Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Editorial: The Torture Report Stains a 'Shining City on a Hill'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Editorial: The Torture Report Stains a 'Shining City on a Hill'

Article excerpt

A few takeaways from the Senate Intelligence Committee summary, released Tuesday, of its 6,600-page investigation into the Central Intelligence Agency's use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" against terrorism suspects in the early 2000s:

* Those who believe in "American exceptionalism" should be most appalled by the findings in this report. Our commitment to the rule of law and to standing on high moral ground has suffered a grievous blow.

* Without sustained and vigorous public oversight, the nation's intelligence agencies will, in an excess of zeal, go places that endanger civil liberties and national values. The Central Intelligence Agency did it. The National Security Agency did it.

* Agents acting on behalf of the United States, including two contract experts who were paid $81 million to devise and implement cruel methods, tortured people, killing at least one of them. Then they lied about it and were never held accountable. The only person who has gone to prison over this is a CIA officer named John Kiriakou, who blew the whistle on it and was prosecuted by the Obama administration's Justice Department.

* Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (or EITs, as they were known because in the federal government, even torture has an acronym) didn't do any good. This confirmed what the CIA itself said about torture in 1989: "[I]nhumane physical or psychological techniques are counterproductive because they do not produce intelligence and will probably result in false answers."

With due respect to Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the danger to America from this report comes from what it says, not the fact of its release. The world should have a right to expect better of America.

Mr. Blunt said Tuesday that "You lay out the details without context and you endanger our standing in the world." He went so far as to compare possible reaction to the report to the reaction that followed police killings in Ferguson and Staten Island. …

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