Senate Report on CIA Torture
Michael Hayden was CIA director from May 2006 to February 2009. Hayden was probably the Bush Administration official who most consistently misled Congress and the administration; the torture report contains approximately 37 pages of examples of Hayden’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee where he provided misleading or incorrect information. Highlights of this false testimony include:
- that "[a]ll those involved in the questioning of detainees [were] carefully chosen and screened for demonstrated professional judgment and maturity;”
- that "[a]fter the use of these techniques, Abu Zubaydah became one of our most important sources of intelligence on al-Qa'ida;"
- that "in […] classified and private conversations, none of the Members [of Congress] expressed the view that the CIA interrogation program should be stopped, or that the techniques at issue were inappropriate;”
- that “[a]ny deviations from approved procedures and practices that are seen [were] to be immediately reported and immediate corrective action taken;”
- that the CIA’s interrogation program was “‘the most successful program being conducted by American intelligence [at the time]’ for ‘preventing attacks, disabling al Qa'ida;’”
- that “the least coercive measures [were used] to create cooperation at a predictable, reliable, sustainable level;”
- that International Committee of the Red Cross reports contained “numerous false allegations of physical or threatened abuses and faulty legal assumptions and analysis;”
- that "[p]unches and kicks are not authorized and have never been employed;"
- that “CIA medical officers [never] threatened a detainee, [or stated] that medical care was conditional on cooperation” (see the case of Hassan Ghul for an example of where CIA psychologists suggested that a detainee’s medical problems were a result of not being truthful);
- that Abu Zubaydah’s “liquid diet [was] quite appropriate because he was recovering from abdominal surgery at the time” and was not an interrogation technique;
- that "waterboarding cannot take place any more than five days out of a total of 30 days” and “there cannot be more than two sessions per day” (see the cases of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (KSM) and Abu Zubaydah for examples of where these guidelines were ignored);
- that waterboarding of KSM directly led to information;
- that detainees were "not paraded [nude] in front of anyone;"
- that “the most serious injury that [he was] aware of […] is bruising as a result of shackling" and that no one died (see the case of Gul Rahman);
- and that detainees were not shackled with their hands “above the head.”
“Michael Hayden sent a letter to the president formally requesting that the president issue the Executive Order interpreting the Geneva Conventions in a manner to allow the CIA to interrogate [a detainee] using the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques.” On the day of George W. Bush's September 2006 speech, which contained several inaccuracies about the success of the program, Hayden stated “we stand by our story.” Hayden also stated that "after unspecified 'techniques' were used, Abu Zubaydah revealed information that led to the capture of another terrorist, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh," when in fact, "American officials had identified Mr. bin al-Shibh's role in the [September 11] attacks months before Mr. Zubaydah's capture." He provided misleading information to the New York Times, and told Time Magazine that detainees in black sites gave "original lead information." Hayden also prepared a statement for a briefing to President Obama’s transitions team according to which “these [enhanced interrogation] techniques and this program did work.”