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CIA lied to defend torture of inmates, US inquiry finds

By Staff Reporter

Foiled UK terror plots were falsely held up by America's CIA as proof that its "brutal" torture tactics had saved lives, a US intelligence watchdog has said.

The Senate Intelligence Committee said the interrogation of detainees in the wake of the 9/11 attacks were "far worse" than the CIA had portrayed to the US government.

Waterboarding methods had deteriorated to "a series of near drownings" and Agency staff subjected detainees to "rectal rehydration" and other painful procedures that were never approved, the report said.

The CIA justified its use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques with "inaccurate claims of their effectiveness" including examples of thwarted UK plots such as a plan by 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to hijack planes and attack Heathrow airport and Canary Wharf.

The capture of al Qaida UK operative Dhiren Barot and the arrest of British would-be shoe-bomber Saajid Badat were also among the Agency's eight most frequently cited examples of how using torture methods "saved lives".

Prime Minister David Cameron said some activities after the 9/11 attacks had been "wrong" but added he was "confident the issue has been dealt with from a British perspective".

And the CIA remained defiant with director John Brennan insisting the controversial methods did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists and save lives. But Senator Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat and the committee chairman, said: "Under any common meaning of the term, CIA detainees were tortured."

American embassies, military units and other US interests were put on high alert for possible security threats ahead of release of the report, which follows a five-year investigation.

Among torture methods used by the CIA across its secret prison network were the use of insects placed in a confinement box, sleep deprivation and waterboarding.

Amnesty International Americas director Erika Guevara Rosas said: "This is a wake-up call to the USA. They must disclose the full truth about the human rights violations, hold perpetrators accountable and ensure justice for the victims. This is not a policy nicety, it is a requirement under international law."

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