Qaeda” — the use of just “Qaeda” seems out of order?

    - concerned editor

  142. What we just read was a description of dozens if not hundreds even thousands of our fellow citizens using the Constitution for toilet paper. Ms Haspel is a traitor. We have a traitor running the CIA.
    There is nothing about any part of what went on that any one of them could not have stopped cold by simply doing their duty as an American Citizen or even just as a human being to refuse to carry out these illegal orders.
    Every member of the W administration is a war criminal including the current illegitimate nominee for the SCOTUS.

    Our nation is one of ideals. There is no stone version of this nation that can be protected. We either stand up for the principles of which that ideal is made or we lose it.

  143. Let's start at the top on accountability: Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld,Powell, Rice: Lawyers Gonzales, Haynes, Yoo, Bybee and then democrats for giving a thumbs-up to Haspel to head the CIA!

  144. Gina Haspel; another great Trump pick. Corruption runs rampant in Trumpworld. Vote out GOP for change. Ray Sipe

  145. Does it not occur to us that we create more haters by our methods? Our behaviors recruit terrorists. And they include the next generations.

  146. @geebee

    And our behavior creates our own home-grown terrorists: the torturers.

  147. The only person who deserves to “suffer the consequences of their deception” is Trump. Since the US is using this tactic already, time to have Mueller start using “the water treatment”.

  148. @Corbin, as vile as Trump and his band of amateur Fascists are, if we stoop to revenge we lose. They win.

    In due process lies our salvation.

  149. I am ashamed of our country after reading this and want to know why we held no one accountable for these atrocities.

  150. @WalterZ ask obama. probably his most monumental failure. that, and letting the bankers walk.

  151. Because of self serving politicians and a false sense of power.

  152. In a situation where someone is associated with a group plotting mass murder against innocent civilians in this country or any country for that matter, I have no problem with the United States using the tactics outlined here. I have yet to hear of a situation that was truly torture. This is inducing stress and threatening them. Simulating drowning. Torture was what happened to soldiers and spies during Vietnam and the world wars. Torture was what Saddam Hussein did to his political prisoners with battery acid or with car batteries attached to body parts. This "water treatment" should not be used on every prisoner, but in the face of an imminent mass murder 9/11 scale attack, we would be irresponsible to tie the hands of those in a position to prevent it. I believe we should be better than those that would seek to murder us, but we should not fight with both hands tied behind our backs.

  153. Quibbling over semantics is blowing wind. By using torture you become part of what the enemy stands for and erase any other difference. If you use enemy depravity to defeat the enemy, you become the same as the enemy. Besides, it has been shown that torture doesn't work. People under torture will say anything to get it to stop. Information obtained under torture is unreliable.

  154. @Mark Torture, or whatever you think happened (how is simulating drowning not torture?) should be opposed on moral grounds and practical grounds. Morally because it is reprehensible. Practically because people who are tortured tell you what they think you want to hear because they want the torture to stop. The information is unreliable. This was demonstrated in these cases and has been demonstrated in a number of instances when Americans weren't the perpetrators. It just doesn't work.

  155. @Mark Just to clarify my comment, anyone that is involved in a 9/11 level mass murder terror attack on this country or where innocent civilians are present, deserve to be executed. If they are tortured before they are executed I have absolutely no issue with that. I watched the 2nd plane fly into the trade center live on TV. Since that day I have seen it a thousand times in the media. Its still shocking that one event did so much to change so many lives and take so many innocent people from their loved ones. Those that plan that are unworthy of our compassion. They are unworthy to be in society with love and compassion and all the good things that we are capable of as humans. Is torture a good thing? No. Absolutely not. Is it how we should interrogate people in society? No. If we have a terrorist with time sensitive information of the magnitude of 9/11 should we torture them to save lives? I say we should save lives.

  156. Click through and read the cables. It's much worse than even the article shows. Note the many times they applied "the walling technique," which is slamming the detainee against a wall, in addition to "the water technique," waterboarding. All this was clearly and explicitly forbidden by the Geneva conventions, without exception, but Bush's hack lawyers, including Bybee and Yoo, tried to give it legal cover.

