Photo by Lawrence Jackson/AP
Former senior CIA officers have immediately hit back at an explosive Senate report released Tuesday that says the agency employed brutal interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists in the years after the 9/11 attacks and carried out an intelligence program that was largely mismanaged and mislead the public and lawmakers.Several former directors of the agency went live with the website CIA Saved Lives today in defense of the agency's actions during the government-authorized CIA Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation program, which was in operation from 2002 and 2006.
"At a time of grave threat to the United States the program was effective in saving American and allied lives and in preventing another mass casualty attack on American soil," read a statement from former CIA director George J. Tenet, who served as agency head between 1997 and 2004.Senate torture report finds the CIA was less effective and more brutal than anyone knew. Read more here.In introductory statements posted to the website, the former agents said that the long-awaited report released by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's (SSCI) democratic majority is not only, "biased, inaccurate, and destructive," but also damaging to national security and the truth.The senior officers added that the SSCI "'cherry-picked through 6 million pages of documents to produce an answer they knew the majority wanted."While the SSCI's 500 page summary of its four year investigation revealed that CIA interrogations performed on over 100 detainees "were not effective" and "far more brutal" than revealed to lawmakers and the general public, these assertions were vehemently denied on the former CIA agents' website.The CIA admitted that it spied on the US Senate. Read more here.The officers said that the agency had in fact briefed the House and SSCI on the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" used on al Qaida detainees almost immediately after they were authorized in 2002. These included the CIA's use of "attention grasp, walling, sleep deprivation, facial hold, abdominal slap, cramped confinement, wall standing, stress position, diapers, insects, and waterboarding," and that at these briefings, "None of the members [of the House] expressed any reservations or objections to the program."
The website further attacks the SSCI's report claiming "no one at the CIA was interviewed" as part of the $40 million investigation, which both lacked "context" and is strongly politicized."The report defies credulity by saying that the interrogation program did not produce any intelligence value," the former agents claim. "In fact, the program led to the capture of senior al Qaida leaders, including helping to find Usama bin Ladin [sic], and resulted in operations that led to the disruption of terrorist plots that saved thousands of American and allied lives."On the same day the Senate majority report was released, Republicans on the committee and the current CIA also released rebuttal reports opposing the findings of the study. The former agency officers recommended the American public read these critiques, "carefully before reaching any judgments."The Senate is not happy that the CIA censored its report on CIA torture. Read more here.Follow Liz Fields on Twitter: @lianzifields