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CIA Watchdog 'Mistakenly' Destroyed Its Only Copy Of A Senate Torture Report (yahoo.com) 209

An anonymous reader writes: According to Yahoo News, the CIA inspector general's office "mistakenly" destroyed its only copy of a mammoth Senate torture report at the same time lawyers for the Justice Department were assuring a federal judge that copies of the document were being preserved. Agency officials described the deletion of the document to Senate investigators as an "inadvertent" foul-up by the inspector general. "CIA inspector general officials deleted an uploaded computer file with the report and then accidentally destroyed a disk that also contained the document, filled with thousands of secret files about the CIA's use of 'enhanced' interrogation methods," reports Yahoo News. The Senate Intelligence Committee and Justice Department knew about the incident last summer, sources said. However, the destruction of a copy of the sensitive report was never made public, nor was it reported to the federal judge at the time who was overseeing a lawsuit seeking access to the still classified document under the Freedom of Information Act. Despite this incident, a CIA spokesperson has said another unopened computer disk with the full report is still locked in a vault at agency headquarters. "I can assure you that the CIA has retained a copy," wrote Dean Boyd, the agency's chief of public affairs, in an email. Feinstein is calling for the CIA inspector general to obtain a new copy of the report to replace the one that disappeared. A 500-page summary was released in 2014, and concluded that the CIA misled Americans on the effectiveness of "enhanced interrogation." Specifically, the interrogations were poorly managed and unreliable.
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CIA Watchdog 'Mistakenly' Destroyed Its Only Copy Of A Senate Torture Report

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  • by headkase ( 533448 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @06:27PM (#52124533)

    It's a fact no matter how you try to weasel out of it: "enhanced interrogation" is actually torture. Which doing so in a time of war is a war crime. The stuff Japanese people were sentenced to death for shortly after their trials at the end of World War II.

    • It's a fact no matter how you try to weasel out of it: "enhanced interrogation" is actually torture.

      It is "enhanced interrogation" just like tractor-trailers full of Semtex detonated at the various TLA HQs' would be "enhanced objection".

      Strat

    • In fact it may be the most mentally destructive form of torture around. Which it was designed to be. We know it as enhanced interrogation because , well, officials want to call it that way and because the press is lost to journalism.

    • by Alumoi ( 1321661 )

      You may be right, but in order to be convicted you must first loose. Only the looser gets to be punished, the victor is always right.

    • by Agripa ( 139780 )

      It is not a war crime unless the enemy is in a position to enforce it against you. In connection with the deliberate strategic bombing of civilian targets, General Curtis LeMay said, "If we’d lost the war, we’d all have been prosecuted as war criminals."

  • Sadism. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Since torture methods are known to barely work, is torture mostly an excuse for sadists to get kicks? some twisted Biblical notion of hellish justice disguised as interrogation?

    We know why torture doesn't happen, but when it does, why does it?

    • In this case, it happened because placating the fears of public officials regarding their own ineptitude turned out to be increadibly lucerative: http://www.businessinsider.com... [businessinsider.com]
    • by zlives ( 2009072 )

      but but it worked on 24

      • Re:Sadism. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @06:54PM (#52124707)

        The idea that torture doesn't work is more truthiness than truth. But whether it works or not is irrelevant. It is immoral and should not be allowed.

        • Re:Sadism. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by meerling ( 1487879 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @07:28PM (#52124879)
          Talk to professional interrogators, or the people that have actually studied the subject.
            According to them, torture is worse than worthless because the 'intelligence' you gather is far more likely to be false than anything else.
          So again, stop believing hollywood, they make shit up for a living.
          • Re:Sadism. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2016 @03:53AM (#52126335)

            Indeed. People under torture lie to make it stop temporarily. They make up stuff when the interrogators insist they must know something, but do not.

            On the moral side, the only sane way to deal with torturers and those ordering it is to either execute them or lock them up permanently in a closed mental institution. These people have no place in human society.

          • Re:Sadism. (Score:4, Informative)

            by T.E.D. ( 34228 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2016 @09:28AM (#52127341)

            Talk to professional interrogators, or the people that have actually studied the subject. According to them, torture is worse than worthless because the 'intelligence' you gather is far more likely to be false than anything else.

            Not quite. If you want to get to the truth of what happened, then torture is worthless. However, if you want someone to say a specific thing regardless of what the truth is (eg: admit to a crime), torture can be very effective.

            For example, the CIA was feeling pressure to prove their methods were effective. So their main goal whenever they tortured someone at their black sites [thebureaui...igates.com] was to get them to give up names of others who they could kidnap and torture. They became sort of the Amway of torture. The victim would eventually start giving names of anyone plausibly Muslim they may have rattling around in their head, and then the next round of renditions would begin. The CIA could then throw up all the numbers of names and leads they were getting as proof that their methods were working.

