February 27th, 2009
The LA Times erports that the senate Intelligence Committee will begin an investigation of CIA detention and interrogation operations:
The Senate Intelligence Committee is preparing to launch an investigation of the CIA’s detention and interrogation programs under President George W. Bush, setting the stage for a sweeping examination of some of most secretive and controversial operations in recent agency history.
The inquiry is aimed at uncovering new information on the origins of the programs as well as scrutinizing how they were executed — including the conditions at clandestine CIA prison sites and the interrogation regimens used to break Al Qaeda suspects, according to Senate aides familiar with the investigation plans.
The investigation will not examine whether laws were broken. Thus, it will not ask if torture was used:
Officials said the inquiry was not designed to determine whether CIA officials broke laws. “The purpose here is to do fact-finding in order to learn lessons from the programs and see if there are recommendations to be made for detention and interrogations in the future,” said a senior Senate aide, who like others described the plan on condition of anonymity because it had not been made public.
Rather, the investigation will examine whether the torture was effective:
The administration has also established a task force to look at the interrogation programs, although that effort is mainly designed to examine their effectiveness and determine whether the CIA should again be granted authority beyond the Army Field Manual.
Senate investigators plan a similar line of inquiry, with a goal of assessing the effectiveness of enhanced interrogation techniques employed by the CIA, including sleep deprivation and subjecting prisoners to cold temperatures.
One may wonder whether, at some level, this investigation, which may never become publc, may be designed to undercut the growing groundswell of support for a Truth Commission and/or prosecutions looking into the Bush administration torture program.
In any case, I hope they thoroughly explore the roles that psychologists, including Mitchell and Jessen, played in the CIA torture program.