IN A MAY 7 BRIEFING to Senate Intelligence Committee staffers, also obtained by The Intercept, Crosby asserted that during Nashiri’s torture “unauthorized techniques were always used with authorized techniques.” Crosby stated that she could not discuss these “unauthorized techniques” because they remain classified. She cited a public statement from one of the CIA contractors who developed the enhanced interrogation program, psychologist James Mitchell, who said he witnessed an interrogator “dousing Nashiri with cold water while using a stiff, bristled brush to scrub his ass and balls and then his mouth and then blowing cigar smoke in his face until he became nauseous.” She offered to brief senators with appropriate security clearances on other classified unauthorized techniques.
“The bottom line on the Haspel nomination,” said Wyden, “is that the vast amount of information about her background could be declassified without compromising sources and methods, and that really does a disservice to the American people.”
Crosby told Senate staffers that the CIA’s “methodology consisted of strategic assaults — multiple traumas inflicted simultaneously, as well as consecutively, in a manner designed to instill terror and maximize harm in the prisoners.” The interrogation program, she stated, showed that “torture is not just a crime of physical violence, but a way of destroying someone’s humanity.” Crosby added: “It is important to note that the barbarity of the torture methods used were shrouded and concealed in sterile euphemisms.”
In the briefing, Crosby described the torture in graphic, albeit unclassified, terms:
The terror of being kept naked in pitch-black, shackled to the ceiling while music blared, covered in urine and feces while insects crawled on their bodies, in dank cells that were freezing cold or unbearably hot. The horrific conditions in between interrogations were in some cases as bad as the interrogations. These torture methods were inflicted for hours and days, for weeks at a time, over the course of years. The men became disoriented with no sense of when the abuse would stop. Some of the men wished for death.
She concluded her briefing: “The devastating human cost to this torture program cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, this toll is largely hidden due to ongoing secrecy and control that the CIA exercises. This is what I can say due to security restrictions.”
Crosby, who is currently at the Guantánamo prison examining Nashiri, told The Intercept that she could not offer further details because they are classified and, for the same reason, cannot speak about Haspel’s specific role in Nashiri’s torture. However, a brief prepared by Crosby’s organization, Physicians for Human Rights, asserts:
The CIA site in Thailand formed the blueprint for the rest of the CIA torture program. After her assignment there, Haspel continued to hold senior operational roles in the program, where presumably she would have been in a position to know about other abuses at other sites. Moreover, she was an enthusiastic supporter of the program and worked to protect it from criticism. This included drafting a cable ordering the shredding of videotapes depicting torture sessions, despite a court order staying their destruction. This act of cover-up should have led to Haspel’s dismissal – and should most certainly disqualify her from the role of leading the CIA.