    On top of that, we've known for years that torture tends to get suspects to say what they think interrogators want to hear, not the truth. After all, these techniques were recommended to the CIA by Drs. Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell, who were paid over $80M of our tax dollars to repackage torture techniques used by North Korea to extract false confessions from American POW's.

    Notice the combination of gross disregard for law and morality and gross incompetence: trademarks of the Trump Administration, too. So it's no surprise they'll, for example, torment and terrorize parents by abducting their children.

  157. @Jeremy

    Since you read actual documents, you probably already know this, but Thomas Blanton and the National Security Archives at George Washington University do amazing work declassifying government documents so that we can know what our government is doing.

  158. The reality is most people don't care one bit whether the CIA tortured Al Qaeda terrorists. If the CIA got information out of them, so much the better. But even if they didn't, many people will view the torture as a well-deserved form of punishment for evil criminals. They may not admit it, since the preferred form of communication is virtue signaling, but that's just the reality.

  159. @JB, the reality is neither you nor Gina Haspel know whether the people she tortured were evil criminals. Haspel tortured them because it was a convenient and she was afraid.
    Maybe you’ll be subjected to torture some day when you’re at someone else’s mercy, and they’re afraid. I hope not, but unfortunately that kind of thing tends to come around.

  160. @JB

    "most people don't care"...the canard of the apologist; like: "everyone steals"; "everyone does it"...I do not believe that most people don't care; but even if true, it is no argument...

  161. The actions of this country in response to 9/11 have destroyed every drop of sympathy and goodwill expressed by the world community over the shocking and tragic attack. We have shown cowardice and lack of faith in the strength of our ideals and institutions and a squandering of treasure, human treasure by our outrageous beyond the pale reaction. We are still at war and threatening the world with more. There were a few in the world who celebrated 9/11, but a tiny minority. Today there will be very few to cry for us when this self- inflicted disaster comes to fruition.

  162. The US is still chasing the living to punish the renegades who died conducting the 9/11 attack.

  163. In removing any reference to human rights in determining the foreign policy of the United States, Trump has the distinction of being the most truthful president in modern history. Unfortunately.

  164. One can only conclude that Gina Haspel, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is a vile human being, who continues to be untruthful in her public testimony about the torture of captured Al Qaeda members. Her action were and are indefensible, and should shock the conscious of anyone not wholly amoral. That she should still be a position of power and responsibility is vulgar.

    Americans would have been rightly indignant if the Germans or Japanese installed someone into a position of power who had tortured servicemen during World War II, and I think Americans should be equally repulsed to do so themselves.

  165. No current or former U.S. officials have been indicted for approving or participating in torture. But those who were responsible should be held accountable, including George W. Bush.

  166. It won't belong before these so-called enhanced interrogation techniques are used on Americans (i.e. your family) by the militarized police in our surveillance-Police State.

    The 2018 FISA under Trump was not only extended, but greatly expanded. It is “a bill to give the Trump administration greater authority to spy on Americans, immigrants, journalists, dissidents and everyone else” (as described by the ACLU).

    The carte blanche to fight terrorism everywhere (entirely caused by our State Terrorism) includes your home.

    Your movements (via cameras) and communications (via secret mass data collection exposed by Snowden (who was vilified for his courageous act)) are stored along with your metadata.

    You don't feel it, but it's happening right now.

    Everyone - and every family - has a Risk Score. What's yours?
    If you're not close to the torture score, you're one of them.

  167. The redacted cable is sickening to read. As they say, history is written by the winners, and that's why none of our people are being prosecuted for these horrendous war crimes.

  168. There are thousands upon thousands of hard-working, dedicated civil servants employed by the US government working hard to deliver necessary services and keep our country working while our elected and appointed political office holders have become almost worthless. They lack integrity and courage. They make decisions based on fear or self-interest. If they are not removed from office our deeply-flawed democracy will collapse altogether.

