National Security Brief: Bipartisan Report Concludes It’s ‘Indisputable’ That The U.S. Tortured After 9/11

A bipartisan report has concluded that the United States engaged in torture after the 9/11 terror attacks.

The study, conducted by the 11-member Constitution Project after 2 years of research and interviews, concludes that “it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture” and that the nation’s highest officials bore ultimate responsibility for it, according to the New York TImes.

While the report notes that Americans have engaged in brutality in every war it has fought, never before had there been “the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.”

Former Bush administration officials, like former vice president Dick Cheney, continue to argue that the United States’ interrogation practices after 9/11 were not torture and that techniques, like waterboarding, gleaned valuable information, saved lives and was the right thing to do. However, the report seeks to close the debate on whether the U.S. tortured terror-suspects in the aftermath 9/11 and whether the tactics were useful. “As long as the debate continues, so too does the possibility that the United States could again engage in torture,” the report says, adding that the bipartisan group found “no firm or persuasive evidence” they worked.

While “a person subjected to torture might well divulge useful information,” much of the information obtained by force was not reliable, the report says.

The Constitution Project also calls on the Senate to release the Intelligence Committee’s recently concluded study on torture, which relies mainly on CIA documents, rather than interviews as the study out today does. James Jones, a Democrat on the panel and a former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, said the two reports would, as the Times reports, “complement each other in documenting what he called a grave series of policy errors.”

Read the full report here.

In other news:

  • USA Today reports: President Obama vowed Monday night to get to the bottom of who is behind a pair of deadly explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, but he warned Americans not to jump to any conclusions. “We still do not know who did this, or why, and people shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all the facts,” Obama said in a brief statement. “But make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this.”
  • The Wall Street Journal reports: Tension in Venezuela rose sharply Monday after the government reneged on its promise to carry out a full recount of the bitterly contested presidential vote and declared acting President Nicolás Maduro as president-elect. The opposition, pointing to irregularities in the election, said it wouldn’t recognize the result and began to demonstrating across the country, as the U.S. urged a vote recount.
  • The Washington Post reports: The special medal for the Pentagon’s drone operators and cyberwarriors didn’t last long. Two months after the military rolled out the Distinguished Warfare Medal for troops who don’t set foot on the battlefield, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has concluded it was a bad idea. Some veterans and some lawmakers spoke out against the award, arguing that it was unfair to make the medal a higher honor than some issued for valor on the battlefield.