"Townsend Admits CIA Documents Don’t Back Up Cheney’s Claims About Torture"
On Monday, the CIA released two memos from 2004 and 2005, which Vice President Cheney said would “show specifically what we gained” from the Bush administration’s enhanced interrogation program. As people like Spencer Ackerman noted, those documents didn’t end up showing that at all, however:
Strikingly, they provide little evidence for Cheney’s claims that the “enhanced interrogation” program run by the CIA provided valuable information. In fact, throughout both documents, many passages — though several are incomplete and circumstantial, actually suggest the opposite of Cheney’s contention: that non-abusive techniques actually helped elicit some of the most important information the documents cite in defending the value of the CIA’s interrogations.
Despite the fact that they devoted heavy coverage to Cheney’s initial claims, major media outlets have largely buried these new facts. But as Greg Sargent notes, last night on CNN, even former Bush homeland security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend had to admit that Cheney still hasn’t been vindicated:
It’s very difficult to draw a cause and effect, because it’s not clear when techniques were applied vs. when that information was received. It’s implicit. It seems, when you read the report, that we got the — the — the most critical information after techniques had been applied. But the report doesn’t say that.
Cheney, of course, refuses to back down from his initial claims. Earlier this week he put out a statement saying that “individuals subjected to Enhanced Interrogation Techniques provided the bulk of intelligence we gained about al Qaeda.” However, there is still no evidence that the torture techniques were responsible and necessary for producing the intelligence.