According to a long-awaited US Senate report, the CIA repeatedly misled the government over the severity and effectiveness of its interrogation methods.
The Washington Post revealed Senate report said that the CIA used secret “black sites” to interrogate prisoners using techniques not previously acknowledged.
These included dunking suspects in icy water and smashing a prisoner’s head against a wall.
The findings stem from the time of former President George W. Bush.
Officials familiar with the secret document said that the CIA’s interrogation program yielded little useful intelligence.
They also said that this intelligence had then been exaggerated so that the interrogation program looked more effective than it actually was.
The report is the result of a wide-ranging investigation by the Senate intelligence committee into CIA activities which began in 2009.
The committee will meet on Thursday to decide on whether to send a summarized version to President Barack Obama for eventual public release.
Officials at the CIA’s headquarters ordered officers to continue with harsh interrogations even after they were convinced that the prisoners had no more information to give, the Washington Post said.
One official said that almost all the valuable intelligence from al-Qaeda suspect Abu Zubaida was gained before he was waterboarded 83 times.
The report also spoke of divisions within the CIA in protest at the conditions prisoners were forced to endure.
A CIA spokesman told the Washington Post the agency had not yet seen a final version of the report and so could not officially comment on its contents.
However, current and former officials told the paper privately that the 6,300 page study contained factual errors and misguided conclusions.
Earlier in March the head of the Senate intelligence committee accused the CIA of improperly accessing Senate computers during the investigation.
Senator Dianne Feinstein said that the alleged hacking “may have undermined the constitutional framework” of government oversight.