military personnel at the U.S. Air Force Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) school, which was designed to prepare U.S. military personnel for the conditions and treatment to which they might be subjected if taken prisoner by countries that do not adhere to the Geneva Conventions.
As it began detention and interrogation operations, the CIA deployed personnel who lacked relevant training and experience. The CIA began interrogation training more than seven months after taking custody of Abu Zubaydah, and more than three months after the CIA began using its "enhanced interrogation techniques." CIA Director George Tenet issued formal guidelines for interrogations and conditions of confinement at detention sites in January 2003, by which time 40 of the 119 known detainees had been detained by the CIA.
#12: The CIA's management and operation of its Detention and Interrogation Program was deeply flawed throughout the program's duration, particularly so in 2002 and early 2003.
The CIA's COBALT detention facility in Countrybegan operations in September 2002 and ultimately housed more than half of the 119 CIA detainees identified in this Study. The CIA kept few formal records of the detainees in its custody at COBALT. Untrained CIA officers at the facility conducted frequent, unauthorized, and unsupervised interrogations of detainees using harsh physical interrogation techniques that were not—and never became—part of the CIA's formal "enhanced" interrogation program. The CIA placed a junior officer with no relevant experience in charge of COBALT. On November , 2002, a detainee who had been held partially nude and chained to a concrete floor died from suspected hypothermia at the facility. At the time, no single unit at CIA Headquarters had clear responsibility for CIA detention and interrogation operations. In interviews conducted in 2003 with the Office of Inspector General, CIA's leadership and senior attorneys acknowledged that they had little or no awareness of operations at COBALT, and some believed that enhanced interrogation techniques were not used there.
Although CIA Director Tenet in January 2003 issued guidance for detention and interrogation activities, serious management problems persisted. For example, in December 2003, CIA personnel reported that they had made the "unsettling discovery" that the CIA had been "holding a number of detainees about whom" the CIA knew "very little" at multiple detention sites in Country 29
Divergent lines of authority for interrogation activities persisted through at least 2003. Tensions among interrogators extended to complaints about the safety and effectiveness of each other's interrogation practices.
The CIA placed individuals with no applicable experience or training in senior detention and interrogation roles, and provided inadequate linguistic and analytical support to conduct effective questioning of CIA detainees, resulting in diminished intelligence. The lack of CIA personnel available to question detainees, which the CIA inspector general referred to as "an ongoing problem,"30 persisted throughout the program.
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