            You will to this day hear Bush Admin. officials cite these numbers to defend their torture program.

        • Re:Sadism. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Alomex ( 148003 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @09:47PM (#52125343) Homepage

          Israel which is a friendly country to the USA let it be known to the Bush administration that they had given up using torture against terrorism as it was so ineffective.

          The Bush administration, just like you, was impervious to facts, always preferring their own ideological preconceived notions to reality. Lately, this seems increasingly have become a signature of the whole GOP. If facts are not to your liking just pretend they aren't true.

    • Re:Sadism. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt@nerdFORTRANflat.com minus language> on Monday May 16, 2016 @07:11PM (#52124797) Journal
      Torture is used because the people who use it believe, perhaps entirely sincerely, that the person they are torturing knows something that the people who are performing the torture either want to or need to know, and the importance of them knowing this is of more importance to them than the personhood of the person they are torturing. Of course. it has precisely zero effectiveness if this belief is mistaken.
      • Re:Sadism. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2016 @03:43AM (#52126309)

        Torture is used because the people who use it believe, perhaps entirely sincerely, that the person they are torturing knows something that the people who are performing the torture either want to or need to know, and the importance of them knowing this is of more importance to them than the personhood of the person they are torturing.

        Torturers always have ways of explaining away their actions. It is for their country, their faith, the truth or liberty - for the greater good. The goal justifies the means. You should read up om Himmler's speeches to the SS top; all torturers think like that, whether it is the Spanish Inquisition and their "We cause you suffering in this life, so your time in Purgatory will be shorter", Daesh's burning and stoning of innocent people - or the waterboarding og suspected terrorists by the Americans. Good people don't do this, not just out of regard for the victim, but because they have chosen not to lower themselves to the same level as the terrorists and their sadistic torturers.

        Of course. it has precisely zero effectiveness if this belief is mistaken.

        It has no value whether their belief is true or false, we already know that. A person who undergoes torture is focused entirely on escaping the mistreatment, not on giving accurate information. When you are tortured, your trust in the torturer and in people in general is fundamentally destroyed, and you don't believe that you are not going to be tortured again, soon, whether you tell the truth or not, so you only want the hell you are in right now, to stop; so you say anything they want to hear. At least it may buy you a few hours or even days before it starts again.

        In order to gather reliable evidence, you absolutely must establish some sort of trust - you make promises, then keep them, you respect the individual, and gradually they may change their minds and cooperate. You reward cooperation, but not in a way that makes them feel they are being paid off for being traitors. And so on. It isn't really difficult.

        • by mark-t ( 151149 )

          It has no value whether their belief is true or false, we already know that. A person who undergoes torture is focused entirely on escaping the mistreatment, not on giving accurate information.

          Technically true... but it is only *after* they have a realization that what they believe to be the truth will not actually make the torture stop, that a person being tortured will generally resort to trying to fabricate whatever lie they think will make the torture stop. In absence of any evidence to indicate that

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        As any halfway sanely organized secret organization has both compartmentalized information and knows what to change and move when somebody is captured, torture is never effective, unless the information would have been easily available by other means. This means the torturers and those that are ordering it are deep in the evil spectrum, because they did not bother to find out about the things they are doing beforehand.

      • torture is used for multiple reasons. Torture is sold with a story of some imminent danger where the tortured person has done very bad things and also has a key that when disclosed will stop this imminent danger. If you think this story represents the reality it is easier to support it. In reality this may apply to very exceptional cases but the bulk is that it's used for general information gathering , for turning people into informants , for terrorizing the population. For general information gathering th

    • There's also the psychological dominance factor, and suppression of a population via fear, but yeah, sadism looks to be a big part.
      There are people that have actually studied the subject. (I don't know how they got their data, but apparently they did.)
      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        A good source seems to be the war in Algeria 50 years ago. Both the French and the natives tortured excessively, wit little beneficial effect to them, if at all.

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      It is about destroying the victim and about spreading fear. It has been known to be completely ineffective as a means of getting information at the very least since the French tortured vigorously in Algeria about 50 years ago. They never found out anything worthwhile they did not already know and they really tried to go to the limits possible.

      So, yes, sadism, desire to dehumanize and eradicate the victim, and to terrorize others. Noting even remotely compatible with civilized society. However something reli

  • Huh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 16, 2016 @06:28PM (#52124541)
    Well I think someone should "mistakenly" go to jail then.
  • by rsborg ( 111459 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @06:34PM (#52124571) Homepage

    If the CIA were a person (or smaller less corrupt organization) they'd be held liable (and possibly in contempt) with massive punishments.

    I guess it's not just the banks that can be TBTF.

