Decoding the secret black sites on the Senate’s report on the CIA interrogation program
December 15, 2014
The public version of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA detention program refers to the agency’s post-Sept.11 “black sites” as color-themed codes. Other details in the report, however, help indicate the locations of the secret prisons.
Note: This does not include Morocco, which was not a CIA-controlled facility.
By Adam Goldman and Julie Tate December 9
Find this story at 9 December 2014
Interactive: 119 detainees held in secret CIA prisons
View timeline: CIA’s use of harsh interrogation
The Media Is Focusing On the WRONG Senate Torture Report (2014)
December 15, 2014
The Big Story Torture Everyone Is Missing
While the torture report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee is very important, it doesn’t address the big scoop regarding torture.
Instead, it is the Senate Armed Services Committee’s report that dropped the big bombshell regarding the U.S. torture program.
Senator Levin, commenting on a Armed Services Committee’s report on torture in 2009, explained:
The techniques are based on tactics used by Chinese Communists against American soldiers during the Korean War for the purpose of eliciting FALSE confessions for propaganda purposes. Techniques used in SERE training include stripping trainees of their clothing, placing them in stress positions, putting hoods over their heads, subjecting them to face and body slaps, depriving them of sleep, throwing them up against a wall, confining them in a small box, treating them like animals, subjecting them to loud music and flashing lights, and exposing them to extreme temperatures [and] waterboarding.
McClatchy filled in important details:
Former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that the interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration…
For most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there.”
It was during this period that CIA interrogators waterboarded two alleged top al Qaida detainees repeatedly — Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times in August 2002 and Khalid Sheik Muhammed 183 times in March 2003 — according to a newly released Justice Department document…
When people kept coming up empty, they were told by Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people to push harder,” he continued.” Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people were told repeatedly, by CIA . . . and by others, that there wasn’t any reliable intelligence that pointed to operational ties between bin Laden and Saddam . . .
A former U.S. Army psychiatrist, Maj. Charles Burney, told Army investigators in 2006 that interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility were under “pressure” to produce evidence of ties between al Qaida and Iraq.
“While we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq,” Burney told staff of the Army Inspector General. “The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link . . . there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.”
“I think it’s obvious that the administration was scrambling then to try to find a connection, a link (between al Qaida and Iraq),” [Senator] Levin said in a conference call with reporters. “They made out links where they didn’t exist.”
Levin recalled Cheney’s assertions that a senior Iraqi intelligence officer had met Mohammad Atta, the leader of the 9/11 hijackers, in the Czech Republic capital of Prague just months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The FBI and CIA found that no such meeting occurred.
The Washington Post reported the same year:
Despite what you’ve seen on TV, torture is really only good at one thing: eliciting false confessions. Indeed, Bush-era torture techniques, we now know, were cold-bloodedly modeled after methods used by Chinese Communists to extract confessions from captured U.S. servicemen that they could then use for propaganda during the Korean War.
So as shocking as the latest revelation in a new Senate Armed Services Committee report may be, it actually makes sense — in a nauseating way. The White House started pushing the use of torture not when faced with a “ticking time bomb” scenario from terrorists, but when officials in 2002 were desperately casting about for ways to tie Iraq to the 9/11 attacks — in order to strengthen their public case for invading a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 at all.
Gordon Trowbridge writes for the Detroit News: “Senior Bush administration officials pushed for the use of abusive interrogations of terrorism detainees in part to seek evidence to justify the invasion of Iraq, according to newly declassified information discovered in a congressional probe.
Colin Powell’s former chief of staff (Colonel Larry Wilkerson) wrote in 2009 that the Bush administration’s “principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at pre-empting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al-Qaeda.”
Indeed, one of the two senior instructors from the Air Force team which taught U.S. servicemen how to resist torture by foreign governments when used to extract false confessions has blown the whistle on the true purpose behind the U.S. torture program.
As Truthout reported:
[Torture architect] Jessen’s notes were provided to Truthout by retired Air Force Capt. Michael Kearns, a “master” SERE instructor and decorated veteran who has previously held high-ranking positions within the Air Force Headquarters Staff and Department of Defense (DoD).
The Jessen notes clearly state the totality of what was being reverse-engineered – not just ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’ but an entire program of exploitation of prisoners using torture as a central pillar,” he said. “What I think is important to note, as an ex-SERE Resistance to Interrogation instructor, is the focus of Jessen’s instruction. It is EXPLOITATION, not specifically interrogation. And this is not a picayune issue, because if one were to ‘reverse-engineer’ a course on resistance to exploitation then what one would get is a plan to exploit prisoners, not interrogate them. The CIA/DoD torture program appears to have the same goals as the terrorist organizations or enemy governments for which SV-91 and other SERE courses were created to defend against: the full exploitation of the prisoner in his intelligence, propaganda, or other needs held by the detaining power, such as the recruitment of informers and double agents. Those aspects of the US detainee program have not generally been discussed as part of the torture story in the American press.”
In a subsequent report, Truthout notes:
Air Force Col. Steven Kleinman, a career military intelligence officer recognized as one of the DOD’s most effective interrogators as well a former SERE instructor and director of intelligence for JPRA’s teaching academy, said …. “This is the guidebook to getting false confessions, a system drawn specifically from the communist interrogation model that was used to generate propaganda rather than intelligence” …. “If your goal is to obtain useful and reliable information this is not the source book you should be using.”
Interrogators also forced detainees to take drugs … which further impaired their ability to tell the truth.
And one of the two main architects of the torture program admitted this week on camera:
You can get people to say anything to stop harsh interrogations if you apply them in a way that does that.
And false confessions were, in fact, extracted.
A humanitarian aid worker said: torture only stopped when I pretended I was in Al Qaeda
Under torture, Libyan Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi falsely claimed there was a link between Saddam Hussein, al-Qaida and WMD
President Bush mentioned Abu Zubaydah as a success story, where torture saved lives. Zubaydah was suspected of being a high-ranking al-Qaida leader. Bush administration officials claimed Zubaydah told them that al-Qaida had links with Saddam Hussein. He also claimed there was a plot to attack Washington with a “dirty bomb”. Both claims are now recognized to be false, even by the CIA, which also admits he was never a member of al-Qaida.
One of the Main Sources for the 9/11 Commission Report was Tortured Until He Agreed to Sign a Confession that He Was NOT EVEN ALLOWED TO READ
The so-called 9/11 mastermind said: “During … my interrogation I gave a lot of false information in order to satisfy what I believed the interrogators wished to hear” (the self-confessed 9/11 “mastermind” falsely confessed to crimes he didn’t commit)
And the 9/11 Commission Report was largely based on a third-hand account of what tortured detainees said, with two of the three parties in the communication being government employees. And the government went to great lengths to obstruct justice and hide unflattering facts from the Commission.
According to NBC News:
Much of the 9/11 Commission Report was based upon the testimony of people who were tortured
At least four of the people whose interrogation figured in the 9/11 Commission Report have claimed that they told interrogators information as a way to stop being “tortured.”
The 9/11 Commission itself doubted the accuracy of the torture confessions, and yet kept their doubts to themselves
Today, Raymond McGovern – a 27-year CIA veteran, who chaired National Intelligence Estimates and personally delivered intelligence briefings to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, their Vice Presidents, Secretaries of State, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and many other senior government officials – provides details about one torture victim (Al-Libi) at former Newsweek and AP reporter Robert Parry’s website:
But if it’s bad intelligence you’re after, torture works like a charm. If, for example, you wish to “prove,” post 9/11, that “evil dictator” Saddam Hussein was in league with al-Qaeda and might arm the terrorists with WMD, bring on the torturers.
It is a highly cynical and extremely sad story, but many Bush administration policymakers wanted to invade Iraq before 9/11 and thus were determined to connect Saddam Hussein to those attacks. The PR push began in September 2002 – or as Bush’s chief of staff Andrew Card put it, “From a marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.”
By March 2003 – after months of relentless “marketing” – almost 70 percent of Americans had been persuaded that Saddam Hussein was involved in some way with the attacks of 9/11.
The case of Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi, a low-level al-Qaeda operative, is illustrative of how this process worked. Born in Libya in 1963, al-Libi ran an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan from 1995 to 2000. He was detained in Pakistan on Nov. 11, 2001, and then sent to a U.S. detention facility in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He was deemed a prize catch, since it was thought he would know of any Iraqi training of al-Qaeda.
The CIA successfully fought off the FBI for first rights to interrogate al-Libi. FBI’s Dan Coleman, who “lost” al-Libi to the CIA (at whose orders, I wonder?), said, “Administration officials were always pushing us to come up with links” between Iraq and al-Qaeda.
CIA interrogators elicited some “cooperation” from al-Libi through a combination of rough treatment and threats that he would be turned over to Egyptian intelligence with even greater experience in the torture business.