    Who will rid us of these turbulent priests? That responsibility lies directly in the hands of every eligible voter in the country.

  169. "Agency leaders and officers were racing to uncover what they feared were large-scale plots against the United States in the chaotic months and years after the Sept. 11 attacks."

    9/11 was an unprecedented event with which we had no experience. Our fears were real. We did not dismember, decapitate or throw anyone off a building. The methods used by our government may have been extreme but faced with similar circumstances I would not condemn the use of them again.

  170. @TED338

    1. These method have been proven to not work, they just help interrogators deal with their feelings of distress and act out their need for revenge.

    2. Dismembering, decapitation and throwing people off a building are tactics used by terrorists because their goal is to terrorize an entire population, knowing that there are too few of them to be able to get into a military conflict with a government and win. Governments have a powerful military and police, so they don't need spectacular and horrible acts in order to make people afraid of them, THAT's why they don't do this - not out of one or the other higher moral standard.

  171. @TED338

    My father was an Allied airman who was captured and tortured by the SS. My whole family is still paying for that torture.

    Sometimes you have to fight with a 'disadvantage'--like refusing to use torture--because it's the right thing to do. If you don't, you've lost what you were fighting for.

  172. @TED338
    SImple tell to know they knew they were wrong aside from the obviousness of the fact that you can never make torture legal. They acted out of fear instead of reason. They, these adult men and women allowed fear to drive their imaginations into creating all sorts of terrifying possible situations then acted upon them as if they were real.
    Adults who are fully responsible for their actions did that. Little clue they knew it was wrong to act on fear, the fear talk was to sway less sophisticated folks into thinking it was OK.
    W and Cheney and Yoo & the rest knew they were wrong. They knew it was impossible to legalize torture or reclassify an act of torture as not torture. They simply wanted to do this so they could feel powerful and terrorize a population of nonwhite nonchristian people they are terrified of because they have never internalized the principles of the concepts of this nation.

  173. If you're just now thinking "are we the bad guys?" you have not been paying attention to last few decades.

  174. Hindsight is always 20-20. Those who say CIA leadership or operatives should be prosecuted for torture should read the "torture memos" that justified the use of waterboarding. Waterboarding was justified based on the fact that the US military waterboarded its own soldiers, sailors, and airmen as part of SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) training. If waterboarding is defined as torture, then the US is duty bound to prosecute all the SERE instructors who engaged in waterboarding over the past half century. The fact that the individuals who were waterboarded were volunteers makes no difference because, by law, it's torture even if consent is given.

    It's also important to note that things likely wouldn't have been different if Al Gore had been president. It was Gore who supported the extraordinary rendition of a suspected terrorist, even saying "Of course it violates international law, that's why it's covert." We can have a discussion about whether the enhanced interrogation techniques were appropriate or effective but let's give up on the allegations of criminality.

  175. @J. Waddell

    source for the Gore quote?

  176. A lot of comments are decrying America's lost of our "high moral ground".

    Being able to claim the high moral ground has always been a bit over rated.

  177. The moral: bring shame to the US and you will be richly rewarded by the US government.

  178. @Max duPont Almost. I'd put it a little differently: You can get away with anything, no matter how depraved, destructive, or dysfunctional, if you do it in the name of defending the country. Ask Dick Cheney.

  179. The press must not legitimize a torture program by referring to it in the torturers’ own euphemisms: “...the C.I.A. enhanced interrogation program...” If the press must use those words it should be done thusly “so-called ‘enhanced interrogation program’.” But it should be called “torture.”

    This also applies to the genocide that despots are perpetrating. For the press to repeat their phrase “ethnic cleansing,” instead of calling the crime genocide, legitimizes the term, in part because we have all been taught by birth that cleansing is good.

  180. The description of the CIA's walling technique herein does not really capture its cruelty.

    What is "walling"?

    People are not "shoved" against the wall. This article apparently uses the CIA's own watered down term of "shoved."

    Detainees are not "shoved." They are slammed violently.

