As 2014 rattled its way towards the grave, a Senate report into the agency’s interrogation techniques confirmed that it used brutal and ineffective methods to try squeezing information from suspects rounded up after 9/11. What was generally missed in the coverage of this coverage is that “Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape” (SERE), a torture survival program that the CIA’s methods were based on, had already caused a national scandal back in 1995 because of the use of similar techniques. That year, television and newspapers reported complaints of physical and sexual abuse by US Air Force (ASAF) cadets who had been through the SERE program.
The Senate Intelligence Committee report explained the CIA did not use experienced interrogators to design their program. Instead they turned to experts in SERE. This is a training program meant to prepare Air Force pilots and other personnel to deal with capture. According to the Senate report, SERE “exposes select US military personnel to, among other things, coercive interrogation techniques that they might be subjected to if taken prisoner by countries that did not adhere to Geneva protections.”….