By June 2002, al-Libi had told the CIA that Iraq had “provided” unspecified chemical and biological weapons training for two al-Qaeda operatives, an allegation that soon found its way into other U.S. intelligence reports. Al-Libi’s treatment improved as he expanded on his tales about collaboration between al-Qaeda and Iraq, adding that three al-Qaeda operatives had gone to Iraq “to learn about nuclear weapons.”
Al-Libi’s claim was well received at the White House even though the Defense Intelligence Agency was suspicious.
“He lacks specific details” about the supposed training, the DIA observed. “It is possible he does not know any further details; it is more likely this individual is intentionally misleading the debriefers. Ibn al-Shaykh has been undergoing debriefs for several weeks and may be describing scenarios to the debriefers that he knows will retain their interest.”
Meanwhile, at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, Maj. Paul Burney, a psychiatrist sent there in summer 2002, told the Senate, “A large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al-Qaeda and Iraq and we were not successful. The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link … there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.”
President Bush relied on al-Libi’s false Iraq allegation for a major speech in Cincinnati on Oct. 7, 2002, just a few days before Congress voted on the Iraq War resolution. Bush declared, “We’ve learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and deadly gases.”
And Colin Powell relied on it for his famous speech to the United Nations on Feb. 5, 2003, declaring: “I can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these [chemical and biological] weapons to al-Qaeda. Fortunately, this operative is now detained, and he has told his story.”
Al-Libi’s “evidence” helped Powell as he sought support for what he ended up calling a “sinister nexus” between Iraq and al-Qaeda, in the general effort to justify invading Iraq.
For a while, al-Libi was practically the poster boy for the success of the Cheney/Bush torture regime; that is, until he publicly recanted and explained that he only told his interrogators what he thought would stop the torture.
You see, despite his cooperation, al-Libi was still shipped to Egypt where he underwent more abuse, according to a declassified CIA cable from early 2004 when al-Libi recanted his earlier statements. The cable reported that al-Libi said Egyptian interrogators wanted information about al-Qaeda’s connections with Iraq, a subject “about which [al-Libi] said he knew nothing and had difficulty even coming up with a story.”
According to the CIA cable, al-Libi said his interrogators did not like his responses and “placed him in a small box” for about 17 hours. After he was let out of the box, al-Libi was given a last chance to “tell the truth.” When his answers still did not satisfy, al-Libi says he “was knocked over with an arm thrust across his chest and fell on his back” and then was “punched for 15 minutes.”
After Al-Libi recanted, the CIA recalled all intelligence reports based on his statements, a fact recorded in a footnote to the report issued by the 9/11 Commission. By then, however, the Bush administration had gotten its way regarding the invasion of Iraq and the disastrous U.S. occupation was well underway.
Intensive investigations into these allegations – after the U.S. military had conquered Iraq – failed to turn up any credible evidence to corroborate these allegations. What we do know is that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were bitter enemies, with al-Qaeda considering the secular Hussein an apostate to Islam.
Al-Libi, who ended up in prison in Libya, reportedly committed suicide shortly after he was discovered there by a human rights organization. Thus, the world never got to hear his own account of the torture that he experienced and the story that he presented and then recanted.
Hafed al-Ghwell, a Libyan-American and a prominent critic of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime at the time of al-Libi’s death, explained to Newsweek, “This idea of committing suicide in your prison cell is an old story in Libya.”
Paul Krugman eloquently summarized the truth about the torture used:
Let’s say this slowly: the Bush administration wanted to use 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. So it tortured people to make them confess to the nonexistent link.
There’s a word for this: it’s evil.
Torture Program Was Part of a Con Job
As discussed above, in order to “justify” the Iraq war, top Bush administration officials pushed and insisted that interrogators use special torture methods aimed at extracting false confessions to attempt to create a false linkage between between Al Qaida and Iraq. And see this and this.
But this effort started earlier …
5 hours after the 9/11 attacks, Donald Rumsfeld said “my interest is to hit Saddam”.
He also said “Go massive . . . Sweep it all up. Things related and not.”
And at 2:40 p.m. on September 11th, in a memorandum of discussions between top administration officials, several lines below the statement “judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. [that is, Saddam Hussein] at same time”, is the statement “Hard to get a good case.” In other words, top officials knew that there wasn’t a good case that Hussein was behind 9/11, but they wanted to use the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to justify war with Iraq anyway.
Moreover, “Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the [9/11] attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda”.
And a Defense Intelligence Terrorism Summary issued in February 2002 by the United States Defense Intelligence Agency cast significant doubt on the possibility of a Saddam Hussein-al-Qaeda conspiracy.
And yet Bush, Cheney and other top administration officials claimed repeatedly for years that Saddam was behind 9/11. See this analysis. Indeed, Bush administration officials apparently swore in a lawsuit that Saddam was behind 9/11.
Moreover, President Bush’s March 18, 2003 letter to Congress authorizing the use of force against Iraq, includes the following paragraph:
(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
Therefore, the Bush administration expressly justified the Iraq war to Congress by representing that Iraq planned, authorized, committed, or aided the 9/11 attacks.
Indeed, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind reports that the White House ordered the CIA to forge and backdate a document falsely linking Iraq with Muslim terrorists and 9/11 … and that the CIA complied with those instructions and in fact created the forgery, which was then used to justify war against Iraq. And see this.
Suskind also revealed that “Bush administration had information from a top Iraqi intelligence official ‘that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq – intelligence they received in plenty of time to stop an invasion.’ ”
Cheney made the false linkage between Iraq and 9/11 on many occasions.
For example, according to Raw Story, Cheney was still alleging a connection between Iraq and the alleged lead 9/11 hijacker in September 2003 – a year after it had been widely debunked. When NBC’s Tim Russert asked him about a poll showing that 69% of Americans believed Saddam Hussein had been involved in 9/11, Cheney replied:
It’s not surprising that people make that connection.
And even after the 9/11 Commission debunked any connection, Cheney said that the evidence is “overwhelming” that al Qaeda had a relationship with Saddam Hussein’s regime , that Cheney “probably” had information unavailable to the Commission, and that the media was not ‘doing their homework’ in reporting such ties.
Again, the Bush administration expressly justified the Iraq war by representing that Iraq planned, authorized, committed, or aided the 9/11 attacks. See this, this, this.
Even then-CIA director George Tenet said that the White House wanted to invade Iraq long before 9/11, and inserted “crap” in its justifications for invading Iraq.
Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill – who sat on the National Security Council – also says that Bush planned the Iraq war before 9/11.
Top British officials say that the U.S. discussed Iraq regime change even before Bush took office.
And in 2000, Cheney said a Bush administration might “have to take military action to forcibly remove Saddam from power.” And see this.
The administration’s false claims about Saddam and 9/11 helped convince a large portion of the American public to support the invasion of Iraq. While the focus now may be on false WMD claims, it is important to remember that, at the time, the alleged link between Iraq and 9/11 was at least as important in many people’s mind as a reason to invade Iraq.
So the torture program was really all about “justifying” the ultimate war crime: launching an unnecessary war of aggression based upon false pretenses.
Postscript: It is beyond any real dispute that torture does not work to produce any useful, truthful intelligence. Today, the following question made it to the front page of Reddit:
Why would the CIA torture if torture “doesn’t work”? Wouldn’t they want the most effective tool to gather intelligence?
The Senate Armed Services Committee report gave the answer.
Posted on December 12, 2014 by WashingtonsBlog
Find this story at 12 December 2014
© 2007 – 2014 Washington’s Blog
KSM Questioned About al Qaeda-Iraq Ties During Waterboarding (2011)
December 15, 2014
Some of the first questions asked of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed upon his capture and during the time during which he was waterboarded were about possible connections between al Qaeda and Iraq, according to a review of several reports on U.S. intelligence operations.
The mastermind of the September 11 attacks was captured in Rawalpindi, Pakistan on March 1, 2003, and according to Office of Legal Counsel memos released last month, was waterboarded 183 times that same month.
The substance of the intelligence that was being sought from him has been an object of some speculation, with several defenders of the interrogation practice arguing that the goal was to prevent an impending attack on America. But a line buried on page 353 of the July 2004 Select Committee on Intelligence report on pre-Iraq war intelligence strongly suggests that the interrogation was just as centered on a possible Iraq-al-Qaeda link as terrorist activity.
“CTC [Counter Terrorist Center] noted that the questions regarding al-Qaida’s ties to the Iraqi regime were among the first presented to senior al-Qaida operational planner Khalid Shaikh Muhammad following his capture.”
