isn't a new thing, it's been in use since at least the 1500s during the Spanish Inquisition. The suffocation of bound prisoners with water has long been favored by tortureres because, unlike most other torture techniques, it produces no marks on the body. After WWII the US held war crimes trails, found Japanese officers guilty of torture for their use of water boarding and executed them.
"...the Tokyo Trials, officially known as the International Military Tribunal for the Far East. After World War II, an international coalition convened to prosecute Japanese soldiers charged with torture. At the top of the list of techniques was water-based interrogation, known variously then as 'water cure,' 'water torture' and 'waterboarding,' according to the charging documents. It simulates drowning. A number of the Japanese soldiers convicted by American judges were hanged, while others received lengthy prison sentences or time in labor camps." - Politifact
started the ball rolling by asking many members of the Justice Dept. to write opinions about the use of torture. They recieved about 30 different opinions from various lawyers who worked there. Of those, 2 supported [Bybee and Yoo] its use, the rest opposed it as criminal and/or immoral. As we now know the Bushistas cherry picked the two by Bybee and Yoo because they fit the agenda.
A few months back an arrogantly smirking Obama acknowledged during a White House briefing that "We tortured some folks." The evil asshole tried to excuse the immoral and illegal acts by asking everyone to remember "how afraid people were at the time". Bet the Japanese and the non-Christians...all of 'em we call tortureers were scared too. As Edmund Burke said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Obama chose nothing.
Today's Senate report is widely condemned as redacted ad ubsurdium, as edited by the CIA, etc. but possibly the worst mistake in most articles is the deliberate confusion between right and wrong when talking about illegal vs.effective. In the old days, immoral and expedient were understood to be opposites, now not delivering good intelligence is an acceptable reason to oppose torture It's bullshit and not the garden variety.
Glen Greenwald's website The Intercept is the best source to watch the events unfolding in response to the release as well as more detailed background info. The program was not isolated to just a few cases, as if often suggested, writes Greenwald, but rather "was an officially sanctioned, worldwide regime of torture that had the acquiescence, if not explicit approval, of the top members of both political parties in Congress."- Glenn Greenwald