Although the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence study itself is noticeably reticent to call what the CIA did torture, mostly using the word in footnotes, and talking about laws against, and concerns about, torture it does say, in the foreword by Committee chairman Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), that, “While the Office of Legal Counsel found otherwise between 2002 and 2007, it is my personal conclusion that, under any common meaning of the term, CIA detainees were tortured.”
People will be furiously debating the cons and pros — and yes, there are people, besides Dick Cheney and Fox News commentators who think torture is okay — of government sponsored torture.
But to focus just on the government misses the forest for the trees. Let’s give full credit where it is due. This was not just a public sector activity. This was a joint public-private sector initiative, done with the witting, if not altogether competent, participation of the private sector.