Review of CIA Interrogation Program Still Unfinished

It is nearly a decade since the Central Intelligence Agency embarked on its controversial post-9/11 program of prisoner detention and interrogation, which included “enhanced” procedures that would later be repudiated and that were widely regarded as torture.  But even now, an accurate and complete account of that episode remains unavailable.

It is more than two years since the Senate Intelligence Committee belatedly began “a study of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program.”  The Committee reported (pdf) this month that “the CIA has made available to the Committee over 4 million pages of CIA records relating to its detention and interrogation program.”

Yet the Committee said that its two year old review of the nearly decade-old program is still not complete:  “The review has continued toward the goal of presenting to the Committee, in the [current] 112th Congress, the results of the review of the extensive documentary record that has been provided to the Committee.”  There was no mention of presenting the results of the review to the public. See “Report of the Select Committee on Intelligence Covering the Period January 3, 2009 to January 4, 2011,” Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, March 17, 2011.

The Intelligence Committee report presented a number of other noteworthy statements:

A review of electro-optical intelligence satellite collection systems by members of the Committee’s Technical Advisory Group in 2010 “found flawed processes and results from the earliest stage of the requirements process… [and] judged the technical justification for the proposed system fell far short of the standard they expected from an investment of this magnitude.”

The Committee staff “found that too many [defense] attaches are not sufficiently conversant in the languages, cultures, and traditions of the countries to which they are assigned.”

Intelligence agencies continue to fail to produce financial records that can be independently audited.  The National Reconnaissance Office “is the only one of the IC agencies required to produce auditable financial statements that has achieved what appears to be a sustainable opinion with no qualifications from its independent auditors…. The CIA has submitted its financial reports to an independent auditor but has received a disclaimer of opinion due to the inability of the auditor to gather certain relevant facts.  The NSA, DIA, and NGA are still not even prepared to submit their financial reports to independent audit,” the Senate report said.

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