For years, we've been hearing about the shocking torture tactics used during President Bush's administration, in the wake of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. Though the government denied at the time that the U.S. tortured terror detainees in order to gain information about future plots, a harsh Senate Intelligence Committee report released on Tuesday (Dec. 9) not only confirmed that several outlawed methods of torture were used, but that the techniques were "deeply flawed" and often produced "fabricated" information that didn't help prevent attacks.
Five years in the making, the report is based on more than 6 million documents and basically points the finger at the CIA, saying that its methods were even more shocking than originally thought and that more detainees were subjected to waterboarding than just the three the CIA has admitted to in the past.
During his administration, Bush frequently said that the detention and interrogation program -- including waterboarding -- was humane and legal and had helped thwart future terror plans; President Obama dismantled the program when he took office. The entire report is 6,000 pages long, with only a 524-page executive summary declassified for the public. The CIA has hit back at the findings, saying they only tell "part of the story."
We complied some of the most alarming findings at interrogation sites around the world here:
1. Detainees were subjected to waterboarding (a near-drowning method of torture) and sleep deprivation for days or weeks at a time. Some were kept awake for up to 180 hours, typically in a standing, or stressful position, "at times with their hands shackled above their heads."
2. One detainee reportedly died of hypothermia after being chained to a concrete floor while partially nude. Others were stripped and hooded, then dragged up and down prison corridors while being punched and slapped.
3. Interrogators would threaten prisoners with death, sexual torture or threaten to kill their families if they did not offer information. A number gave fake intelligence after being tortured.
4. The methods were so harsh that a number of detainees later suffered from paranoia, insomnia and hallucinations, which led to attempts of self-mutilation. One prisoner tried to chew his arm off at the elbow. Among the more bizarre efforts: "rectal feeding" and "rectal hydration" to combat hunger strikes.
5. The torture and waterboarding of detainee Abu Zubaydah in Thailand was so intense that some CIA officers got to the point of "tears and choking up" and a few asked to be transferred if the brutal tactics continued. At points, Zubaydah reportedly became completely unresponsive after waterboarding and had "bubbles rising through his open full mouth."
6. Despite all the torture methods employed, 20 different case studies based on the CIA's internal records found that the most extreme interrogation methods did not help disrupt terror plots, capture terror leaders or find terror mastermind Osama bin Laden.