Revelations that KSM was questioned about possible al Qaeda ties to Iraq at roughly the same time that he was undergoing waterboarding provides some key insight into the purpose of the CIA interrogations. A recently de-classified Senate Armed Services Committee report quoted army psychologist Maj. Paul Burney as saying that a large part of his time on a Behavioral Science Consultation Team was “focused on trying to establish a link between Al Qaeda and Iraq.” McClatchy newspapers, meanwhile, published an article last month citing a former intelligence official acknowledging that the Bush administration had pressured interrogators to use harsh techniques to produce evidence connecting the terrorist organization and Iraq’s regime.
The efforts at establishing a link never bore fruit. Burney went on to note that “we were not being successful in establishing a link between Al Qaeda and Iraq.” Meanwhile, earlier in the July 2004 Select Committee on Intelligence report, it is noted that KSM was “unaware of any collaborative relationship between al-Qaida and the former Iraqi regime, citing ideological disagreements as an impediment to closer ties. In addition, he was unable to corroborate reports that al-Qada associate Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi had traveled to Iraq to obtain medical treatment for injuries sustained in Afghanistan.”
That said, reports showing that waterboarding would be used as a means of establishing a link between Iraq and al Qaeda does appear to diffuse the notion that so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” were only being used in “ticking time bomb” scenarios.
Some former senior Bush administration officials have publicly echoed this version of events. “[W]hat I have learned is that as the administration authorized harsh interrogation in April and May of 2002 — well before the Justice Department had rendered any legal opinion — its principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at pre-empting another terrorist attack on the U.S.,” wrote former Colin Powell chief of staff and prominent Bush critic, Lawrence Wilkerson, on the Washington Note, “but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al-Qa’ida.”
Posted: 06/15/2009 5:12 am EDT Updated: 05/25/2011 1:20 pm
Find this story at 25 May 2011
Copyright ©2014 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.
Powell aide says torture helped build Iraq war case (2009)
December 15, 2014
(CNN) — Finding a “smoking gun” linking Iraq and al Qaeda became the main purpose of the abusive interrogation program the Bush administration authorized in 2002, a former State Department official told CNN on Thursday.
The allegation was included in an online broadside aimed at former Vice President Dick Cheney by Lawrence Wilkerson, chief of staff for then-Secretary of State Colin Powell. In it, Wilkerson wrote that the interrogation program began in April and May of 2002, and then-Vice President Cheney’s office kept close tabs on the questioning.
“Its principal priority for intelligence was not aimed at preempting another terrorist attack on the U.S. but discovering a smoking gun linking Iraq and al Qaeda,” Wilkerson wrote in The Washington Note, an online political journal.
Wilkerson, a retired Army colonel, said his accusation is based on information from current and former officials. He said he has been “relentlessly digging” since 2004, when Powell asked him to look into the scandal surrounding the treatment of prisoners at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison.
“I couldn’t walk into a courtroom and prove this to anybody, but I’m pretty sure it’s fairly accurate,” he told CNN.
Most of Wilkerson’s online essay criticizes Cheney’s recent defense of the “alternative” interrogation techniques the Bush administration authorized for use against suspected terrorists. Cheney has argued the interrogation program was legal and effective in preventing further attacks on Americans.
Critics say the tactics amounted to the illegal torture of prisoners in U.S. custody and have called for investigations of those who authorized them.
Representatives of the former vice president declined comment on Wilkerson’s allegations. But Wilkerson told CNN that by early 2002, U.S. officials had decided that “we had al Qaeda pretty much on the run.”
“The priority had turned to other purposes, and one of those purposes was to find substantial contacts between al Qaeda and Baghdad,” he said.
CIA denies Cheney request on interrogations
‘Enhanced interrogations’ don’t work, ex-FBI agent says
The argument that Iraq could have provided weapons of mass destruction to terrorists such as al Qaeda was a key element of the Bush administration’s case for the March 2003 invasion. But after the invasion, Iraq was found to have dismantled its nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs, and the independent commission that investigated the 2001 attacks found no evidence of a collaborative relationship between the two entities.
Wilkerson wrote that in one case, the CIA told Cheney’s office that a prisoner under its interrogation program was now “compliant,” meaning agents recommended the use of “alternative” techniques should stop.
At that point, “The VP’s office ordered them to continue the enhanced methods,” Wilkerson wrote.
“The detainee had not revealed any al Qaeda-Baghdad contacts yet. This ceased only after Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, under waterboarding in Egypt, ‘revealed’ such contacts.”
Al-Libi’s claim that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s government had trained al Qaeda operatives in producing chemical and biological weapons appeared in the October 2002 speech then-President Bush gave when pushing Congress to authorize military action against Iraq. It also was part of Powell’s February 2003 presentation to the United Nations on the case for war, a speech Powell has called a “blot” on his record.
Al-Libi later recanted the claim, saying it was made under torture by Egyptian intelligence agents, a claim Egypt denies. He died last week in a Libyan prison, reportedly a suicide, Human Rights Watch reported.
Stacy Sullivan, a counterterrorism adviser for the U.S.-based group, called al-Libi’s allegation “pivotal” to the Bush administration’s case for war, as it connected Baghdad to the terrorist organization behind the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.
And an Army psychiatrist assigned to support questioning of suspected terrorists at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba told the service’s inspector-general that interrogators there were trying to connect al Qaeda and Iraq.
“This is my opinion,” Maj. Paul Burney told the inspector-general’s office. “Even though they were giving information and some of it was useful, while we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between aI Qaeda and Iraq and we were not being successful in establishing a link between aI Qaeda and Iraq. The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish this link … there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.”
Burney’s account was included in a Senate Armed Services Committee report released in April. Other interrogators reported pressure to produce intelligence “but did not recall pressure to identify links between Iraq and al Qaeda,” the Senate report states.
Cheney criticized Powell during a television interview over the weekend, saying he no longer considers Powell a fellow Republican after his former colleague endorsed Democratic candidate Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election.
Wilkerson said he is not speaking for his former boss and does not know whether Powell shares his views.
May 14, 2009 — Updated 0311 GMT (1111 HKT)
By Matt Smith
Find this story at 14 May 2009
© 2009 Cable News Network. A Time Warner Company
Report: Abusive tactics used to seek Iraq-al Qaida link (2009)
December 15, 2014
WASHINGTON — The Bush administration applied relentless pressure on interrogators to use harsh methods on detainees in part to find evidence of cooperation between al Qaida and the late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence official and a former Army psychiatrist.
Such information would’ve provided a foundation for one of former President George W. Bush’s main arguments for invading Iraq in 2003. In fact, no evidence has ever been found of operational ties between Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network and Saddam’s regime.
The use of abusive interrogation — widely considered torture — as part of Bush’s quest for a rationale to invade Iraq came to light as the Senate issued a major report tracing the origin of the abuses and President Barack Obama opened the door to prosecuting former U.S. officials for approving them.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney and others who advocated the use of sleep deprivation, isolation and stress positions and waterboarding, which simulates drowning, insist that they were legal.
A former senior U.S. intelligence official familiar with the interrogation issue said that Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld demanded that the interrogators find evidence of al Qaida-Iraq collaboration.
“There were two reasons why these interrogations were so persistent, and why extreme methods were used,” the former senior intelligence official said on condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity.
“The main one is that everyone was worried about some kind of follow-up attack (after 9/11). But for most of 2002 and into 2003, Cheney and Rumsfeld, especially, were also demanding proof of the links between al Qaida and Iraq that (former Iraqi exile leader Ahmed) Chalabi and others had told them were there.”
It was during this period that CIA interrogators waterboarded two alleged top al Qaida detainees repeatedly — Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times in August 2002 and Khalid Sheik Muhammed 183 times in March 2003 — according to a newly released Justice Department document.
“There was constant pressure on the intelligence agencies and the interrogators to do whatever it took to get that information out of the detainees, especially the few high-value ones we had, and when people kept coming up empty, they were told by Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people to push harder,” he continued.
“Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s people were told repeatedly, by CIA . . . and by others, that there wasn’t any reliable intelligence that pointed to operational ties between bin Laden and Saddam, and that no such ties were likely because the two were fundamentally enemies, not allies.”
Senior administration officials, however, “blew that off and kept insisting that we’d overlooked something, that the interrogators weren’t pushing hard enough, that there had to be something more we could do to get that information,” he said.
A former U.S. Army psychiatrist, Maj. Charles Burney, told Army investigators in 2006 that interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility were under “pressure” to produce evidence of ties between al Qaida and Iraq.
“While we were there a large part of the time we were focused on trying to establish a link between al Qaida and Iraq and we were not successful in establishing a link between al Qaida and Iraq,” Burney told staff of the Army Inspector General. “The more frustrated people got in not being able to establish that link . . . there was more and more pressure to resort to measures that might produce more immediate results.”
