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Shocking And Damning Report About CIA Interrogations Released; Imagine a World
Aired December 9, 2014 - 14:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight: brutal torture and deceit at the highest level; a shocking and damning report is released on
the actions of the CIA after 9/11.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORINIA: It shows that the CIA's actions a decade ago are a stain on our value and on our history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR (voice-over): Also ahead: Uganda's president joins me live on 28 years at the helm of his nation.
AMANPOUR: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to the program. I'm Christiane Amanpour.
From waterboarding to black sites, a devastating indictment of the CIA's torture program during the Bush administration. The U.S. Senate, for the
first time, has just made public its five-year-long investigation which was based on more than 6 million CIA documents and its verdict is brutal. The
program was much harsher than previously known. The CIA accused of deceit, cover-ups and obstruction of Congress and the report says the program was
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FEINSTEIN: At no time did the CIA's coercive interrogation techniques lead to the collection of intelligence on an imminent threat that many believe
was the justification for the use of these techniques.
The committee never found an example of this hypothetical ticking time bomb scenario.
AMANPOUR (voice-over): There was a huge amount of controversy about releasing this information. Secretary of State John Kerry worried about
the timing and we expect him to make his first comments on the matter to Congress shortly and we will bring you that when it does happen.
Now U.S. embassies and military bases around the world are on high alert for a possible violent backlash. But it is an accounting that President
Obama had promised for a long time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We did a whole lot of things that were right. But we tortured some folks. That needs to be understood
and accepted and we have to, as a country, take responsibility for that so that hopefully we don't do it again in the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And today in response to the report's release, President Obama said some actions were, quote, "contrary to our values."
A White House official tells CNN that a small portion of the report is blacked out, such as the names of CIA agents and where they used the so-
called enhanced interrogation techniques. Like so much in Washington, the report has become extremely politicized; Senate Republican withdrew from
the investigation in protest and the CIA director had to apologize for spying on the computers of Senate staffers preparing this report.
Joining me now from Washington to discuss all of this is the former chief prosecutor at the Guantanamo Bay prison, Col. Morris Davis.
And Col. Davis, welcome back to the program. We have talked many times before about what happened at Guantanamo and elsewhere. This is mostly
about the black sites.
Were you shocked by what has been revealed today?
COL. MORRIS DAVIS, FORMER CHIEF PROSECUTOR, GUANTANAMO BAY: I wasn't shocked by the particulars and the techniques that were employed. We've
all heard about waterboarding and some of the other things that were done to the detainees as part of this program.
I think what's breathtaking to the public looking at this is the quantity, the scope and the extent and the pervasiveness of this program that we used
for a period of time on a number of individuals, doing things that are hard to imagine 20 years ago that America would be doing.
So it's commendable for Senator Feinstein that she's fought this battle and gotten this information out there and hopefully we can avoid this kind of
AMANPOUR: What about, though, you know, you say the quantity of the wrongdoing, for instance, what Senator Feinstein read out, a litany of
deceit, of obstruction of Congress, of CIA directors not telling Congress exactly what was going on. They talk about unsupervised harsh
interrogations. They talk about a much more brutal regime of this waterboarding and other such torture than we previously knew about.
MORRIS: Yes, I think there seems to be a lot of wanting to pass the buck and share the blame as broadly as possible. But it certainly seems that a
large part of the government that's supposed to provide oversight was kept largely in the dark about what the CIA was doing.
You'll notice also in the report, I think another thing that'll be shocking to people, is how much we contracted out to private industry and how people
became millionaires off of this torture program.
AMANPOUR: Colonel, you are a lawyer. Are these crimes? What will happen to these people who've been investigated? Them and their leaders?
MORRIS: Well, if I was providing legal advice to Dick Cheney and Jose Rodriguez and General Hayden and some of the others that are implicated by
the report, my advice would be vacation domestically because torture is not only a violation of our domestic law and the president has, again,
indicated today that he's taking primarily a look forward, not back approach. So I would be surprised to see him pursue criminal
accountability here in the U.S. and certainly with the new, more Republican Congress coming in in January, I don't think there's any real stomach on
Capitol Hill to do that.
