The release of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) executive summary(PDF) to their report, “Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program,” has rightly gotten a wide amount of press coverage.
The sheer brutality of the program’s use of torture is overwhelming, from the use of forced enemas on detainees — the CIA called it “rectal hydration” and “rectal feeding” — to intense use of solitary confinement, threats to kill prisoners’ families, homicide, and more. Revelations from this report will continue to be reported and absorbed into the world’s understanding of the criminal extent of the U.S. torture program for months or years to come.
But one revelation has gone notably unreported. The man associated with implementing the most brutal part of the interrogation program was drawn out of the same division of the CIA that some decades ago had been responsible for the notorious MKULTRA program. As a CIA history of OTS explains, MKULTRA “involved Agency funding for the testing and use of chemical and biological agents and other means of controlling or modifying human behavior” (p. 19).