Less than a year after a Senate panel reported in detail shocking acts of CIA torture, former CIA officials have responded. A book released on Wednesday, authored by some of the same high-level intelligence officials who oversaw the now-infamous torture program after the September 11 attacks, is intended to rebut the story of torture laid out in the landmark Senate “torture report.”
The book – titled “Rebuttal: The CIA Responds to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Study of Its Detention and Interrogation Program” – has already drawn harsh criticism. California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who led the Senate panel’s investigation into CIA torture, has already slammed the book as failing to respond to her report’s allegations. Many others will surely soon criticize the book’s narrative.
But such commentary is missing the point. The book’s contents are not the story. What’s remarkable is its very existence.
Torture is indisputably, unequivocally illegal. Any protests that torture can be justified in national security emergencies are simply irrelevant to the conversation. The domestic and international laws which forbid torture do not include exemptions for any reason. In fact, it is because of the extraordinary lengths to which governments will go in the name of security that such laws exist. The fear that led officials to engage in torture is the same fear that fuels a global endless war. Read more
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