"Vicious." "Deceitful." "Grim." Across the nation, U.S. newspapers embraced stark, disapproving language Wednesday to describe a report on the CIA's violent interrogation tactics employed against terror suspects under the Bush administration. The reaction came as the release of the summary report on the five-year Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation Tuesday also described how the nation's top spies misled U.S. news organizations about whether its tactics were effective in curbing terrorism.
Philip Mudd, deputy director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, argued in an email to other CIA officials that the misinformation campaign was crucial to the anti-terror campaign: "We either got out and sell, or we get hammered, which has implications beyond media," he said, according to the report. "Congress reads it, cuts our authorities, messes up our budget. We need to make sure the impression of what we do is positive. … We must be more aggressive out there. We either put out our story or we get eaten. There is no middle ground."
The report details gruesome instances of torture, including the use of "rectal hydration," waterboarding and sleep deprivation. The report concluded that the harsh interrogation techniques did not yield valuable intelligence.
"The committee reviewed 20 of the most frequent and prominent examples of purported counterterrorism 'successes' that the CIA has attributed to the use of its enhanced interrogation techniques," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chair of the intelligence panel, said in a statement Tuesday. "Each of those examples was found to be wrong in fundamental respects."
The CIA has been critical of the Senate committee and its findings. In a roughly 100-page official response, the agency said the techniques were effective. “The sum total of information provided from detainees in CIA custody substantially advanced the Agency’s strategic and tactical understanding of the enemy in ways that continue to inform counterterrorism efforts to this day," the agency said.
Below is a sampling of some front pages Wednesday describing the CIA torture report.