In December 2014, the US Senate Intelligence Committee released a 525-page summary of its voluminous report on the torture of prisoners in secret CIA facilities overseas, conducted between 2002 and 2007.
The full committee study, which amounts to 6,700 pages and contains 38,000 footnotes, remains classified and has not been publicly released. The summary that was published was heavily redacted by the CIA. It was originally completed on December 13, 2012, but its publication was obstructed by the Obama administration for a further two years. These actions were taken in an attempt to cover up one of the greatest crimes of the 21st century—the systematic torture of prisoners at CIA secret prisons established around the world in the name of the “war on terror.”
Prior to the executive summary’s release, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, delivered a speech in March 2014 on the floor of the US Senate accusing the CIA of spying on the committee members who had been responsible for the investigation. Feinstein directly accused the CIA of violating the US Constitution, specifically its core principle of the separation of powers between the various branches of government.
Feinstein’s speech, like the torture report itself, was immediately downplayed, obscured and covered over by the media and the political establishment. In a Perspective published one week after the speech, entitled “The US media and the CIA’s spying on Congress,” the WSWS noted: “There is a vast gulf between the significance of the revelations and their treatment in the American media, which is moving as quickly as possible to bury the story. Since Friday, there has not been a single news article on the topic in major daily newspapers such as the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.”
The WSWS published an extended three-part series examining the contents of the torture report. The report documented such practices as waterboarding, systematic beatings and hitherto unknown tortures such as “rectal feeding.” In a Perspective article published on December 11, 2014, “CIA torture: American democracy in shambles,” the WSWS stated:
Two irrefutable conclusions flow from the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture: 1) The United States, during the Bush administration, committed criminal acts of the most serious character, in violation of international and domestic law; and 2) None of those responsible for these crimes will be arrested, indicted or prosecuted for their actions.
Epitomizing the role of the media as accomplices in the CIA torture program, the New York Times published an editorial in response to the Senate report calling for prosecutions of torturers in the Bush administration, before immediately dropping the subject.
The Obama administration made clear that no one would be prosecuted for the illegal CIA spying. A report published by the CIA’s own “accountability board” in January 2015, exonerating all the CIA personnel who had been involved in spying on Senators of all wrongdoing. Days later, documents released by the CIA revealed that the Obama White House knew in advance that CIA operatives had been ordered to investigate the legislative panel, which has legal responsibility for overseeing the agency
That month, the WSWS published a Perspective entitled, “Washington buries the CIA torture report,” which noted:
In practice, the report has been buried, its evidence of government criminality ignored, the perpetrators and organizers of torture going scot-free. … Far from being shamed or humiliated by the detailed exposure of their criminality, those most implicated in the establishment and operation of the torture chambers have brazenly defended their conduct. From former Vice President Dick Cheney to ex-CIA directors George Tenet, Michael Hayden and Porter Goss, to the operational head of the interrogation program, Jose Rodriguez, they have displayed a well-justified confidence that the Obama administration will protect them from any consequences.