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CIA 'Shaped' US Media Reporting on Detention and Interrogation Program

Sputnik News

14:11 10.12.2014(updated 16:50 10.12.2014)

The CIA's Office of Public Affairs provided unattributed background information to journalists putting them on the wrong track. Sometimes the CIA persuaded the mass media to conceal unflattering facts.

MOSCOW, December 10 (Sputnik) – The CIA has been providing print and broadcast US media with false information and has successfully prevented the disclosure of sensitive details in an attempt to justify the CIA's interrogation program, the Senate report on the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program reveals.

'In seeking to shape press reporting on the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program, CIA officers and the CIA's Office of Public Affairs (OPA) provided unattributed background information on the program to journalists for books, articles, and broadcasts, including when the existence of the [CIA Program] was still classified,' the report said.

The 500-page executive summary of a still-classified 6,200-page report outlined at least three instances where a US newspaper or television network either used inaccurate information provided by the CIA or agreed to conceal classified information at the request of the agency.

In the first display of the CIA's newly drafted media campaign, the US Senate intelligence committee's report cited an NBC program that highlighted the 'success' of the agency's tactics in June 2005. The program, quoting a number of senior intelligence officials, purported that the tactics used on one of al-Qaeda's operatives 'led to' the capture of the mastermind behind the September 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. However, the torture report concluded there were 'no CIA records to indicate that there was any investigation' to uphold NBC's claims.

In late 2002, then-Vice President Dick Cheney and senior CIA officials persuaded the New York Times to conceal the name of the country that agreed to host one of CIA's 'black sites,' a network of secret prisons operating across the world outside legal jurisdiction. The publication said Wednesday that it did eventually publish the information, which it reportedly had in possession since April, but by that time the site in Thailand was already shut down.

In the most damning instance of US media's cooperation with the CIA, New York Times reporter Douglas Jehl pledged in late 2005 to 'emphasize that the CIA's enhanced interrogation techniques worked,' in an attempt to clear the publication of the story about the detention and interrogation of a high-ranking al-Qaeda operative. According to the torture report, despite an unidentified CIA officer's email describing the story as 'not necessarily unflattering,' the piece was never published.

'[The broadcasts and publications] included inaccurate claims about the effectiveness of CIA interrogations, much of it consistent with the inaccurate information being provided by the CIA to policymakers at the time,' the report concluded.

The CIA torture report was published Tuesday by the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. It details interrogation methods, including waterboarding, prolonged sleep deprivation, stress positions and mock executions used by the agency against alleged terror suspects after the September 11, 2011 attacks on Washington and New York.

US facilities across the world have been placed on high alert and have adopted additional security measures, anticipating a violent response.


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