    According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, as reported by detainees, the CIA's technique involved encircling a person's neck with a collar and the collar is used to slam the person against the wall.

    This is criminal torture.

    Please, New York Times, do not sugar-coat what happens.

    By parroting government terms, like "shove," "walling technique," and "watering technique" you do your readers an injustice.

    Walling is collaring a person like a dog and slamming them against walls via the collar.

    Report, but do it boldly, and unvarnished. Please. In very real ways, our democracy depends upon it.

  181. @Tony Glover

    I read the NY Times because it has the most lines to read between.

    But the NY Times is part of the global corporate media that pushes corporate interests above the national interest.

    They are not liberal media. They are neoliberal media.

    The is little difference between neoliberals and neocons. Remember this when you read the Times.

  182. The question really should be whether Ms.Haspel performed within the bounds of the law as laid out by the congress. It’s very easy for politicians to push the law enforcement agencies under the bus and not take any responsibility for the fact that they did look the other way when these practices were going on. The Obama justice department concurred with Bush’s that these practices of enhanced interrogation were not illegal. So why throw dirt on Haspel now. Hold the intelligence oversight committees and justice department accountable. Not the guy at the end of the line charged with executing the policies that look bad with the perspective of hindsight.

  183. @Abacus the person at the end of the line has a moral responsibility too

  184. @Abacus "The memos included an August 2002 legal opinion signed by top Justice Department lawyer Jay Bybee that provided the specific authorization for waterboarding that the CIA would use against three detainees -- Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri -- in 2002 and 2003."
    The investigation concluded that no charges would be forthcoming. They did not say they were legal.

  185. @Abacus Yeah, she was only following orders. We've heard that defense before and it didn't work then.

  186. Waterboarding is not torture. It's an interrogation technique and it is used in the training of special forces warriors. Torture is what Hezbollah and Iranian operatives did to CIA station chief Bill Buckley in Beirut in the 80s. If you read accounts of what they did to him, your skin will crawl.

    Buckley's torture also proves that torture works. It is nothing but a politically correct, bald-faced lie to argue otherwise. They extracted over 300 names as well as an enormous cache of secrets from him.

  187. Dougal E- Waterboarding is torture. There's no question about that in any part of the civilized world.

  188. Excellent work by Gina and her troops. We are at war and it is not a conventional war. We must act accordingly.

  189. @Brewster Millions In other words, stupidly. Torture doesn't produce intelligence, but it does produce more warriors for the other side.

    And by the say, have you signed up for the battle lines, tough guy?

  190. @Brewster Millions In other words, we must stoop to the level of our enemies, taking their worst behavior as our moral exemplar? No, no, no.

    And you can't say we need to do it because nothing else will save us. Because torture didn't save us. It did not gain intelligence that thwarted attacks, but it did serve to outrage not only our enemies but those who were on the fence, and was great for insurgent recruiting in Iraq, for example. The blowback killed Americans.

  191. Yes Sir. Three tours, plus several years at an agency in D.C.

    How about you, sir?

  192. While Republicans rant at Pelosi's imaginary malfeasance, Haspel and her associates are actual war criminals. Democrats say nothing. It is not enough to say that history will judge her. The Democrats have to make history and if they take power, indict her.

  193. There is nothing wrong with "water boarding" when it is used against our enemies to save the lives of our fellow American citizens. America first and America always.

  194. @BC
    But if applied by THEM against US?

  195. @BC You ignore the fact that torture violates America'a own laws, as well as our treaties and international agreements. Torture was illegal. Finally you ignore the overwhelming evidence torture does not work, while friendship, empathy and sympathy do work in extracting actionable intelligence.

    us army 1969-1971/california jd

  196. @BC Was it fine when Japanese did it to Americans in WWII?

  197. If we can torture them then they can torture us. So why and what are we fighting for and against? What are our values in moral contrast to theirs? Why is this war criminal the head of the C.I.A.? Why werren't George W. Bush and members of his Cabinet and staff charged as war criminals for this torture and other acts? " No justice no peace".

