Poll: 52% of Americans Believe Releasing Senate Report Hurts U.S. More Than 'Torture'

Poll: 52% of Americans Believe Releasing Senate Report Hurts U.S. More Than 'Torture'

The majority of Americans believe that publicly releasing the Senate Democrat’s report on the CIA’s interrogation and detention program is more harmful to U.S. interests than the use of “torture” against jihadists, a recent poll shows.  

According to a new YouGov poll, 52 percent of Americans believe “making public a report that details the use of torture against terrorist suspects by the American government” hurts U.S. interests more than “the use of torture against terrorist suspects by the American government.”  

Only 29 percent said that “torture” itself was more harmful to U.S. interests than releasing the report. 

Republicans were the largest political group to agree that releasing the report hurts U.S. interests more than the torture of jihadists.  

While 40 percent of Democrats and 46 percent of Independents believe that the use of “torture” against terrorists is more harmful than releasing the report, 79 percent of Republicans believe the opposite. 

The poll shows that more women (54 percent) than men (50 percent) were in line with the majority of Americans who believe making the report public hurts U.S. interests.   

YouGov also found that a total of 66 percent of Americans are unwilling to rule out “torture” completely.  

However, up to 45 percent consider most interrogation tactics detailed in the report, including waterboarding, unacceptable. 

Only sleep deprivation is deemed an acceptable tactic by the majority of the public.

Responses were highly polarized along political lines. 

Republicans believe all the enhanced interrogation tactics (EITs) highlighted in the Senate majority report are acceptable, except for one (“rectal feeding”). 

Meanwhile, Democrats believe all EITs are unacceptable. The most disliked tactic by the American public was a practice the report calls “rectal feeding,” which the poll describes as “feeding a detainee by pumping a food into his anus.”    

When asked whether torture is justified, 38 percent of Democrats say it is never justified, compared to just 11 percent of Republicans. 

Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) made the decision to release a 500-page report authored by the Democrats on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The report, which was made public on Dec.9, condemns the CIA’s detention and interrogation program and refers to EITs as “torture.”  

Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), the ranking-member of the Senate intelligence panel, came out against Feinstein’s decision to make the report public, along with other Republicans. 

CIA Director John Brennan, who was appointed by President Obama, disagrees with some of the report’s findings, including the Senate majority’s conclusion that EIT’s did not help save any lives.  

Brennan has also dismissed the report as partisan because the investigators did not bother to interview CIA personnel involved in the program. 

The CIA director and 48 percent of Americans believe EIT’s were used to locate Osama bin Laden, contrary to what the Senate majority’s report concluded. 

As far as political party identification is concerned, 46 percent of Democrats, 40 percent of Independents and 64 percent of Republicans agree that the tactics contributed to finding bin Laden. 


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