Minority Report: CIA Saves Lives

Senate minority rebuts majority’s claims

Guantanamo Bay / AP

The CIA’s enhanced interrogation program "saved lives and played a vital role in weakening al-Qa’ida," according to a minority report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released on Tuesday.

The report was a rebuttal to the majority’s study criticizing the controversial former CIA program as ineffective and destructive.

"We have no doubt the CIA’s detention program saved lives and played a vital role in weakening al-Qa’ida while the Program was in operation," said the report written by Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R., Ga.), Richard Burr (R., N.C.), James Risch (R., Idaho), Dan Coats (R., Ind.), Marco Rubio(R., Fla.), and Tom Coburn (R., Okla.).

"When asked about the value of detainee information and whether he missed the intelligence from it, one senior CIA operator [redacted] told members: ‘I miss it every day.’ We understand why," the senators wrote.

The report disputed the majority study’s argument that the interrogation techniques were not effective when used on Guantanamo Bay detainee Abu Zubaydah.

"Our review of the documentary record revealed that Abu Zubaydah provided actionable intelligence after he was subjected to ‘aggressive’ interrogation in April and August 2002 that helped lead to the capture of Ramzi bin al-Shibh and other al Qa’ida associates during the Karachi safe house raids conducted on September 10-11, 2002," said the report.

"These captures effectively disrupted the al-Qa’ida plot to bomb certain hotels in Karachi, Pakistan, that had been selected because they were frequented by American and German guests."

The report argued that sleep deprivation played a "significant role in Abu Zubaydah’s identification of Jose Padilla as an al-Qa’ida operative tasked to carry out an attack against the United States." It noted that Abu Zubaydah had been subjected to 126 hours of sleep deprivation over a period of 136 hours during the time he revealed this information.

The report also argued that the program "played a key role in disrupting the Heathrow and Canary Wharf plotting."

A group of former CIA officials launched a website called CIASavedLives.com in response to the committee’s majority report, defending the agency’s use of rendition, detention, and enhanced interrogation. The similarly named website CIASavedLives.org redirects to the ACLU, a staunch critic of the agency’s detention program.