  198. @Blackmamba Exactly right; where there is no justice no peace can be expected. The C.I.A. has a dark past throughout the world, even assisting murderous regimes when the 'threat' of Communism was raised, and causing untold suffering and killings, especially when U.S. interests were at risk. Machiavellian, the end justifying the means, right? And Haskel just a useful idiot doing as she was told?

  199. Gina Haspel's tenure at the CIA will likely not be one of the highlights of the agency's leadership history, nor of the Senate's sagacity in confirming her appointment by Trump.

    So far, Trump's picks requiring Senate confirmation have been uniformly second-rate and lower, the latter more often than the former. And the Senate has failed in fulfilling is constitutional responsibilities.

  200. @Glen Individuals of stature and quality have little interest in working for -- or being associated with -- the administration of the repulsive Mr. Trump.

  201. Water-boarding - the very same act for which the US executed Japanese officers after WW II as being war crimes.

    Enough said.

  202. @Dave
    But they were racist then so the morals they did have do not count.
    Well that's how the story of America's "real" values goes isn't it?
    Just like how racism infects society and it turns out that any community with a crime problem is largely the effect of fewer than a dozen bad actors, these crimes were committed by individuals who made a choice to do something that is against the principles of our nation and obviously wrong.
    Funny story we did not put the Japanese through the same amount of self examination and forced rehabilitation as we did the Germans due to prejudice based ignorance of how the "Japanese mind" worked.

  203. ...the CIA's waterboarding is probably de minimis compared to what the clandestine organization has done in the last few decades. It's operations were opaque and it sounds like the Agency's operatives did whatever they wanted to in order to achieve their goals. I never believed in the spy operation, and now I think they should close the entire organization. It's a waste of money and resources.

  204. The use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” was one of the charges leveled against the Gestapo during its trial after World War Two. It was convicted as a criminal organization, even though its defense attorney countered that the use of such techniques was rare, legal at the time, and always had to be approved by the proper authority.

  205. Torture is never acceptable for any reason. If our military personal were ever tortured, there would be a huge public outcry. Why would it be different for other countries?

  206. The confirmation of Haspel is just one of many indicators that we have a two-party duopoly that doesn't respect the rule of law, international treaties, or the need for ethical people of integrity in our government.
    The Democrats should vote en masse to reject every Trump nominee for any post, including judgeships.
    Dems should do hearings to reopen Haspel's past, and should use her terrible complicity as an example of Trump officials' lack of ethics and integrity.

  207. I thought it was established that it was only torture when Japanese did it to americans during ww2.

    when it americans do it....well enhanced interrogation is just fine.

    sort of like changing sugar crisp to golden crisp.

    sugar just disappeared with the new name.

  208. This is beyond obscene. Nothing, absolutely nothing justifies this type of behavior from any branch of our government. The people responsible should be tried for war crimes. Including Haspel.

  209. Trump has a strong track record of appointing women to positions of power. Conway, Omarosa, Hicks, Haspel, DeVos, etc. Is it Trump’s fault that conservative women can be equally disastrous as their male conservative counterparts? Give credit where credit is due.

  210. @CP

    As far as I know, he did so less often than Obama. So yes, let's give credit where credit is due ...

  211. We were assured that Doctors were present at every torture session. I want their names, now.

  212. The torturers often were the doctors, and ignored that bit about ethics

  213. The White House made the argument you need someone capable of being tough on terrorists to lead the CIA. Does that really mean has the ability to endorse torture and willingly violate the rule of law for expedience's sake? Remind me what separates the good guys from the bad guys again.