Excerpts from Burney’s interview appeared in a full, declassified report on a two-year investigation into detainee abuse released on Tuesday by the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., called Burney’s statement “very significant.”
“I think it’s obvious that the administration was scrambling then to try to find a connection, a link (between al Qaida and Iraq),” Levin said in a conference call with reporters. “They made out links where they didn’t exist.”
Levin recalled Cheney’s assertions that a senior Iraqi intelligence officer had met Mohammad Atta, the leader of the 9/11 hijackers, in the Czech Republic capital of Prague just months before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
The FBI and CIA found that no such meeting occurred.
A senior Guantanamo Bay interrogator, David Becker, told the committee that only “a couple of nebulous links” between al Qaida and Iraq were uncovered during interrogations of unidentified detainees, the report said.
Others in the interrogation operation “agreed there was pressure to produce intelligence, but did not recall pressure to identify links between Iraq and al Qaida,” the report said.
The report, the executive summary of which was released in November, found that Rumsfeld, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and other former senior Bush administration officials were responsible for the abusive interrogation techniques used at Guantanamo and in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Rumsfeld approved extreme interrogation techniques for Guantanamo in December 2002. He withdrew his authorization the following month amid protests by senior military lawyers that some techniques could amount to torture, violating U.S. and international laws.
Military interrogators, however, continued employing some techniques in Afghanistan and later in Iraq.
Bush and his top lieutenants charged that Saddam was secretly pursuing nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in defiance of a United Nations ban, and had to be overthrown because he might provide them to al Qaida for an attack on the U.S. or its allies.
(John Walcott and Warren P. Strobel contributed to this article.)
BY JONATHAN S. LANDAY
McClatchy Newspapers April 21, 2009
Find this story at 21 April 2009
Copyright McClatchy DC
Senate Floor Statement on the Report of the Inquiry into the Treatment of Detainees in U.S. Custody (2009)
December 15, 2014
Today were releasing the declassifed report [PDF] of the Senate Armed Services Committees investigation into the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody. The report was approved by the Committee on November 20, 2008, and has, in the intervening period, been under review at the Department of Defense for declassification.
In my judgment, the report represents a condemnation of both the Bush administrations interrogation policies and of senior administration officials who attempted to shift the blame for abuse such as that seen at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and Afghanistan to low ranking soldiers. Claims, such as that made by former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz that detainee abuses could be chalked up to the unauthorized acts of a few bad apples, were simply false.
The truth is that, early on, it was senior civilian leaders who set the tone. On September 16, 2001, Vice President Dick Cheney suggested that the United States turn to the dark side in our response to 9/11. Not long after that, after White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales called parts of the Geneva Conventions quaint, President Bush determined that provisions of the Geneva Conventions did not apply to certain detainees. Other senior officials followed the President and Vice Presidents lead, authorizing policies that included harsh and abusive interrogation techniques.
The record established by the Committees investigation shows that senior officials sought out information on, were aware of training in, and authorized the use of abusive interrogation techniques. Those senior officials bear significant responsibility for creating the legal and operational framework for the abuses. As the Committee report concluded, authorizations of aggressive interrogation techniques by senior officials resulted in abuse and conveyed the message that physical pressures and degradation were appropriate treatment for detainees in U.S. military custody.
In a May 10, 2007, letter to his troops, General David Petraeus said that what sets us apart from our enemies in this fight& is how we behave. In everything we do, we must observe the standards and values that dictate that we treat noncombatants and detainees with dignity and respect. While we are warriors, we are also all human beings. With last weeks release of the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) opinions, it is now widely known that Bush administration officials distorted Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape SERE training a legitimate program used by the military to train our troops to resist abusive enemy interrogations by authorizing abusive techniques from SERE for use in detainee interrogations. Those decisions conveyed the message that abusive treatment was appropriate for detainees in U.S. custody. They were also an affront to the values articulated by General Petraeus.
In SERE training, U.S. troops are briefly exposed, in a highly controlled setting, to abusive interrogation techniques used by enemies that refuse to follow the Geneva Conventions. The techniques are based on tactics used by Chinese Communists against American soldiers during the Korean War for the purpose of eliciting false confessions for propaganda purposes. Techniques used in SERE training include stripping trainees of their clothing, placing them in stress positions, putting hoods over their heads, subjecting them to face and body slaps, depriving them of sleep, throwing them up against a wall, confining them in a small box, treating them like animals, subjecting them to loud music and flashing lights, and exposing them to extreme temperatures. Until recently, the Navy SERE school also used waterboarding. The purpose of the SERE program is to provide U.S. troops who might be captured a taste of the treatment they might face so that they might have a better chance of surviving captivity and resisting abusive and coercive interrogations.
SERE training techniques were never intended to be used in the interrogation of detainees in U.S. custody. The Committees report, however, reveals troubling new details of how SERE techniques came to be used in interrogations of detainees in U.S. custody.
Influence of SERE on Military Interrogations at Guantanamo Bay
The Committees investigation uncovered new details about the influence of SERE techniques on military interrogations at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (GTMO). According to newly released testimony from a military behavioral scientist who worked with interrogators at GTMO, By early October  there was increasing pressure to get tougher with detainee interrogations at GTMO. (p. 50). As a result, on October 2, 2002, two weeks after attending interrogation training led by SERE instructors from the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA), the DoD agency that oversees SERE training, the behavioral scientist and a colleague drafted a memo proposing the use of aggressive interrogation techniques at GTMO. The behavioral scientist said he was told by GTMOs intelligence chief that the interrogation memo needed to contain coercive techniques or it wasnt going to go very far. (p. 50).
Declassified excerpts from that memo indicate that it included stress positions, food deprivation, forced grooming, hooding, removal of clothing, exposure to cold weather or water, and scenarios designed to convince a detainee that he might experience a painful or fatal outcome. On October 11, 2002, Major General Michael Dunlavey, the Commander of JTF-170 at GTMO requested authority to use aggressive techniques. MG Dunlaveys request was based on the memo produced by the behavioral scientists.
MG Dunlaveys request eventually made its way to Department of Defense (DoD) General Counsel Jim Haynes desk. Notwithstanding serious legal concerns raised by the military service lawyers, Haynes recommended that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld approve 15 of the interrogation techniques requested by GTMO. On December 2, 2002, Secretary Rumsfeld approved Haynes recommendation, authorizing such techniques as stress positions, removal of clothing, use of phobias (such as fear of dogs), and deprivation of light and auditory stimuli.
The Committees investigation revealed that, following Secretary Rumsfelds authorization, senior staff at GTMO drafted a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the use of SERE techniques, including stress positions, forcibly stripping detainees, slapping, and walling them. That SOP stated that The premise behind this is that the interrogation tactics used at U.S. military SERE schools are appropriate for use in real-world interrogations. Weeks later, in January 2003, trainers from the Navy SERE school travelled to GTMO and provided training to interrogators on the use of SERE techniques on detainees. (pp. 98-104).
Impact of Secretary Rumsfelds Authorization on Interrogations in Iraq and Afghanistan
The influence of Secretary Rumsfelds December 2, 2002, authorization was not limited to interrogations at GTMO. Newly declassified excerpts from a January 11, 2003, legal review by a Special Mission Unit (SMU) Task Force lawyer in Afghanistan state that SECDEFs approval of these techniques provides us the most persuasive argument for use of advanced techniques as we capture possible [high value targets] & the fact that SECDEF approved the use of the& techniques at GTMO, [which is] subject to the same laws, provides an analogy and basis for use of these techniques [in accordance with] international and U.S. law. (p.154).
The Committees report also includes a summary of a July 15, 2004, interview with CENTCOMs then-Deputy Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) about Secretary Rumsfelds authorization and its impact in Afghanistan. The Deputy SJA said: the methodologies approved for GTMO& would appear to me to be legal interrogation processes. [The Secretary of Defense] had approved them. The General Counsel had approved them. .. I believe it is fair to say the procedures approved for Guantanamo were legal for Afghanistan. (p. 156).
The Committees report provides extensive details about how the aggressive techniques made their way from Afghanistan to Iraq. In February 2003, an SMU Task Force designated for operations in Iraq obtained a copy of the SMU interrogation policy from Afghanistan that included aggressive techniques, changed the letterhead, and adopted the policy verbatim. (p. 158) Months later, the Interrogation Officer in Charge at Abu Ghraib obtained a copy of the SMU interrogation policy and submitted it, virtually unchanged, through her chain of command to Combined Joint Task Force 7 (CJTF-7), led at the time by Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez. On September 14, 2003, Lieutenant General Sanchez issued an interrogation policy for CJTF-7 that authorized interrogators to use stress positions, environmental manipulation, sleep management, and military working dogs to exploit detainees fears in their interrogations of detainees.