    • Is it a case of TBTF or "screw with us and we'll show you what replaced the heart attack gun"?

      http://www.military.com/video/guns/pistols/cias-secret-heart-attack-gun/2555371072001

    • I say we kill them for high treason. Apparently they forgot that this was a democracy.

      Oh, and we don't need evidence, just like they don't. The CIA is sure good at forgetting things, like the fact that we have a second amendment for this very fucking reason.

      • by rsborg ( 111459 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @07:43PM (#52124941) Homepage

        I say we kill them for high treason. Apparently they forgot that this was a democracy.

        Oh, and we don't need evidence, just like they don't. The CIA is sure good at forgetting things, like the fact that we have a second amendment for this very fucking reason.

        They're part of the executive branch - you know the ones that are charged with enforcing the law? That branch has shown repeatedly, in every administration in the past 50+ years, that it cannot/will not control the CIA (not to mention any other alphabet-soup agency).

        The Military Industrial Complex needs to be smashed, in order for this to take effect - and that means defeating the funding of this monstrosity.
        The only way we can do this is to defund the branch.

        • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

          They're part of the executive branch - you know the ones that are charged with enforcing the law? That branch has shown repeatedly, in every administration in the past 50+ years, that it cannot/will not control the CIA (not to mention any other alphabet-soup agency).

          The Bush Administration controlled the CIA just fine. The torture was their own idea. The CIA didn't even know how to do it at first, and had to raid the military's SEER [wikipedia.org] (anti-torture training class) for expertise.

          Please, no false equivalencies here.

    • If the CIA were a person (or smaller less corrupt organization) they'd be held liable (and possibly in contempt) with massive punishments.

      I guess it's not just the banks that can be TBTF.

      This is the most shameful aspect of Sovereign Immunity.

      US Citizens pay the CIA via taxes. Yet, when this tax-payer organization 'goes rogue', we have no Constitutional avenue of redress to punish them for their War Crimes.

      Also as a result of CIA actions (over the last 40 years), many US Citizens have died – the ones who pay their salary. Innumerable people from foreign nations have died at their hands, too.

      • If the CIA were a person (or smaller less corrupt organization) they'd be held liable (and possibly in contempt) with massive punishments.

        I guess it's not just the banks that can be TBTF.

        This is the most shameful aspect of Sovereign Immunity.

        US Citizens pay the CIA via taxes. Yet, when this tax-payer organization 'goes rogue', we have no Constitutional avenue of redress to punish them for their War Crimes.

        Also as a result of CIA actions (over the last 40 years), many US Citizens have died – the ones who pay their salary. Innumerable people from foreign nations have died at their hands, too.

        I thought the CIA was funded by illicit drug/weapons dealing

    • Having worked for large corporations and the government, I actually can fully understand how this could happen without any foul play (opinions of Slashdotters notwithstanding).

      One guy says "it's preserved somewhere", another guy says "it's on those disks" and a third guy says "let's scrap all of those disks". Nobody ever stops to ask "where's the backup?" or "are these disks needed?". Instead, it's just a game of moving targets and priorities, trying to stay ahead of the collapsing mess of bureaucracy whose

    • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

      If the CIA were a person...they'd be held liable...with massive punishments.

      Well, we could torture them, but they lost the instructions.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 16, 2016 @06:36PM (#52124583)

    The CIA is a rogue fully-unaccountable shadow organization that thumbs its nose at ALL regulators including Congress. The longer this is allowed to go on the closer to a totalitarian state we are allowing ourselves to veer toward. Checks and balances mean JACK SHIT when they just go right around all of them.

    • For what, misinterpreting a memo? Having to get another copy of the report? Whoop-dee-fucking-doo.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 16, 2016 @06:43PM (#52124625)

    The Senate Intelligence Committee, which produced the report, has copies of its own report. The CIA has copies. The CIA IG destroyed its copy, provided to it by the Senate Intelligence Committee, and told the committee. Stupid, yes...but given that it was the Senate Intelligence Committee's report, it's not like the CIA IG destroying its only copy of the Senate's report amounts to, well, anything.

    • The outrage is that they don't keep proper backups of their files

      They should just redownload it from OneDrive.
    • by rahvin112 ( 446269 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @08:18PM (#52125043)

      No they don't. That's the entire point. Because of it's classified nature there are very few copies of this report. The copy that was destroyed was the Senate's "copy" (they didn't really have a copy because the entire document was classified to protect the torturers). You may hate Feinman, and I do because she's happy to go along with Jack Booted Thugery, but when she stood on the Senate floor and claimed the CIA was subverting government she was telling the truth. The CIA was hiding and deleting documents the Senate committee had already seen. The CIA was deliberately obstructing the Senate and all "civilian" oversight.