But these are also crimes in the international community and we can't -- and we have no authority outside our borders to excuse this conduct. So
these are war crimes; they're violations of the convention against torture. And if these people leave the U.S., they face accountability in other
AMANPOUR: Let me go to heart of what the CIA says. Obviously it condemns this report; it said it's not full, it's incomplete and that it ignores the
fact that what they did was effective in stopping potential imminent attacks, in getting vital information. You have been a lawyer in some of
What do you say about that?
MORRIS: Well, again, if you look at the proponents, the torture advocates who are largely the people that are implicated by the report, so they
certainly have an interest in trying to excuse their own conduct, but they speak in broad terms about the harm that's going to happen about the
benefits that were accrued by this program. But you never see them give specifics.
I'm not aware of a single plot that was averted, a life that was saved because of the torture program. I think clearly there was a tremendous
amount of harm and damage that was done that's going to take years and years and years of effort to try to mitigate. But they never identify a
specific benefit that makes this program worthwhile. And I think the reason for that is because there is none.
AMANPOUR: Indeed, Senator Feinstein sort of dismissed the sort of so- called ticking time bomb scenario, finding no evidence that that was true in the investigations that they conducted.
What about you personally? You know, we read now in this report and in reports of the report that some of the lower level CIA, some of the medical
staff, some of the actual torturers were reluctant and maybe wanted to stop midway and were egged on by their leaders.
You yourself were told to prosecute Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11 or to deal with his case, based on information gathered by these
enhanced techniques. Tell me about that.
MORRIS: Yes, I think there were a number of us that looked at a number of these issues along the way and said, legally, morally and ethically, we
can't participate in this process. And it's interesting at the contrast. I mean, most of us that spoke up against torture were persecuted and those
that purveyed torture profited.
So it's a big of indication today, having this report come you, that what we stood up for and fought for was the right thing to do and it represents
American values and American principles.
What I hope happens and my fear is that if you -- historically, we have a tendency -- I mean, to me, accountability is top down, not bottom up. We
have a tendency to hold those at the bottom of the pyramid accountable and give immunity to those at the top. So I hope that going forward that we
put the blame where it ought to be, and that's at the top and not at the bottom.
AMANPOUR: You know, and again, Dianne Feinstein said that some of these people engaged in this conduct, you know, had questionable professional and
ethical values, not to mention their own competence.
Is this a rogue CIA operation? How would you describe this?
MORRIS: I think that's an accurate description. I mean, the program, again, now we're talking about events that took place primarily more than a
decade in the past. And I think it's looking back in hindsight, I think in the aftermath of 9/11, you can understand people in fear and panic doing
things that in the benefit of the calm of day you'd regret.
But we continue these programs long after the initial shock of 9/11 wore off. And again, you know, we contracted out a lot of it. We didn't have a
trained cadre of interrogators in the military or the CIA to turn to. So we contracted out. We brought in psychologists who had worked with the
military training program, where we trained American G.I.s on how to avoid torture if they fall into the hands of the enemy thugs. And we took that
training process and developed techniques that we used and we paid millions of dollars for people to do that. So it's -- it really is a sad chapter in
our nation's history.
And Ronald Reagan, when he sent the convention against torture to the Senate, he said torture is an abhorrent process and that the U.S. is
leading the effort to try to stamp it out worldwide, I think he would be shocked to see what his country has done.
AMANPOUR: And yet you must be sitting there, thinking, gee, this is quite magnificent. What other country in the world would air its dirty laundry
as has just happened for the entire world to see on global television?
MORRIS: Well, you know, we like to throw around the phrase, "American exceptionalism," and I think that is one of the things that makes us
exceptional is that we have a -- you know, we've made mistakes in our past. There are any number of instances you can look at where we've made
tremendous mistakes. But eventually we recognize those mistakes. We acknowledge them and we've become better people for it.
So I'm hopeful that this chapter will be another one of those points.
You may recall, President Obama back in May of 2013, when he gave his speech on national security here in Washington, he said we're at a
crossroads. Certainly this report today is an important fork in that road. And I'm hopeful that the American people will look at this and we will
choose the right fork.
AMANPOUR: Col. Davis, former chief prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay, thank you so much for joining me on this very important day.
