Logo for the Center for Victims of Torture

Fact 9

Last updated: July 19, 2023

The CIA torture program was wasteful.

The CIA paid contract psychologists and torture program architects James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen over $80 million. Torture program non-personnel costs exceeded $300 million. The CIA then spent nearly $40 million in an unprecedented effort to keep documents away from the Senate intelligence committee during its oversight investigation:

  • Rather than provide documents for the committee to review in its own secure Senate office—as is standard practice—the CIA insisted on establishing a separate leased facility and a “stand-alone” computer network for committee use.
  • The CIA hired teams of contractors to review every document, multiple times, to ensure they were relevant and not potentially subject to a claim of executive privilege. Only after those costly reviews were the documents then provided to committee staff.
  • Chairman Feinstein wrote several letters objecting to this unprecedented action, pointing out the wasted expense and unnecessary delays. Later, this arrangement at the off-site CIA facility allowed CIA personnel to remove documents it had provided for the committee’s use and to inappropriately gain access to the committee staff’s computer network.