CIA agents carried out mock executions and threatened a prisoner with a gun and a power drill as part of the “war on terror”.
They also threatened Al Qaida leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed by saying they would kill his children if there was another terror attack on the US.
This abuse of prisoners was revealed after sections of a CIA report were made public.
George Bush had kept the 2004 report secret.
But an edited version has been released after a legal challenge by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The US Justice Department has not explained why it has not brought charges against CIA operatives in nearly two dozen cases referred to it by a team of federal prosecutors.
Even the details of some cases have not been made public.
Former government lawyers have said that some of the detainees died and others suffered serious abuses.
Manadel al-Jamadi died in 2003 while in CIA custody at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq after he was captured by US Navy Seals. Prosecutors said he probably received his fatal injuries during his capture, but Navy Seals’ lawyers denied it.
Pressure is mounting on US president Barack Obama to deliver on his promises of openness concerning torture.