The Senate committee vote to release part of a 6,300-page report on the CIA’s now-defunct rendition and torture program is something of a mixed blessing.
On one hand, it is significant that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted overwhelmingly (11-3) on Thursday to release the findings of the five-year study, which reportedly include details on how much more extensive and brutal this torture program was than has previously been acknowledged – including tragic cases in which detainees were tortured to death – as well as the fact that the CIA has lied about the program’s effectiveness, claiming that it led to useful intelligence when in reality that was not the case.
The vote, in this sense, is an important message regarding the role of congressional oversight of U.S. intelligence agencies, especially in the context of the legally and morally murky universe of the “war on terror.”
On the other hand, it should be pointed out that the vote does not necessarily mean that the report will ever see the light of day, much less lead to any real accountability for those who ordered or committed torture in violation of international and domestic law.
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