The planned destruction brought to American shores on Sept. 11, 2001 gave birth to massive worldwide outrage and a palpable desperation for answers. Torture tactics filled in where patience failed. Lenient humanity was no longer sufficient for top operatives, who were scouring the world for the terrorists responsible for the deaths of 2,977 Americans.

When torture replaced tolerance, interrogation experts were given permission to perform extreme measures on suspects, and the accounts of those acts were carefully documented and released last week. From waterboarding, prolonged sleep deprivation, facial slapping, and wall standing, to being shackled in cramped confinement for days at a time, the interrogators acted on a common goal: to extract information despite inhumane torture. Anger poured out of Americans and countries around the world alike when they found out exactly what tax dollars were paying for — yet their concerns overshadow the interrogators’ health.

Interrogation Report’s Release & Ripple Effect

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence said they were prepared for a wide variety of reactions and criticisms from people around the world after the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program Report was released. They reassured the goal was to create transparency and consistency through the messages America sends out to the world. The Committee felt the world needed to see step-by-step how America moved past the George W. Bush administration’s “enhanced interrogation” techniques and reinstated integrity back into the program. In many instances, even the president at the time, George W. Bush, was unaware of the extent of torture taking place.

Weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the CIA began a deep investigation into hunting down the suspected culprits. However, many of their interrogation tactics were questionable, which is why 93 percent of the “Top Secret” logs have been declassified for the international public eye. Committee members felt a country founded on democracy could not uphold and demand justice for human dignity while interrogations involve torture. They began looking into the interrogations in 2007 after learning the CIA destroyed 92 videotapes with hundreds of hours of detainees being severely tortured two years earlier. The Bush administration’s torture program formally ended when President Barack Obama’s executive order was finalized on Jan. 22, 2009.

“This release is an important milestone for the U.S. for underscoring transparency and our support of human rights,” senior administration officials said in a phone conference call with Medical Daily. It took months of negotiations for the White House, CIA, and the Senate Intelligence Committee to edit and release the 500-page executive summary report. Officials said they thoroughly prepared and researched the information they were willing to release in order to ensure the report would not put domestically and internationally based Americans or other countries in harm’s way.

They blocked out the names of different suspects and 54 countries who partnered with U.S. intelligence to host the prisons that held America’s captives. But aside from maintaining global peace, it is the individuals involved in the torturing many are worried about. Not one person who performed the questionable interrogations was prosecuted or held to any judicial reformation. The public agrees — 51 percent of the American public believes the CIA methods were justified, while 29 percent said they were not, according to a national survey released today from Pew Research Center. It is important to remember they were acting under the CIA’s guise and have not walked away unscathed.

What It Takes To Torture A Human Being

In November 2002, CIA Officer 1 ordered a detainee to be shackled to the wall of his cell prison and “forced to sit on the bare concrete floor without pants.” The next day the guards found the suspect had died of hypothermia. Officers led the detainees to believe they would never leave CIA custody, and one officer said he’d never allow his detainee to go to court because “we can never let the world know what I have done to you.”

In another instance, when detainees refused to eat they were fed rectally with a tube in order to keep them alive. They didn't receive medical clearance for the feeding, and the public has since misinterpreted it as one of the many torture tactics. But when the Federal Bureau of Prisons personnel visited one of the interrogation facilities, they reported “they have never been in a facility where individuals are so sensory deprived, i.e., constant white noise, no talking, everyone in the dark.” They said they understood the importance of their mission, but the detainees were not being treated humanely.

Last year, one study found the Golden Rule drives us away from harming another because it activates the same area of the brain and mimics physical pain. The personal cost of hurting another may be direct, indirect, and immediate or delayed, but no one escapes it, unless an authoritative figure gives you permission.

More than 50 years ago, Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram proved this theory through a series of obedience experiments. He found if a person in an authoritative position ordered you to deliver a 400-volt electrical shock to another person, you would knowingly flip the switch. It was an effort to peel back, dissect, and understand how thousands willingly tortured and starved holocaust camp prisoners under Hitler’s regime.

When one human tortures another, it can physically hurt him. However, if an authoritative figure provides permission or even encouragement, compliance skyrockets. The conflict between personal conscience diminishes when an authoritative figure is introduced because weight of responsibility is lifted from the person and placed on the authority. The officers who were ordered to extract time-sensitive information from suspected terrorists were relieved of their role as an inhumane torturer because the CIA took the burden of authority.

American onlookers and people around the world who may look down upon the actions of the CIA have the opportunity to rethink the psychology behind their motives. It may seem unthinkable to turn a drill on next to another human’s head and threaten their family’s life, as several detainees experienced according to the report. It may be horrific to picture CIA officers forcing men with broken feet to stand for hours as they demand information from them, but is it possible humaneness was shed at the foot of prisoners’ cell doors when they stepped into their roles as obedient employees?