One CIA officer played “Russian Roulette” with a detainee, while another threatened a detainee with a gun and power drill. An unspecified amount of officers trained as interrogators by the CIA “had engaged in inappropriate detainee interrogations, had workplace anger management issues and had reportedly admitted to sexual assault.” These and another enhanced interrogation techniques amounted to “torture,” according to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s exhaustive 6,000-page report released Tuesday.
Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif), who led the report, said on the Senate floor on Tuesday, that interrogators used “rough takedowns, in which a detainee was grabbed from his cell, clothes cut off, hooded and dragged up and down a dirt hallway while being slapped and punched.” The techniques were approved by the Department of Justice in 2005, two years after the CIA began using enhanced interrogation methods following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. But some interrogators were found to have engaged in completely unauthorized methods.
The CIA also lied to Acting Assistant Attorney General Dan Levin in 2004 about the maximum amount of time a detainee was waterboarded. The CIA said it “rarely” reached the maximum allowed single application of 40 seconds, but Khaled Sheik Muhammad was waterboarded for 40 seconds at least 19 times.
Some tactics were derived from the U.S. military’s SERE program, or the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape program that teaches American soldiers how to resist certain forms of interrogation “by enemies that refuse to follow the Geneva Conventions,” according to Senator Carl Levin, (D-MI) and are noted as such. Others were objected to by notable U.S. officials, but continued.
Dietary manipulation: This is considered a “conditioning technique,” meaning it shows a detainee he or she has no control over the situation. It involves feeding detainees only a “bland, unappetizing, but nutritionally complete diet.” The DOJ believes this technique makes other techniques, like sleep deprivation, more effective.
Sleep deprivation: Derived from SERE, this is also considered a conditioning technique. Interrogators hold a detainee in a standing position using shackles on his feet and dangling restraints from the ceiling. Interrogators monitor his condition via closed circuit television and if the detainee is unable to stand, he is moved to a resting position so as to not dangle from his wrists. This can cause swelling in the legs. One detainee was kept awake for 180 hours, or a week and a half day, the maximum allowed by the CIA. Three were kept awake for more than 96 hours and “more than a dozen for more than 48 hours.”
Attention grasp: This involves grabbing the detainee forcefully with both hands, one on each side of the neck, and drawing him towards the interrogator.
Walling: Derived from SERE, this is a coercive technique, meaning they “place the detainee in a more physical and psychological stress” than other techniques, according to the DOJ. An interrogator slams the detainee against a false, flexible wall to “create a loud sound and to shock the detainee without causing significant pain.” It's considered highly effective by the CIA.
Facial Hold: A corrective technique, meaning it is used to “correct, startle or to achieve another enabling objective with the detainee.” An interrogator restrains the person’s head with their hands, but does not inflict pain.
Facial slap or insult slap: This is also a corrective technique that is meant to humiliate the detainee by invading their personal space.
Wall standing: Another coercive technique that has the detainee stand toward a wall with his fingertips on the wall to support his weight for about four to five hours.
Stress positions: This coercive technique involves three positions that are authorized to put stress on certain parts of the detainee’s body. One technique involves making a detainee lean against the wall with his head at a 45 degree angle, handcuffed behind the back.
The abdominal slap: “Not intended to inflict any injury or cause any significant pain,” according to the 2005 DOJ report. The interrogator slaps the detainee’s belly with the back of his open hand.
Cramped confinement: With this coercive technique, interrogators use two sizes of containers. A detainee can be put in the larger container, in which he can stand or sit down, for no more than eight hours at a time. He can be placed in the smaller space, in which he can only sit, for no longer than two hours.
Waterboarding: Perhaps the most well-known CIA interrogation technique, waterboarding simulates drowning. A detainee is strapped to a table, usually slanted down toward their head and a cloth is put over their face and mouth. Cold water is poured over the cloth, creating the sensation that the person is drowning and causing extreme physical distress. Khaled Sheik Muhammad, considered to be the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, was water-boarded 183 times. A demonstration of the technique can be seen here [WARNING: GRAPHIC].
Nudity – A detainee is stripped, but the temperature must be higher than 68 degrees. Interrogators “are trained to avoid sexual innuendo or any acts of implicit sexual degradation.” While not fully nude, Gul Rahman, a detainee who died in 2002, was found dead from hypothermia after being made to sit on his bare concrete cell floor with nothing on but a sweatshirt. Rahman also underwent 48 hours of sleep deprivation, auditory overload, total darkness, isolation, a cold shower and rough treatment.” CIA Headquarters did not approve of these interrogation techniques in advance,” but said they were “motivated to extract any and all operational information on al-Qaeda and Hebzi Islami from Gul Rahman.
Water dousing: Cold water, no lower than 64 degrees, is poured over a detainee for a period of time. A medical officer must be present to ensure that he does not enter into the stages of hypothermia. At least 39 of the 119 documented U.S. detainees underwent some form of enhanced interrogation techniques, but just five produced more than 40 percent of the intelligence reports obtained in the program. Two of those who produced reports were not subjected to any of the enhanced interrogation techniques.