U.S. News

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Report links CIA to military harsh interrogations

The brutal treatment of terror detainees and prisoners by members of the military followed directly from the CIA's use of harsh interrogation techniques, according to a Senate report that is likely to add fuel to the debate over the United States' use of torture.

The 232-page report released Tuesday by the Senate Armed Services Committee came less than a week after President Barack Obama released Bush-era memos that justified the use of harsh tactics by the CIA.

The report documents the Bush administration's growing reliance on harsh interrogations that began just two months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. It also ties those unyielding interrogation policies to the abuses of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. military authorities at the Abu Ghraib prison as well as to interrogations at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in Afghanistan.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said the report shows that abuse of terror detainees and combat prisoners was systematic.

"Authorizations of aggressive interrogation techniques by senior officials resulted in abuse and conveyed the message that physical pressures and degradation were appropriate treatment for detainees in U.S. military custody," Levin said.

The Senate investigation has been in a Pentagon security review since Nov. 21, 2008. Its findings were drawn from more than 70 interviews and 200,000 pages of classified and unclassified documents.

"In my judgment," Levin said, "the report represents a condemnation of both the Bush administration's interrogation policies and of senior administration officials who attempted to shift the blame for abuse such as that seen at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and Afghanistan to low-ranking soldiers."