Now as we said, many Republicans have condemned the report, as has the CIA. But Senator John McCain, himself tortured for years while held captive in
Vietnam, defended its release, saying that Americans must, quote, "know what was done in their name."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZ.: We need only remember, in the worst of times, through the chaos of terror of war, when facing cruelty, suffering and
loss, that we are always Americans and different, stronger and better than those who would destroy us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Up next on the program, we turn to Uganda. I speak to President Yoweri Museveni about how far he's taken his country forward and what is
still holding it back -- after this.
AMANPOUR: Welcome back to the program.
Now Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, today fired his deputy and eight other ministers, accusing them of plotting to kill him, which they denied
and called "ridiculous." It comes just days after the 90-year old was again chosen by his party as their candidate to run again in the 2018
presidential elections. No surprises there. And Mugabe is among a number of long-serving African leaders who's been in power for more than a quarter
of a century.
Another is Uganda's president, Yoweri Museveni, who became president back in 1986. On the one hand, his government is criticized for stifling the
opposition, failing to tackle corruption and ramming through harsh anti-gay laws. On the other hand, he's credited with bringing stability, reducing
HIV, boosting the economy and turning Uganda into a regional player.
Right now, President Museveni is on his first state visit to the UAE, where he's hoping to drum up foreign investment and he joins me live from Abu
Mr. President, welcome back to this program. And I want to start by asking, because you've been listening and you've been watching, do you
imagine that in your country you would ever hang out your dirty laundry as the United States has just done for the whole world to see with these rogue
CIA torture operations?
YOWERI MUSEVENI, PRESIDENT OF UGANDA: Well, in Uganda, we always bring out the dirty laundry. If somebody makes a mistake, we hold him accountable.
That's why our army's disciplined and if anybody makes a mistake, he would be held accountable and punished. We never have impunity in our country.
That's how we managed to bring stability to Uganda.
AMANPOUR: All right.
MUSEVENI: Without accountability, you cannot have stability.
AMANPOUR: All right. Well, let me ask you this, then. We just --
AMANPOUR: We've just talked about President Mugabe, who's been in power for a long, long time and at 90 years old, is again going to run for
elections. Do you think that's a good thing? Does that bring stability to your continent?
MUSEVENI: We never interfere in other people's affairs. The affairs of the Zimbabwe people are their own. All they want is that they go to
elections and if the elections and free and fair, whatever they decide is their decision.
AMANPOUR: What do you think?
MUSEVENI: (INAUDIBLE), others as what they should do --
AMANPOUR: What do you think about whether the elections are free and fair?
MUSEVENI: -- is for the.
Well, there was a subject team (ph), which went to the last elections of Zimbabwe and they said the elections were free and fair.
AMANPOUR: All right. Let me ask you about your own country.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you about your own situation. You have been in power since 1986 and as we said, you've been crediting with doing a huge amount
for Uganda but also criticized for stifling political opposition and even though there are some opposition parties, there are no term limits. And you
can run forever.
Is that a good thing?
And do you think you should allow opposition to compete on a level playing field?
MUSEVENI: The opposition in Uganda competes on a level playing field. There is no opposition which was stifled. The only time we restrained them
is when they are trying to damage property by going to damage people's property in the markets, claiming that they are demonstrating. If they
want to demonstrate, there are three areas where they can, stadiums and public squares, where they can go and demonstrate and not damage people's
property. That's all. But otherwise, we never restrain the opposition at all.
AMANPOUR: I understand that's your position. They obviously have a different position. But what do you think? Do you think that being in
power for 28 years is good for democracy? Do you think that you should sort of hand over power at some point and allow somebody else to run
MUSEVENI: The problem is all Africa and the world are not just to who, but what, what is being done, what should be done. That has been the program
of Africa. As to the who, who should run the country every five years, that is decided through a democratic election every five years. And if the
people say go ahead, then I don't see why there should be anything wrong with that.
And other countries in the world also have term agreements. They don't have term limits in Western Europe, in the -- in some of the countries in
Western Europe. The only difference is that maybe their parties are not popular and they don't win, like ours is, our party is very popular. It's
not surprising why it is because we solve so many of our people's problems --
AMANPOUR: All right.
MUSEVENI: -- that's why they elect us. And I really don't see any problem with that.