The Committees investigation uncovered documents indicating that, almost immediately after LTG Sanchez issued his September 14, 2003, policy, CENTCOM lawyers raised concerns about its legality. One newly declassified email from a CENTCOM lawyer to the Staff Judge Advocate at CJTF-7 sent just three days after the policy was issued warned that Many of the techniques [in the CJTF-7 policy] appear to violate [Geneva Convention] III and IV and should not be used . . . (p. 203). Even though the Bush administration acknowledged that the Geneva Conventions applied in Iraq, it was not until nearly a month later that CJTF-7 revised that policy.
Not only did SERE techniques make their way to Iraq, but SERE instructors did as well. In September 2003, JPRA sent a team to Iraq to provide assistance to interrogation operations at an SMU Task Force. The Chief of Human Intelligence and Counterintelligence at the Task Force testified to the Committee in February 2008 that JPRA personnel demonstrated SERE techniques to SMU personnel including so-called walling and striking a detainee as they do in SERE school. (p. 175). As we heard at our September 2008 hearing, JPRA personnel were present during abusive interrogations during that same trip, including one where a detainee was placed on his knees in a stress position and was repeatedly slapped by an interrogator. (p. 176). JPRA personnel even participated in an interrogation, taking physical control of a detainee, forcibly stripping him naked, and giving orders for him to be kept in a stress position for 12 hours. In August 3, 2007, testimony to the Committee, one of the JPRA team members said that, with respect to stripping the detainee, we [had] done this 100 times, 1000 times with our [SERE school] students. The Committees investigation revealed that forced nudity continued to be used in interrogations at the SMU Task Force for months after the JPRA visit. (pp. 181-182).
Over the course of the investigation, the Committee obtained the statements and interviews of scores of military personnel at Abu Ghraib. These statements reveal that the interrogation techniques authorized by Secretary Rumsfeld in December 2002 for use at GTMO including stress positions, forced nudity, and military working dogs were used by military intelligence personnel responsible for interrogations.
The Interrogation Officer in Charge in Abu Ghraib in the fall of 2003 acknowledged that stress positions were used in interrogations at Abu Ghraib. (p. 212).
An Army dog handler at Abu Ghraib told military investigators in February 2004 that someone from [military intelligence] gave me a list of cells, for me to go see, and pretty much have my dog bark at them& Having the dogs bark at detainees was psychologically breaking them down for interrogation purposes. (p. 209).
An intelligence analyst at Abu Ghraib told military investigators in May 2004 that it was common that the detainees on [military intelligence] hold in the hard site were initially kept naked and given clothing as an incentive to cooperate with us. (p. 212).
An interrogator told military investigators in May 2004 that it was common to see detainees in cells without clothes or naked and says it was one of our approaches. (p. 213).
The investigation also revealed that interrogation policies authorizing aggressive techniques were approved months after the CJTF-7 policy was revised to exclude the techniques, and even after the investigation into detainee abuses at Abu Ghraib had already begun. For example, an interrogation policy approved in February 2004 in Iraq included techniques such as use of military working dogs and stress positions. (p. 220).
A policy approved for CJTF-7 units in Iraq in March 2004 also included aggressive techniques. While much of the March 2004 policy remains classified, newly declassified excerpts indicate that it warned that interrogators should consider the fact that some interrogation techniques are viewed as inhumane or otherwise inconsistent with international law before applying each technique. These techniques are labeled with a [CAUTION]. Among the techniques labeled as such were a technique involving power tools, stress positions, and the presence of military working dogs. (pp. 220-221).
Warnings about Using SERE Techniques in Interrogations
Some have asked why, if it is okay for our own U.S. personnel to be subjected to physical and psychological pressures in SERE school, what is wrong with using those SERE training techniques on detainees? The Committees investigation answered that question.
On October 2, 2002, Lieutenant Colonel Morgan Banks, the senior Army SERE psychologist warned against using SERE training techniques during interrogations in an email to personnel at GTMO, writing that:
[T]he use of physical pressures brings with it a large number of potential negative side effects& When individuals are gradually exposed to increasing levels of discomfort, it is more common for them to resist harder& If individuals are put under enough discomfort, i.e. pain, they will eventually do whatever it takes to stop the pain. This will increase the amount of information they tell the interrogator, but it does not mean the information is accurate. In fact, it usually decreases the reliability of the information because the person will say whatever he believes will stop the pain& Bottom line: the likelihood that the use of physical pressures will increase the delivery of accurate information from a detainee is very low. The likelihood that the use of physical pressures will increase the level of resistance in a detainee is very high& (p. 53).
Likewise, the Deputy Commander of DoDs Criminal Investigative Task Force at GTMO told the Committee in 2006 that CITF was troubled with the rationale that techniques used to harden resistance to interrogations would be the basis for the utilization of techniques to obtain information. (p. 69).
Other newly declassified emails reveal additional warnings. In June 2004, after many SERE techniques had been authorized in interrogations and JPRA was considering sending its SERE trainers to interrogation facilities in Afghanistan, another SERE psychologist warned: [W]e need to really stress the difference between what instructors do at SERE school (done to INCREASE RESISTANCE capability in students) versus what is taught at interrogator school (done to gather information). What is done by SERE instructors is by definition ineffective interrogator conduct& Simply stated, SERE school does not train you on how to interrogate, and things you learn there by osmosis about interrogation are probably wrong if copied by interrogators. (p. 229).
If we are to retain our status as a leader in the world, we must acknowledge and confront the abuse of detainees in our custody. The Committees report and investigation makes significant progress toward that goal. There is still the question, however, of whether high level officials who approved and authorized those policies should be held accountable. I have recommended to Attorney General Holder that he select a distinguished individual or individuals either inside or outside the Justice Department, such as retired federal judges to look at the volumes of evidence relating to treatment of detainees, including evidence in the Senate Armed Services Committees report, and to recommend what steps, if any, should be taken to establish accountability of high-level officials including lawyers.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Find this story at 21 April 2009
INQUIRY INTO THE TREATMENT OF DETAINEES IN U.S. CUSTODY (2008)
December 15, 2014
“What sets us apart from our enemies in this fight … is how we behave. Ineverything we do, we must observe the standards and values that dictate that wetreat noncombatants and detainees with dignity and respect. While we arewarriors, we are also all human beings. “– General David PetraeusMay 10,2007(U) The collection oftimely and accurate intelligence is critical to the safety of U.S.personnel deployed abroad and to the security ofthe American people here at home. Themethods by which we elicit intelligence information from detainees in our custody affect notonly the reliability ofthat information, but our broader efforts to win hearts and minds and attractallies to our side.(U) AI Qaeda and Taliban terrorists are taught to expect Americans to abuse them. Theyare recruited based on false propaganda that says the United States is out to destroy Islam.Treating detainees harshly only reinforces that distorted view, increases resistance tocooperation, and creates new enemies. In fact, the April 2006 National Intelligence Estimate”Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States” cited “pervasive anti U.S.sentiment among most Muslims” as an underlying factor fueling the spread ofthe global jihadistmovement. Former Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora testified to the Senate Armed ServicesCommittee in June 2008 that “there are serving U.S. flag-rank officers who maintain that the fITstand second identifiable causes of U. S. combat deaths in Iraq – as judged by their effectiveness inrecruiting insurgent fighters into combat – are, respectively the symbols of Abu Ghraib andGuantanamo.”(U) The abuse ofdetainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of”a few bad apples” acting on their own. The fact is that senior officials in the United Statesgovernment solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law tocreate the appearance oftheir legality, and authorized their use against detainees. Those effortsdamaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence that could save lives, strengthened the handofour enemies, and compromised our moral authority. This report is a product oftheCommittee’s inquiry into how those unfortunate results came about.UNCLASSIFIEDxiiUNCLASSIFIEDPresidential Order Opens the Door to Considering Aggressive Techniques (U)(U) On February 7,2002, President Bush signed a memorandum stating that the ThirdGeneva Convention did not apply to the conflict with al Qaeda and concluding that Talibandetainees were not entitled to prisoner of war status or the legal protections afforded by the ThirdGeneva Convention. The President’s order closed off application ofCommon Article 3 oftheGeneva Conventions, which would have afforded minimum standards for humane treatment, toal Qaeda or Taliban detainees. While the President’s order stated that, as “a matter ofpolicy, theUnited States Armed Forces shall continue to treat detainees humanely and, to the extentappropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles ofthe Geneva Conventions,” the decision to replace well established military doctrine, i.e., legalcompliance with the Geneva Conventions, with a policy subject to interpretation, impacted thetreatment of detainees in U.S. custody.