Top takeaways from the CIA torture report

Willie Grace | 12/9/2014, 6:35 p.m. | Updated on 12/9/2014, 6:35 p.m.
"I also believe that the conditions of confinement and the use of authorized and unauthorized interrogation and conditioning techniques were ...
One of those fabrications included an assassination plot against former President Jimmy Carter, which CIA officials described as an "elaborate tale."

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Senate Intelligence Committee spent five years reading and analyzing more than 6.3 million pages of CIA documents to assess the CIA's use of "enhanced interrogation techniques" in the post-9/11 era.

That review produced a more than 6,000 page review that was condensed into a 525-page summary the committee released Tuesday that delivered a brutal assessment of the CIA's practices.

Here are the report's biggest conclusions and revelations:

  1. "Enhanced interrogation" includes torture

Sen. Dianne Feinstein writes in the report that the Committee's findings reveal that "CIA detainees were tortured."

"I also believe that the conditions of confinement and the use of authorized and unauthorized interrogation and conditioning techniques were cruel, inhuman, and degrading. I believe the evidence of this is overwhelming and incontrovertible," she writes.

Feinstein isn't alone. President Obama said over the summer that, in the past, "we tortured some folks." And Sen. John McCain, who was himself tortured as a POW during Vietnam, said on the Senate floor Tuesday that the harsh interrogations described in the report amount to torture.

The CIA has claimed throughout its defense of the program that these coercive interrogations "saved lives" -- the most significant point the Senate committee refutes in its report.

  1. Torture doesn't work very well

"The use of the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of obtaining accurate information," according to the Senate Intelligence Committee report.

The report debunks the top 20 examples CIA has used to defend the now-shuttered enhanced interrogation program, claiming that each of the examples "was found to be wrong in fundamental respects."

Additionally, false confessions obtained by enhanced interrogation techniques from detainees led the CIA to pursue dead leads that did not help in the fight against al-Qaeda. Information the CIA obtained through these harsh interrogations, which in some cases amounted to torture, was either false or had been previously obtained through alternative intelligence gathering, according to the report.

"While being subjected to the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques and afterwards, multiple CIA detainees fabricated information, resulting in faulty intelligence," the report reads.

The CIA and other advocates of these enhanced interrogation techniques, including former Vice President Dick Cheney have continued to defend the practices as critical to intelligence gathering efforts in the fight against terrorism.

The CIA pushed back against the report in its own assessment on Tuesday, saying information obtained "substantially advance the Agency's strategic and tactical understanding of the enemy in ways that continue to inform counterterrorism efforts to this day."

  1. Torture did not help the CIA find Osama bin Laden

The CIA continues to claim that coercive interrogations were crucial to capturing Osama bin-Laden, but the Senate report concludes that the most "accurate' CIA information that led to bin Laden's capture came from a detainee before the detainee was tortured.

The CIA claims that information obtained through coercion "fundamentally" changed the agency's calculations.

The Senate report insists that bin Laden could have been captured without the torture of any detainees.