  214. @trudds
    Bad guys fly planes into buildings and burn innocent prisoners alive in cages

    Good guys waterboard the bad guys to extract information that can be used to stop them from flying planes into buildings and burning innocent prisoners alive in cages

    Hope that helps, Chief

  215. Lets us recall the horrible time of grief and uncertainty that blanket our country as we witnessed the horror of hijacked planes slamming into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. The horror of people leaping from the Towers to escape the raging inferno and chose death in another way. The evidence collected showing Al Qaeda plotting to use dirty bombs and primitive bio-warfare to attack our cities and schools. This was the reality of the moment. A time when all of us were wondering what new threat was to be unleashed upon us.
    The men and women in our military and intelligence services were tasked to prevent that future attack and find ways to destroy our enemy. Recall our enemy cared not about attacking only our military, but bragged about killing the families and children of all Americans. A new term came into our vocabulary: Asymmetric Warfare.
    We resorted to using methods to stop the killing of our people. It required methods that would break the dedicated terrorist and reveal those secrets that would keep us safe. Future attacks were thwarted and we eventually were able to find and kill Bin Ladin.
    I find it ironic that there are those, who obviously have not considered the flip side of this moral dilemma, who scream out to have those involved prosecuted for torturing the very terrorists willing to kill each and every one of us.
    I wonder if those apologists would be of such mind if their child or other loved one had been murdered on 9/11.

  216. @Mike "I wonder if those apologists would be of such mind if their child or other loved one had been murdered on 9/11."

    Yes, I would. Because I believe in justice, and I don't suffer from amnesia.

    You seem to have missed the part about how torture was ineffective. It did not thwart attacks. This is documented, it's in the CIA's report. And that's been known for centuries.

    There's nothing new or different about terrorism or asymmetric warfare. They are ancient. The US has experience with both going back to the 19th century at least. For example, just over a century ago the US waterboarded Filipinos (and massacred all the males over age 10!) to counter their asymmetric insurgency in the wake of the Spanish-American War. Those tactics were wrong then, and wrong now.

  217. This type of explanation ignores two realities: 1- the interrogators do not really know that the subject knows more than he is telling 2- there is and was no proof that all subjects that were tortured were guilty of anything. Some were later shown to have been incorrectly captured and arrested. In other words, at times we (our representatives) were torturing innocent people. I suspect you’d be more concerned if it were your relative or loved one that had been treated this way.

  218. @Mike

    One such "apologist" would point out, as this article does, that the "patriots" conducting these torture interrogations had no experience of the matter and no reason to think they knew what they were doing -- beyond seeing torture work on TV shows, like "24".

    If this is patriotism -- forgetting legality for a moment -- it's hard to distinguish from self-infatuation, criminal incompetence and war crimes.

    There's also such a thing as proportionality of response. When the U.S. kills civilians in other countries, Americans don't expect to be picked up off the street and tortured for information, even forgetting the multiple invasions we staged post 9/11, with civilian deaths in the hundreds of thousand and on false claims. Compare our 9/11 losses to what other countries endure on an annual basis, and our griefs may not grant special dispensation.

    The "we" of your post represents large numbers of people, including politicians, who not only lack basic moral principles, but routinely fail to act in the national interest and who don't know what they're doing. Trust them with preserving civilization, and we're all finished.

  219. Those on this comment section who support waterboarding must be cheering for the "bad" guys in movies. What is bad or good is relative. Germans saw the holocaust as a "cleansing" of their society. Germans in WWII did horrible things to their "enemies". If they had won, would we be cheering them when they separated kids from mothers and took them all to gas chambers? There are norms and ethics which we all as humans should follow. John McCain (a person who was tortured and who fought for our country) is strongly against torture and for a good reason. We Americans consider ourselves as good people, but are we really? We invade countries on false claims . We have interfered in other countries elections just so that a private US company can milk the resources of that country. Yes we do have tainted hands and yes it is us not so and so politician. In the end we elect and choose who is going to lead us and although I did not vote for W or Trump. I am well aware that they were and are my and our president. If we are the good guys then we should do what good guys do. Good guys do not torture!! As one great guy said: when someone slaps you on one cheek, you should turn the other cheek. I wish all his so called followers would listen in their hearts to this great guy.

  220. @Theni Good guys who end up dead because they abandoned their duty to protect us are - bad guys.

    It amazes me how you compare mass murder by Nazis to CIA treatment of a dog, yes. dog, who murdered our sailors.

