This week's feature story has been simmering for about four months. The process began shortly after the release of the United States Senate report on so-called "enhanced interrogation" techniques used in the years following 9/11. Otherwise known as the "torture report," the investigation encompassed 6.3 million pages of CIA records and took five years to winnow down to a 600-page summary. The findings were damning—that the United States had actively, albeit secretly, engaged in morally and legally questionable methods of detention and interrogation against suspected terrorists who quite often didn't have much information to give.
The report made international headlines after its release in early December 2014, but was quickly bumped from the news cycle by the Sony hack, which led to the premature release of the satirical anti-North Korea film The Interview. By the time that scandal died with a whimper, the report was all but forgotten.
Around Christmas time, with everything more or less quiet in the newsroom, I started digging around in the report looking for some kind of Idaho connection. I soon found it through a report from the Pacific Northwest Inlander, which had sent a reporter to confront one of key figures in the investigation, Dr. Bruce Jessen—referred to as "Dr. Hammond Dunbar" in the report—at his home outside Spokane, Wash. Allegedly, he and another psychologist were responsible for creating, overseeing and often administering the enhanced interrogation program. As it turned out, Jessen is an Idaho native. From there, the question was to find out where in Idaho he was born and try to get a sense for who he is. Here are the results of that effort.
Speaking of things that are cooking, visitors to boiseweekly.com will soon see some changes as we begin making some tweaks to our website. Specifically, we will be doing away with our blog sections—Cobweb and Citydesk—and rolling that content into our regular online sections, such as News, Arts, Music, Screen, Food, Opinion and Rec, in an effort to streamline our homepage and make for an easier reading experience. As always, you'll find regular story updates on facebook.com/boiseweekly.