Skip to navigationSkip to content

Here are the nasty things the CIA did to its prisoners to “fight terror”

Demonstrator Maboud Ebrahimzadeh lies on the pavement after his ordeal in a simulation of waterboarding outside the Justice Department in Washington November 5, 2007. The confirmation of Bush nominee Michael Mukasey as attorney general is in jeopardy after his refusal to state whether the interrogation technique known as waterboarding violates U.S. laws banning torture. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES) - RTR1VOW6
Reuters/Kevin Lamarque
A demonstrator at a 2007 protest of waterboarding in Washington DC.
By Zach Wener-Fligner

2014-15 Fellow. Quartz Things team.

Published Last updated on This article is more than 2 years old.

newly-released Senate report on CIA interrogation techniques offers an in-depth look at some of the brutal tactics used by US intelligence during the so-called War on Terror. The report says that the CIA lied about the harshness of its techniques, and that the techniques furthermore failed to garner useful intelligence information.

The practices as described are abhorrent. Compiled from the 500-page executive summary that was made public (the 6,000-page report remains confidential), here is a selection of how the CIA to attempted to coerce information from detainees.

Isolation in a coffin, sleep deprivation, waterboarding

From the section of the report that addresses the detainment of Saudi terror suspect Abu Zubaydah in 2002:

Rectal feeding and rectal hydration

From the section discussing the detention and interrogation of al-Qaeda member Khalid Shaykh Muhammad:

Again, from a passage discussing the detention of Pakistani terror suspect and legal US resident Majid Khan:

Waterboarding that induced vomiting and nearly drowned detainees

From a section that discusses interrogations of both Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Shaykh Muhammed:

“Wallings” and other physical abuse

There are mentions of “wallings”—slamming detainees against a wall—throughout the report, often accompanied by other types of physical abuse such as slapping, and forced nudity. Here is one such example, from the interrogation of Yemeni prisoner Ramzi bin al-Shibh:

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.