(U) In December 2001, more than a month before the President signed his memorandum,the Department of Defense (DoD) General Counsel’s Office had already solicited information ondetainee “exploitation” from the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA), an agency whoseexpertise was in training American personnel to withstand interrogation techniques consideredillegal under the Geneva Conventions.(U) JPRA is the DoD agency that oversees military Survival Evasion Resistance andEscape (SERE) training. During the resistance phase of SERE training, U.S. military personnelare exposed to physical and psychological pressures (SERE techniques) designed to simulateconditions to which they might be subject if taken prisoner by enemies that did not abide by theGeneva Conventions. As one JPRA instructor explained, SERE training is “based on illegalexploitation (under the rules listed in the 1949 Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment ofPrisoners of War) of prisoners over the last 50 years.” The techniques used in SERE school,based, in part, on Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean war to elicit falseconfessions, include stripping students oftheir clothing, placing them in stress positions, puttinghoods over their heads, disrupting their sleep, treating them like animals, subjecting them to loudmusic and flashing lights, and exposing them to extreme temperatures. It can also include faceand body slaps and until recently, for some who attended the Navy’s SERE school, it includedwaterboarding.(U) Typically, those who play the part of interrogators in SERE school neither are trainedinterrogators nor are they qualified to be. These role players are not trained to obtain reliableintelligence information from detainees. Their job is to train our personnel to resist providingreliable infonnation to our enemies. As the Deputy Commander for the Joint Forces Command(JFCOM), JPRA’s higher headquarters, put it: “the expertise ofJPRA lies in training personnelhow to respond and resist interrogations – not in how to conduct interrogations.” Given JPRA’srole and expertise, the request from the DoD General Counsel’s office was unusual. In fact, theCommittee is not aware ofany similar request prior to December 2001. But while it may havebeen the fast, that was not the last time that a senior government official contacted JPRA forUNCLASSIFIEDxiiiUNCLASSIFIEDadvice on using SERE methods offensively. In fact, the call from the DoD General Counsel’soffice marked just the beginning of JPRA’s support of U.S. government interrogation efforts.Senior Officials Seek SERE Techniques and Discuss Detainee Interrogations (U)(U) Beginning in the spring of 2002 and extending for the next two years, JPRAsupported U.S. government efforts to interrogate detainees. Duringthat same period, seniorgovernment officials solicited JPRA’s knowledge and its direct support for interrogations. Whilemuch ofthe information relating to JPRA’s offensive activities and the influence of SEREtechniques on interrogation policies remains classified, unclassified information provides awindow into the extent ofthose activities.(U) JPRA’s Chief of Staff, Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Baumgartner testified that in late2001 or early 2002, JPRA conducted briefings of Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) personnelon detainee resistance, techniques, and information on detainee exploitation.(U) On April 16, 2002, Dr. Bruce Jessen, the senior SERE psychologist at JPRA,circulated a draft exploitation plan to JPRA Commander Colonel Randy Mouhon and othersenior officials at the agency. The contents ofthat plan remain classified but Dr. Jessen’sinitiative is indicative ofthe interest of JPRA’s senior leadership in expanding the agency’s role.(U) One opportunity came in July 2002. That month, DoD Deputy General Counsel forIntelligence Richard Shiffrin contacted JPRA seeking information on SERE physical pressuresand interrogation techniques that had been used against Americans. Mr. Shiffiin called JPRAafter discussions with William “Jim” Haynes II, the DoD General Counsel.(U) In late July, JPRA provided the General Counsel’s office with several documents,including excerpts from SERE instructor lesson plans, a list ofphysical and psychologicalpressures used in SERE resistance training, and a memo from a SERE psychologist assessing thelong-term psychological effects of SERE resistance training on students and the effects ofwaterboarding. The list of SERE techniques included such methods as sensory deprivation,sleep disruption, stress positions, waterboarding, and slapping. It also made reference to asection ofthe JPRA instructor manual that discusses “coercive pressures,” such as keeping thelights on at all times, and treating a person like an animal. JPRA’s Chief of Staff, LieutenantColonel Daniel Baumgartner, who spoke with Mr. Shiffiin at the time, thought the
GeneralCounsel’s office was asking for the information on exploitation and physical pressures to usethem in interrogations and he said that JFCOM gave approval to provide the agency theinformation. Mr. Shiffiin, the DoD Deputy General Counsel for Intelligence, confmned that apurpose ofthe request was to “reverse engineer” the techniques. Mr. Haynes could not recallwhat he did with the information provided by JPRA.(U) Memos from Lieutenant Colonel Baumgartner to the Office of Secretary ofDefenseGeneral Counsel stated that JPRA would “continue to offer exploitation assistance to thosegovernment organizations charged with the mission of gleaning intelligence from enemyUNCLASSIFIEDUNCLASSIFIEDdetainees.” Lieutenant Colonel Baumgartner testified that he provided another governmentagency the same information he sent to the DoD General Counsel’s office.(U) Mr. Haynes was not the only senior official considering new interrogation techniquesfor use against detainees. Members ofthe President’s Cabinet and other senior officials attendedmeetings in the White House where specific interrogation techniques were discussed. Secretaryof State Condoleezza Rice, who was then the National Security Advisor, said that, “in the springof2002, CIA sought policy approval from the National Security Council (NSC) to begin aninterrogation progTam for high-level al-Qaida terrorists.” Secretary Rice said that she askedDirector of Central Intelligence George Tenet to briefNSC Principals on the program and askedthe Attorney General John Ashcroft “personally to review and confrrm the legal advice preparedby the Office of Legal Counsel.” She also said that Secretary ofDefense Donald Rumsfeldparticipated in the NSC review ofthe CIA’s program.(U) Asked whether she attended meetings where SERE training was discussed, SecretaryRice stated that she recalled being told that U.S. military personnel were subjected in training to”certain physical and psychological interrogation techniques.” National Security Council (NSC)Legal Advisor, John Bellinger, said that he was present in meetings “at which SERE training wasdiscussed.”Department of Justice Redermes Torture (D)(U) On August 1, 2002, just a week after JPRA provided the DoD General Counsel’soffice the list of SERE techniques and the memo on the psychological effects of SERE training,the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) issued two legal opinions. Theopinions were issued after consultation with senior Administration attorneys, including thenWhiteHouse Counsel Alberto Gonzales and then-Counsel to the Vice President DavidAddington. Both memos were signed by then-Assistant Attorney General for the Office ofLegalCounsel Jay Bybee. One opinion, commonly known as the first Bybee memo, was addressed toJudge Gonzales and provided OLe’s opinion on standards of conduct in interrogation requiredunder the federal torture statute. That memo concluded:[F]or an act to constitute torture as defmed in [the federal torture statute], it mustinflict pain that is difficult to endure. Physical pain amounting to torture must beequivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such asorgan failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death. For purely mentalpain or suffering to amount to torture under [the federal torture statute], it mustresult in significant psychological harm of significant duration, e.g., lasting formonths or even years.(U) In his book The Terror Presidency, Jack Goldsmith, the former Assistant AttorneyGeneral ofthe OLC who succeeded Mr. Bybee in that job, described the memo’s conclusions:UNCLASSIFIEDxvUNCLASSIFIEDViolent acts aren’t necessarily torture; if you do torture, you probably have adefense; and even if you don’t have a defense, the torture law doesn’t apply if youact under the color of presidential authority.(U) The other OLC opinion issued on August 1,2002 is known commonly as the SecondBybee memo. That opinion, which responded to a request from the CI~ addressed the legalityof specific interrogation tactics. While the full list oftechniques remains classified, a publiclyreleased CIA document indicates that waterboarding was among those analyzed and approved.CIA Director General Michael Hayden stated in public testimony before the Senate IntelligenceCommittee on February 5, 2008 that waterboarding was used by the CIA And Steven Bradbury,the current Assistant Attorney General ofthe OLC, testified before the House JudiciaryCommittee on February 14,2008 that the CIA’s use of waterboarding was “adapted from theSERE training program.”