      But you know what? No one even cared. I've believed for a long time that the only way to fix the FBI and CIA and the abuses they commit is to destroy them and create new agencies from the ground up to take over their responsibilities. Both agencies have been unelected, corrupt, unchecked little boys clubs that wield influence and power over our democracy.

      Disband them both and reassign their responsibilities, because when they reach the point they have the only solution is to burn them down and rebuild them from the ground up.

    • The Senate Intelligence Committee, which produced the report, has copies of its own report. The CIA has copies. The CIA IG destroyed its copy, provided to it by the Senate Intelligence Committee, and told the committee. Stupid, yes...but given that it was the Senate Intelligence Committee's report, it's not like the CIA IG destroying its only copy of the Senate's report amounts to, well, anything.

      The Senate Intelligence Committee, which produced the report, has copies of its own report. The CIA has copies. The CIA IG destroyed its copy, provided to it by the Senate Intelligence Committee, and told the committee. Stupid, yes...but given that it was the Senate Intelligence Committee's report, it's not like the CIA IG destroying its only copy of the Senate's report amounts to, well, anything.

      I think there's a lot of things going on in this story that needs expert analysis, here's my attempt at fundamentally misunderstanding the important points:

      1) It makes sense they'd just have one copy. The full report is highly classified and has major political ramifications. They really want to make sure there's not a lot of random copies floating around.

      2) Someone at the CIA supposedly thought they were supposed to delete the report, I feel like the CIA is a place with established mechanisms for deleting

  • by hguorbray ( 967940 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @06:44PM (#52124637)
    in the basement, in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'.

    -I'm just sayin'
  • by Obfuscant ( 592200 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @06:50PM (#52124683)

    a CIA spokesperson has said another unopened computer disk with the full report is still locked in a vault at agency headquarters.

    And we'll be happy to open the disk and give you a copy of the contents just as soon as we locate the Torx T10 driver we need to do so... can we keep the cool magnets?

  • by liqu1d ( 4349325 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @06:51PM (#52124687)
    Ask the NSA I'm sure they've got a copy.
  • How about some Extreme waterboarding with trump! and he will put that out with out an cover up.

  • And then ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Egg Sniper ( 647211 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @07:05PM (#52124757)
    "CIA inspector general officials deleted an uploaded computer file with the report and then accidentally destroyed a disk that also contained the document. Then, while carrying the computer from which the file was deleted, officials tripped and dropped it into an MRI scanner's powerful magnet. In an effort to free the computer it was struck repeatedly with a rubber mallet. Once freed, being alarmingly warm, the computer was submerged in water to cool. Later, the computer fell from the horse that was transporting it and it was trampled to pieces. The pieces were cast into the volcano."
  • by schwit1 ( 797399 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @07:54PM (#52124983)
    Despite this incident, a CIA spokesperson has said another unopened computer disk with the full report is still locked in a vault at agency headquarters. "I can assure you that the CIA has retained a copy," wrote Dean Boyd, the agency's chief of public affairs, in an email.
  • AP Langly, WV Slashdot readers are all Un-Wed Mothers.
  • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Monday May 16, 2016 @10:52PM (#52125589)

    Oh I totally believe that they only had one copy of this critically important report. It's too bad that the dog ate it or whatever.

    • Oh I totally believe that they only had one copy of this critically important report. It's too bad that the dog ate it or whatever.

      Allow me to quote from the summary

      a CIA spokesperson has said another unopened computer disk with the full report is still locked in a vault at agency headquarters. "I can assure you that the CIA has retained a copy," wrote Dean Boyd, the agency's chief of public affairs, in an email. Feinstein is calling for the CIA inspector general to obtain a new copy of the report to replace the one that disappeared.

      So they're not claiming it's completely gone. At worst this is a delaying tactic, not obstruction.

  • ... "mistakenly" destroyed its only copy of a mammoth Senate torture report ...

    A genuine "The dog ate my report", then? Amazing, you would have thought adults could do better.

  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2016 @04:36AM (#52126401) Homepage

    its only copy of a mammoth Senate torture report

    So that's why they died out!

  • Funny how they keep doing that, except for the times they've claimed to have 'misplaced' it, or have redacted it to black pages, or just said "no".
    Of course, it isn't like they've been caught lying to the public and the government before...
  • by kbg ( 241421 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2016 @04:43AM (#52126415)

    "Yes sir, we accidently destroyed the disk. You see we where testing a flamethrower and accidently burned the disk, and then as it happens sometimes a steamroller came by and just happened to crush it, and finally we spilled some highly corrosive acid on the remains.It was just a freak accident."

  • C'mon CIA Watchdog, don't be so cheap: cough up a Bitcoin or two to get the decryption key to that CIA Torture Report from your friendly Ransomware Provider...
  • Yeah if you believe it, I have a bridge for sale in NYC...

  • Seems the CIA and its Inspector General are reading from the IRS playbook.

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