Here's part of the article from Salon, the rest can be found here.
Bush officials said they only tortured terrorists after they wouldn't talk. New evidence shows they planned torture soon after 9/11 -- and used it to find links between al-Qaida and Saddam.
Download the entire Senate Armed Services Committee report here. Read about how the Bush administration may have pressured interrogators to use torture to extract information linking al-Qaida to Saddam Hussein here. Read about Donald Rumsfeld's role in promoting harsh interrogation techniques here.
The Senate Armed Services Committee has just released an exhaustive review of torture under the Bush administration that, among other revelations, torpedoes the notion that the administration only chose torture as a last resort. Bush officials have long argued that they turned to coercive interrogations in 2002 only after captured al-Qaida suspects wouldn't talk, but the report shows the administration set the wheels in motion soon after 9/11. The Bush White House began planning for torture in December 2001, set up a program to develop the interrogation techniques by the next month, and the military and the CIA began training interrogators in coercive practices in early 2002, before they had any high-value al-Qaida suspects or any trouble eliciting information from detainees.
As the report puts it, "The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees." The report undercuts the Obama administration's case for leniency against the CIA, since the agency was pursuing abusive techniques even before Department of Justice lawyers had issued their supposed legal justification for the techniques in August 2002. The report also shows that the administration appears to have attempted to use the abusive techniques to shore up its case for war in Iraq. Interrogators employed the techniques, which are notorious for producing bad intelligence, to get detainees to make statements linking Iraq and al-Qaida.
Bush and Cheney needed proof that al-Qaeda was operating in Iraq so they could prove that their actions there were justified. That was proof they never got, because there was never any proof that al-Qaeda was ever there.