  221. "The one thing we know about torture is that it was never designed in the first place to get at the actual truth of anything; it was designed in the darkest days of human history to produce false confessions in order to annihilate political and religious dissidents. And that is how it always works: it gets confessions regardless of their accuracy." Andrew Sullivan

    More appropriately: " ... to annihilate the humanity of those being tortured." Gina Haspel clearly has been complicit in torture. Her disavowal of it was pure expedience - nothing more than a convenient means of advancing her career. Her appointment was a signal to the world that this administration - and those who voted to confirm her - condone the inhumanity detailed in these cables.

  222. @Olenska

    and to annihilate the humanity of those who torture...

  223. I was in lower Manhattan when the planes struck the WTC. If it takes torture to protect the US congratulations to the interrogators. These terrorists are animals. They are not soldiers engaged in combat. If you saw people jumping from the WTC, to coin an old expression, you wouldn’t be a pleading heart.

  224. @MF

    It is ignorance to think that torture is protective of us; if we do not protect our humanity, there is nothing left to destroy.

  225. @MF

    Except that as this article shows once again, after it has been shown time and again for years already, that torture does NOT work.

    So the idea that IF it works we should do it, is not the topic of the debate here, you see?

  226. How a human being can do waterboarding? How one can be so cruel? Whatever you call it like Enhanced Interrogation Technique , you are trying to sugar coat Torture and it is extreme Torture. Secret Prison ? What is this? Is this a banana Republic? Do we have any constitution ? Or We are a lawless country and do not believe humanity. It is shame for USA.

  227. The very ideal of America is forever soiled by Ms. Haspel and the people behind these shameful torture practices.

  228. Refuse to feel any sympathy for the Islamic terrorists who were waterboarded to get them to divulge information. When you are dealing with fanatics who are willing to commit suicide to wreak death and destruction as they did on 9/11, any tactics to stop them are worth it. The high idealists commenting here would be the first to call for these same measures if one of their loved ones or friends was a victim of these terrorists.

  229. And if you get off in the process, so much the better!

  230. Precisely, Paul. There is only so much sympathy to go around...

  231. @paul

    In real life, nobody is asking for your sympathy.

    The moral value that is defended here is NOT turning the other cheek to the person that just hit you in the face.

    It is to not inflict any unnecessary harm, and as torture has been proven to provide NO reliable information at all, it simply inflicts unnecessary harm.

    If CIA agents feel a need for revenge, they should go in therapy, not start beating up prisoners. They're not paid to act out their frustration and (perfectly understandable) feelings, they are paid to reflect and defend the American Constitution and America's highest values, and to do so in a way that has been proven to work.

    THAT's why there's really no excuse for torturing prisoners.

  232. Too little, too late

  233. Who and where are we waterboarding now?
    What medal of freedom for meritorious service is being contemplated for the persons turning the screws and gouging the eyes for democracy?

  234. Extreme torture methods can be condoned if information can be obtained that the "enemy" is involved in a devastating terrorism action against the US and/or its allies.
    Who wants to be destroyed because it was morally wrong to apply extreme measures to obtain information that would allow the US to counter and stop such actions?

    The recent Ohio election results, where a small morally focused "Green Party" independent group may cause Democratic candidates to LOSE an election and allowed the right wing fascist Republicans to win.
    Talk about sheer stupidity!

    Same thing with torture.
    Stand on your principles and lose everything?
    Or win by stepping over the line?
    Do you want to survive?

  235. Except torture doesn’t produce information that is valid, people who are tortured will say whatever they think will make it stop.

  236. @Wilson Woods

    So where do you draw the line? Is there anything you would not do to survive? Anyone you would not betray?

    How about torturing someone's innocent family to death in front of them? I'll bet that could crack even the most hardened terrorist.

  237. This is another reminder that in every society and in every age there are people willing to cast aside traditional morality and rationalize the most despicable acts. We held Nazis responsible for their actions regardless of their assertions that they were protecting the Fatherland. We should not pretend that the case as hand is factually or ethically different. Only a fool believes that the United States cannot devolve into a rogue state.