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Snowden slams CIA torture as an ‘inexcusable crime’

He is “deeply saddened and to a great extent angered.”


Patrick Howell O'Neill


Posted on Dec 11, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 12:22 am CDT

Americans committed “inexcusable crimes” when they conducted torture on detainees, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden said during a recent video conference for Amnesty International’s celebration of the International Day of Human Rights.

“If we do not prosecute [the torturers], we cannot move forward as a society,” he said.

Snowden spoke from Moscow to the event in Paris about the recent release of the U.S. Senate intelligence committee’s report on CIA torture during the George W. Bush administration.

Snowden says he is “deeply saddened and to a great extent angered” both by what he read and by the tone of the conversation.

“A government could say that rape has a positive effect because we have a declining demographic crisis in the country,” Snowden argued. “Efficiency has no place in the debate about right and wrong.”

While the world-famous National Security Agency leaker praised the release of the Senate’s recent torture report, he lamented that “this does nothing in terms of holding the officials who ordered this behavior, and the officers who actually directly engaged in torture, to account.”

Snowden talked about his work at the CIA and suspicions of agency actions during his tenure. He also criticized torture defenders and compared the U.S. actions to those of Nazis during World War II, who were prosecuted at Nuremberg for many of the acts committed by the CIA in the last decade. 

“Individuals actually lost their lives—they died—after being chained to a concrete floor in an unheated room, half naked. And rather than having the officer who ordered that behavior be prosecuted, he actually received a monetary bonus from the CIA of $2,500. These are things that leave a stain on the moral authority of the U.S. government,” he said.

H/T World Bulletin | Photo via Citizenfour

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*First Published: Dec 11, 2014, 2:13 pm CST