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Andy Mangold/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed

The CIA’s history of torturing innocent people

One day would be too long.


Patrick Howell O'Neill


The CIA’s torture program detained and interrogated innocent people for a combined total of 11 years, according to the Senate report released last week. At least 26 prisoners were “wrongfully detained,” according to CIA records, and three were tortured.

The U.S. government has not issued a single apology for mistakenly condemning innocent people to the CIA program’s abusive conditions, even in the case of Gul Rahman, an Afghani man whose exposure to CIA torture eventually killed him. Before the release of the Senate report, the government had never even acknowledged this or other cases of mistaken detention.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney, the program’s highest-profile cheerleader, didn’t much mind the torturing of innocent people when he addressed the program and the Senate report after its release. Speaking on NBC’s Meet the Press, Cheney said he would use the same interrogation methods “again in a minute.”

“I’m more concerned with bad guys who got out and released,” he said, “than I am with a few that in fact were innocent.” has produced numerous data visualizations to help people understand exactly what happened in the CIA’s program. The graphic below illustrates how long wrongfully detained individuals were in CIA custody.

For context, here is data showing how many days the CIA kept all of the detainees whose identities we now know.

Photo via Andy Mangold/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed

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The Daily Dot