AMANPOUR: All right, Mr. Museveni.
Let me ask you this about your troops, who are active in the A.U. and trying to battle back Al-Shabaab.
There's a huge amount of problems and danger. You've seen the attacks in Kenya. Why is it not possible to get a grip and to defeat Al-Shabaab?
MUSEVENI: Al-Shabaab, we have defeated them in Mogadishu, in Somalia (ph), in the port barawi (ph), which you have done recently. They are operating
from the areas which we -- which are not under control. What it needs is either we send in more manpower or the Somali army become enabled to be the
one to control the rest of the country, because they're just -- there's some areas which are not controlled. These are the ones they are springing
from, to cause problems in Kenya.
AMANPOUR: So --
MUSEVENI: Otherwise, we have defeated Al-Shabaab.
AMANPOUR: Well, are you not alarmed by the problems, as you say they are causing still?
MUSEVENI: Well, I'm not surprised because they have a wrong ideology. They are -- what is should ideology, which they imported from the Middle East,
the ideology of chauvinism. In Africa we do not accept chauvinism. We don't care about people's identity. What we care about is common
interests. We believe that people with different identities, individuals (INAUDIBLE) should live together and work for the common interest.
But they should not try to impose a chauvinist program on others and we don't accept that. And we have defeated them. These residual attacks are
really desperate ones because they have failed to expand. We have chased them out of the major towns and they could be just from the rest of Somalia
if we had the -- either enough manpower by the African Union troops or the Somali army was able to surprise and take control of these areas, which are
not controlled by anybody now.
AMANPOUR: All right. President Museveni, you know that the anti-gay law in your country drew a huge amount of condemnation by many of your friends
outside and obviously many people inside Uganda.
It has been defeated and reversed. Do you -- are you pleased that it's been defeated and reversed? Or would you like to see it passed again?
MUSEVENI: We are discussing that issue among ourselves in our party and when we decide how to move, we shall inform the public. We are discussing
it internally within our party.
AMANPOUR: But you're the leader of your party. You don't want to see it passed again, do you?
MUSEVENI: No, I don't want to speak before we have reached a consensus. When it was initially passed, I did not sign the bill initially. Later on,
I signed it (INAUDIBLE) some provocations from outside because we didn't write (INAUDIBLE) which were emanating from certain quarters. But later
on, we have been having very intensive internal discussions and when we conclude, we shall come -- we shall inform the public.
AMANPOUR: Well, we'll await that decision.
President Museveni of Uganda, thank you very much for joining me from Abu Dhabi tonight.
And turning now to awards for the highest distinction in every discipline, tomorrow in Oslo, the Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded and we'll be live
from there. And talking of Nobels, imagine a world where one of the greatest Nobel winners of all time is being revered for an act of the
heart. Einstein's heartfelt support for Marie Curie, no less, next.
AMANPOUR: And finally tonight, some 80,000 documents, letters and diary entries belonging to the scientific genius, Albert Einstein, are now
online. Now imagine a world where the page that's gone viral doesn't have anything to do with his brilliant discoveries but his human compassion.
After meeting his fellow scientific trailblazer, Marie Curie, in 1911, Einstein leapt to her defense as scandal, sexism and xenophobia threatened
her career. Never mind that she had won two Nobel Prizes for discovering the elements radium and polonium, as well as for her research on radiation.
Einstein offered his heartfelt support.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): I'm impelled to tell you how much I have come to admire your intellect, your drive and your honesty and that I
consider myself lucky to have made your personal acquaintance in Brussels.
If the rabble continues to occupy itself with you, then simply don't read that hogwash; but rather leave it to the reptile from whom it has been
AMANPOUR: Imagine such professional respect instead of competition. Einstein would win the Nobel Prize for physics 10 years later. And just a
note: as our program comes from Oslo tomorrow, where the Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded, and I'll be talking to the youngest winner ever, Malala
Yousafzai, the brave Pakistani girl who stood up for girls' rights to education and who was shot by the Taliban. The stained school uniform that
she wore that day has gone on display for the first time. And of course I'll also talk to her cowinner, India's children's rights campaigner,
Kailash Satyarthi, and that will be a special edition of our program from Oslo.
And that's it for tonight. Thank you for watching and goodbye from London.