(U) Before drafting the opinions, Mr. Y00, the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for theOLC, had met with Alberto Gonzales, Counsel to the President, and David Addington, Counselto the Vice President, to discuss the subjects he intended to address in the opinions. In testimonybefore the House Judiciary Committee, Mr. Y00 refused to say whether or not he ever discussedor received information about SERE techniques as the memos were being drafted. When askedwhether he had discussed SERE techniques with Judge Gonzales, Mr. Addington, Mr. Yoo, Mr.Rizzo or other senior administration lawyers, DoD General Counsel Jim Haynes testified that he”did discuss SERE techniques with other people in the administration.” NSC Legal AdvisorJohn Bellinger said that “some ofthe legal analyses ofproposed interrogation techniques thatwere prepared by the Department ofJustice… did refer to the psychological effects ofresistancetraining.”(U) In fact, Jay Bybee the Assistant Attorney General who signed the two OLC legalopinions said that he saw an assessment ofthe psychological effects ofmilitary resistancetraining in July 2002 in meetings in his office with John Yoo and two other OLC attorneys.Judge Bybee said that he used that assessment to inform the August 1, 2002 OLC legal opinionthat has yet to be publicly released. Judge Bybee also recalled discussing detainee interrogationsin a meeting with Attorney General John Ashcroft and John Y00 in late July 2002, prior tosigning the OLC opinions. Mr. Bellinger, the NSC Legal Advisor, said that “the NSC’sPrincipals reviewed CIA’s proposed program on several occasions in 2002 and 2003” and that he”expressed concern that the proposed CIA interrogation techniques comply with applicable U. S.law, including our international obligations.”JPRA and CIA Influence Department of Defense Interrogation Policies (U)(U) As senior government lawyers were preparing to redefine torture, JPRA – respondingto a request from U.S. Southern Command’s Joint Task Force 170 (JTF-170) at Guantanamo Bay(GTMO) – was finalizing plans to train JTF-170 personnel. During the week of September 16,2002, a group ofinterrogators and behavioral scientists from GTMO travelled to Fort Bragg,North Carolina and attended training conducted by instructors from JPRA’s SERE school. OnSeptember 25, 2002, just days after GTMO staffreturned from that training, a delegation ofUNCLASSIFIEDxviUNCLASSIFIEDsenior Administration lawyers, including Mr. Haynes, Mr. Rizzo, and Mr. Addington, visitedGTMO.(U) A week after the visit from those senior lawyers, two GTMO behavioral scientistswho had attended the JPRA-Ied training at Fort Bragg drafted a memo proposing newinterrogation techniques for use at GTMO. According to one ofthose two behavioral scientists,by early October 2002, there was “increasing pressure to get ‘tougher’ with detaineeinterrogations.” He added that ifthe interrogation policy memo did not contain coercivetechniques, then it “wasn’t going to go very far.”(U) JPRA was not the only outside organization that provided advice to GTMO onaggressive techniques. On October 2, 2002, Jonathan Fredman, who was chief counsel to theCIA’s CounterTerrorist Center, attended a meeting ofGTMO staff. Minutes ofthat meetingindicate that it was dominated by a discussion ofaggressive interrogation techniques includingsleep deprivation, death threats, and waterboarding, which was discussed in relation to its use inSERE training. Mr. Fredman’s advice to GTMO on applicable legal obligations was similar tothe analysis ofthose obligations in OLC’s first Bybee memo. According to the meeting m
inutes,Mr. Fredman said that ”the language ofthe statutes is written vaguely … Severe physical paindescribed as anything causing permanent damage to major organs or body parts. Mental torture[is] described as anything leading to permanent, profound damage to the senses or personality.”Mr. Fredman said simply, “It is basically subject to perception. If the detainee dies you’re doingit wrong.”(U) On October 11,2002, Major General Michael Dunlavey, the Commander ofJTF-170at Guantanamo Bay, sent a memo to General James Hill, the Commander of US. SouthernCommand (SOUfHCOM) requesting authority to use aggressive interrogation techniques.Several ofthe techniques requested were similar to techniques used by lPRA and the militaryservices in SERE training, including stress positions, exploitation of detainee fears (such as fearof dogs), removal of clothing, hooding, deprivation of light and sound, and the so-called wettowel treatment or the waterboard. Some ofthe techniques were even referred to as “those usedin US. military interrogation resistance training.” Lieutenant Colonel Diane Beaver, GTMO’sStaffJudge Advocate, wrote an analysis justifYing the legality ofthe techniques, though sheexpected that a broader legal review conducted at more senior levels would follow her own. OnOctober 25, 2002, General Hill forwarded the GTMO request from Major General Dunlavey toGeneral Richard Myers, the Chairman ofthe Joint Chiefs of Staff. Days later, the Joint Staffsolicited the views ofthe military services on the request.(U) Plans to use aggressive interrogation techniques generated concerns by some atGTMO. The Deputy Commander ofthe Department of Defense’s Criminal Investigative TaskForce (CITF) at GTMO told the Committee that SERE techniques were “developed to betterprepare U.S. military personnel to resist interrogations and not as a means of obtaining reliableinformation” and that “CITF was troubled with the rationale that techniques used to hardenresistance to interrogations would be the basis for the utilization oftechniques to obtaininformation.” Concerns were not limited to the effectiveness ofthe techniques in obtainingreliable information; GTMO’s request gave rise to significant legal concerns as well.UNCLASSIFIEDxviiUNCLASSIFIEDMilitary Lawyers Raise Red Flags and Joint Staff Review Quashed (D)(U) In early November 2002, in a series of memos responding to the Joint Staff’s call forcomments on GTMO’s request, the military services identified serious legal concerns about thetechniques and called for additional analysis.(U) The Air Force cited “serious concerns regarding the legality of many ofthe proposedtechniques” and stated that “techniques described may be subject to challenge as failing to meetthe requirements outlined in the military order to treat detainees humanely…” The Air Forcealso called for an in depth legal review ofthe request.(U) CITF’s Chief Legal Advisor wrote that certain techniques in GTMO’s October 11,2002 request “may subject service members to punitive articles ofthe [Uniform Code of MilitaryJustice],” called “the utility and legality of applying certain techniques” in the request”questionable,” and stated that he could not “advocate any action, interrogation or otherwise, thatis predicated upon the principle that all is well ifthe ends justify the means and others are notaware ofhow we conduct our business.”(U) The Chief ofthe Army’s International and Operational Law Division wrote thattechniques like stress positions, deprivation of light and auditory stimuli, and use of phobias toinduce stress “crosses the line of ‘humane’ treatment,” would “likely be consideredmaltreatment” under the UCMJ, and “may violate the torture statute.” The Army labeledGTMO’s request “legally insufficient” and called for additional review.(U) The Navy recommended a “more detailed interagency legal and policy review” oftherequest. And the Marine Corps expressed strong reservations, stating that several techniques inthe request “arguably violate federal law, and would expose our service members to possibleprosecution.” The Marine Corps also said the request was not “legally sufficient,” and like theother services, called for “a more thorough legal and policy review.”(U) Then-Captain (now Rear Admiral) Jane Dalton, Legal Counsel to the Chairman ofthe Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that her staff discussed the military services’ concerns with theDoD General Counsel’s Office at the time and that the DoD General Counsel Jim Haynes wasaware ofthe services’ concerns. Mr. Haynes, on the other hand, testified that he did not knowthat the memos from the military services existed (a statement he later qualified by stating that hewas not sure he knew they existed). Eliana Davidson, the DoD Associate Deputy GeneralCounsel for International Affairs, said that she told the General Counsel that the GTMO requestneeded further assessment. Mr. Haynes did not recall Ms. Davidson telling him that.(U) Captain Dalton, who was the Chairman’s Legal Counsel, said that she had her ownconcerns with the GTMO request and directed her staffto initiate a thorough legal and policyreview ofthe techniques. That review, however, was cut short. Captain Dalton said that GeneralMyers returned from a meeting and advised her that Mr. Haynes wanted her to stop her review,UNCLASSIFIEDxviiiUNCLASSIFIEDin part because of concerns that people were going to see the GTMO request and the militaryservices’ analysis of it. Neither General Myers nor Mr. Haynes recalled cutting short the Daltonreview, though neither has challenged Captain Dalton’s recollection. Captain Dalton testifiedthat this occasion marked the only time she had ever been told to stop analyzing a request thatcame to her for review.Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld Approves Aggressive Techniques (U)(U) With respect to GTMO’s October 11, 2002 request to use aggressive interrogationtechniques, Mr. Haynes said that “there was a sense by the DoD Leadership that this decisionwas taking too long” and that Secretary Rumsfeld told his senior advisors “I need arecommendation” On November 27, 2002, the Secretary got one. Notwithstanding the seriouslegal concerns raised by the military services, Mr. Haynes sent a one page memo to theSecretary, recommending that he approve all but three ofthe eighteen techniques in the GTMOrequest. Techniques such as stress positions, removal of clothing, use ofphobias (such as fear ofdogs), and deprivation oflight and auditory stimuli were all recommended for approval.(U) Mr. Haynes’s memo indicated that he had discussed the issue with Deputy SecretaryofDefense Paul Wolfowitz, Under Secretary ofDefense for Policy Doug Feith, and GeneralMyers and that he believed they concurred in his recommendation. When asked what he reliedon to make his recommendation that the aggressive techniques be approved, the only writtenlegal opinion Mr. Haynes cited was Lieutenant Colonel Beaver’s legal analysis, which seniormilitary lawyers had considered “legally insufficient” and “woefully inadequate,” and whichLTC Beaver herself had expected would be supplemented with a review by persons with greaterexperience than her own.(U) On December 2,2002, Secretary Rumsfeld signed Mr. Haynes’s recommendation,adding a handwritten note that referred to limits proposed in the memo on the use of stresspositions: “I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?”(U) SERE school techniques are designed to simulate abusive tactics used by ourenemies. There are fundamental differences between a SERE school exercise and a real worldinterrogation. At SERE school, students are subject to an extensive medical and psychologicalpre-screening prior to being subjected to physical and psychological pressures. The schoolsimpose strict limits on the frequency, duration, and/or intensity of certain techniques.Psychologists are present throughout SERE training to intervene should the need arise and tohelp students cope with associated stress. And SERE school is voluntary; students are evengiven a special phrase they can use to immediately stop the techniques from being used againstthem.(U) Neither those differences, nor the serious legal c
