After profiling Jim Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the two Air Force psychologists who helped develop the Bush administration's torture program, the New York Times takes a look at the CIA's secret prisons, the construction of which were overseen by disgraced former CIA official Kyle "Dusty" Foggo, now doing a bid in prison for bribery.

The Times goes into greater detail about the location and construction of the prisons than we've seen before, and notes that the population of CIA secret prisoners were small -- less than 100, according to former CIA Director Michael Hayden. However, many of them are still missing (ProPublica has compiled a list of those unaccounted for). Torture aside, the conditions of confinement closely resemble those of so-called supermax prisons -- 23-hour solitary confinement and such -- raising once again the question of why some people seem to believe American prisons are incapable of effectively confining terrorist suspects. American prison experts have been confining dangerous people for years; the CIA only got in the business of doing so after 2001.

Perhaps the most jarring of the revelations was how much profit there was in the business of torture. Private contractors played a role in the construction of the black site prisons. How much they made, exactly, is classified But Mitchell and Jessen, despite having no "language skills and no expertise on Al Qaeda" but rather an "intimate knowledge of a brutal treatment regimen used decades ago by Chinese Communists," secured contracts so lucrative that Mitchell, for example, built a home with a pool valued at almost a million dollars.

-- A. Serwer

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