Fox News has condemned the release of a damning report into the CIA's use of torture as a political manoeuvre designed to show Americans "how we’re not awesome".
The broadcaster's National Security Analyst K.T. McFarland argued that the techniques were both "legal and justified" by the 9/11 terror attacks.
And she denounced the publication of the Senate Intelligence Committee report as a move made by Democrats to "do harm" to the country by angering terrorists.
"Why go after it now unless the motivation is completely political?" she said.
"Congress is changing hands, the Senate is going from Democrat to Republican hands. And are the Democrats in the Senate just — they’ve been evicted from the house, are they just trashing the place before they leave?"
CIA torture report: The 10 most harrowing stories
CIA torture report: The 10 most harrowing stories
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1. Of the 119 CIA detainees, 26 should not have been apprehended. Among them was Abu Hudhaifa, who was “subjected to ice water baths and 66 hours of standing sleep deprivation” before the CIA discovered that he was probably “not the person he was believed to be.”
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2. President Bush received his first briefing on enhanced interrogation techniques in 2006, about four years after the programme started. According to CIA records, Bush expressed discomfort with an image of a detainee “chained to the ceiling, clothed in a diaper.”
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3. The CIA used rectal feeding and rectal rehydration on at least five detainees. Even though detainee Majid Khan was cooperating with feedings, for example, the CIA subjected him to “involuntary rectal feeding and rectal hydration” and would puree his lunch tray, which was then “rectally infused.”
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4. CIA interrogators threatened to harm the family members of at least three detainees. In one case, a detainee was told that his mother's throat would be cut.
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5. The CIA apprehended two foreigners working for a “partner government” allied with the agency. They were subjected to sleep deprivation and dietary manipulation. The two detainees were trying to give the CIA information on possible future al-Qaeda attacks. It took them months to get released.
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6. Abu Zubaida, the CIA's first detainee, spent 266 hours in a coffin-size confinement box. Zubaida, who was born Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein, often “cried, begged, pleaded, and whimpered” and was told that the only way he would leave the facility was in the coffin-shaped box.
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7. When Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who was waterboarded 183 times, tried to breathe during the procedure, interrogators held his lips and poured water over his mouth.
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8. The Senate committee found a photo of what looked like a well-used waterboarding station at a site where there was no reported use of the technique. The CIA could not explain the presence of the waterboard.
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9. Of the at least 26 detainees who were wrongfully held, one was “intellectually challenged.” Interrogators taped this detainee crying and used it as leverage against one of his relatives.
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CIA officers would “strip a detainee naked, shackle him in the standing position for up to 72 hours, and douse [him] repeatedly with cold water.”
Ms McFarland made the comments on the news channel's Out Numbered programme, moments after Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein announced on the floor of the Senate that the long-delayed torture report had been made public.
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She was backed up by Out Numbered host Andrea Tantaros, who said the country didn't need the CIA to be transparent because it is "awesome".
"The United States of America is awesome, we are awesome," she said. "The reason they want to have this discussion is not to show how awesome we are. This administration wants to have this discussion to show us how we’re not awesome."
Fox News correspondent Jesse Watters also told the hosts of Out Numbered that the American people did not need to know about torture at the CIA because “people do nasty things in the dark especially after a terrorist attack.”
“Senate Democrats, they’re just trying to get one last shot in at Bush before they go into the minority,” he said.
According to the Pew Research Center, in July 2004 a majority (53 per cent) of Americans said the use of torture to gain important information from suspected terrorists was "rarely or never justified".
Since then, however, opinion has shifted – with more Americans finding torture acceptable. In August 2011, a majority (53 per cent) said the use of torture was "often or sometimes justified", while 42 per cent said it would "rarely be justified" or "not be justified at all".
And in 2012, a YouGov poll of 1,000 adults revealed that 47 per cent believed that the use of torture against suspected terrorists who may know details about future terrorist attacks against the US was "always, or sometimes justified" – compared to 41 per cent who believed it was "rarely, or never justified".Reuse content