MORE TORTURE DISCLOSURES ON THE WAY…. Revelations about the Bush administration’s torture policies have been quite informative of late, but there are reportedly still more on the way.
Government officials familiar with the CIA’s early interrogations say the most powerful evidence of apparent excesses is contained in the “top secret” May 7, 2004, inspector general report, based on more than 100 interviews, a review of the videotapes and 38,000 pages of documents. The full report remains closely held, although White House officials have told political allies that they intend to declassify it for public release when the debate quiets over last month’s release of the Justice Department’s interrogation memos.
According to excerpts included in those memos, the inspector general’s report concluded that interrogators initially used harsh techniques against some detainees who were not withholding information. Officials familiar with its contents said it also concluded that some of the techniques appeared to violate the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, ratified by the United States in 1994.
Although some useful information was produced, the report concluded that “it is difficult to determine conclusively whether interrogations have provided information critical to interdicting specific imminent attacks,” according to the Justice Department’s declassified summary of it.
Given the incessant complaints from some corners about torture having thwarted terrorist attacks and saving American lives, it would appear these additional revelations would only serve to undermine the right’s arguments further.
Greg Sargent, who found CIA and White House officials unwilling to knock down the Post‘s story, added, “Dem Congressional staffers tell me this report is the ‘holy grail,’ because it is expected to detail torture in unprecedented detail and to cast doubt on the claim that torture works — and its release will almost certainly trigger howls of protest from conservatives.”
That’s no doubt true, but what will conservatives be able to complain about? Aren’t they the ones demanding that the administration declassify more relevant materials?