oncerns that had been registered,stopped the Secretary ofDefense from approving the use ofthe aggressive techniques againstdetainees. Moreover, Secretary Rumsfeld authorized the techniques without apparentlyproviding any written guidance as to how they should be administered.UNCLASSIFIEDxixUNCLASSIFIEDSERE Techniques at GTMO (U)(U) Following the Secretary’s December 2, 2002 authorization, senior staff at GTMObegan drafting a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) specifically for the use ofSEREtechniques in interrogations. The draft SOP itself stated that “The premise behind this is that theinterrogation tactics used at U.S. military SERE schools are appropriate for use in real-worldinterrogations. These tactics and techniques are used at SERE school to ‘break’ SERE detainees.The same tactics and techniques can be used to break real detainees during interrogation” Thedraft “GTMO SERE SOP” described how to slap, strip, and place detainees in stress positions. Italso described other SERE techniques, such as “hooding,” “manhandling,” and “walling”detainees.(U) On December 30,2002, two instructors from the Navy SERE school arrived atGTMO. The next day, in a session with approximately 24 interrogation personnel, the twoSERE instructors demonstrated how to administer stress positions, and various slappingtechniques. According to two interrogators, those who attended the training even broke off intopairs to practice the techniques.(U) ExemplifYing the disturbing nature and substance ofthe training, the SEREinstructors explained “Biderman’s Principles” – which were based on coercive methods used bythe Chinese Communist dictatorship to elicit false confessions from U.S. POWs during theKorean War – and left with GTMO personnel a chart ofthose coercive techniques. Three daysafter they conducted the training, the SERE instructors met with GTMO’s Commander, MajorGeneral Geoffrey Miller. According to some who attended that meeting, Major General Millerstated that he did not want his interrogators using the techniques that the Navy SERE instructorshad demonstrated. That conversation, however, took place after the training had alreadyoccurred and not all ofthe interrogators who attended the training got the message.(U) At about the same time, a dispute over the use ofaggressive techniques was raging atGTMO over the interrogation ofMohammed al-Khatani, a high value detainee. Personnel fromCITF and the Federal Bureau ofInvestigations (FBI) had registered strong opposition, tointerrogation techniques proposed for use on Khatani and made those concerns known to theDoD General Counsel’s office. Despite those objections, an interrogation plan that includedaggressive techniques was approved. The interrogation itself, which actually began onNovember 23,2002, a week before the Secretary’s December 2,2002 grant ofblanket authorityfor the use ofaggressive techniques, continued through December and into mid-January 2003.(U) NSC Legal Advisor John Bellinger said that, on several occasions, Deputy AssistantAttorney General Bruce Swartz raised concerns with him about allegations of detainee abuse atGTMO. Mr. Bellinger said that, in tum, he raised these concerns “on several occasions withDoD officials and was told that the allegations were being investigated by the Naval CriminalInvestigative Service.” Then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said that Mr.Bellinger also advised her “on a regular basis regarding concerns and issues relating to DoDdetention policies and practices at Guantanamo.” She said that as a result she convened a “seriesUNCLASSIFIED:1:1:UNCLASSIFIEDofmeetings ofNSC Principals in 2002 and 2003 to discuss various issues and concerns relatingto detainees in the custody ofthe Department of Defense.”(U) Between mid-December 2002 and mid-January 2003, Navy General Counsel AlbertoMora spoke with the DoD General Counsel three times to express his concerns aboutinterrogation techniques at GTMO, at one point telling Mr. Haynes that he thought techniquesthat had been authorized by the Secretary ofDefense “could rise to the level oftorture.” OnJanuary 15,2003, having received no word that the Secretary’s authority would be withdrawn,Mr. Mora went so far as to deliver a draft memo to Mr. Haynes’s office memorializing his legalconcerns about the techniques. In a subsequent phone call, Mr. Mora told Mr. Haynes he wouldsign his memo later that day unless he heard defmitively that the use ofthe techniques wassuspended. In a meeting that same day, Mr. Haynes told Mr. Mora that the Secretary wouldrescind the techniques. Secretary Rumsfeld signed a memo rescinding authority for thetechniques on January 15,2003.(U) That same day, GTMO suspended its use ofaggressive techniques on Khatani.While key documents relating to the interrogation remain classified, published accounts indicatethat military working dogs had been used against Khatani. He had also been deprived ofadequate sleep for weeks on end, stripped naked, subjected to loud music, and made to wear aleash and perform dog tricks. In a June 3, 2004 press briefing, SOUTHCOM CommanderGeneral James Hill traced the source oftechniques used on Khatani back to SERE, stating: “Thestaff at Guantanamo working with behavioral scientists, having gone up to our SERE school anddeveloped a list oftechniques which our lawyers decided and looked at, said were OK.” GeneralHill said “we began to use a few ofthose techniques … on this individuaL.”(U) On May 13, 2008, the Pentagon announced in a written statement that the ConveningAuthority for military commissions “dismissed without prejudice the sworn charges againstMohamed al Khatani.” The statement does not indicate the role his treatment may have playedin that decision.DoD Working Group Ignores Military Lawyers and Relies on OLC (D)(U) On January 15, 2003, the same day he rescinded authority for GTMO to useaggressive techniques, Secretary Rumsfeld directed the establishment ofa “Working Group” toreview interrogation techniques. For the next few months senior military and civilian lawyerstried, without success, to have their concerns about the legality ofaggressive techniques reflectedin the Working Group’s report. Their arguments were rejected in favor ofa legal opinion fromthe Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel’s (OLC) John Yoo. Mr. Yoo’s opinion, thefinal version of which ‘was dated March 14,2003, had been requested by Mr. Haynes at theinitiation ofthe Working Group process, and repeated much of what the first Bybee memo hadsaid six months earlier.(U) The first Bybee memo, dated August 1, 2002, had concluded that, to violate thefederal torture statute, physical pain that resulted from an act would have to be “equivalent inintensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment ofUNCLASSIFIEDxxiUNCLASSIFIEDbodily function, or even death.” Mr. Yoo’s March 14, 2003 memo stated that criminal laws,such as the federal torture statute, would not apply to certain military interrogations, and thatinterrogators could not be prosecuted by the Justice Department for using interrogation methodsthat would otherwise violate the law.(U) Though the final Working Group report does not specifically mention SERE, the listofinterrogation techniques it evaluated and recommended for approval suggest the influence ofSERE. Removal of clothing, prolonged standing, sleep deprivation, dietary manipulation,hooding, increasing anxiety through the use ofa detainee’s aversions like dogs, and face andstomach slaps were all recommended for approval.(U) On April 16, 2003, less than two weeks after the Working Group completed itsreport, the Secretary authorized the use of24 specific interrogation techniques for use at GTMO.While the authorization included such techniques as dietary manipulation, environmentalmanipulation, and sleep adjustment, it was silent on many ofthe techniques in the WorkingGroup report. Secretary Rumsfeld’s memo said, however, that “If, in your view, you requireadditional interrogation techniques for a particular detainee, you should provide me, via theChairman ofthe Joint Chiefs of Staff, a written request describing the proposed te
chnique,recommended safeguards, and the rationale for applying it with an identified detainee.”(U) Just a few months later, one such request for “additional interrogation techniques”arrived on Secretary Rumsfeld’s desk. The detainee was Mohamedou QuId Slahi. Whiledocuments relating to the interrogation plan for Slahi remain classified, a May 2008 report fromthe Department of Justice Inspector General includes declassified information suggesting theplan included hooding Slahi and subjecting him to sensory deprivation and “sleep adjustment.”The Inspector General’s report says that an FBI agent who saw a draft ofthe interrogation plansaid it was similar to Khatani’s interrogation plan. Secretary Rumsfeld approved the Slahi planon August 13, 2003.Aggressive Techniques Authorized in Afghanistan and Iraq (U)(U) Shortly after Secretary Rumsfeld’s December 2,2002 approval ofhis GeneralCounsel’s recommendation to authorize aggressive interrogation techniques, the techniquesandthe fact the Secretary had authorized them – became known to interrogators in Mghanistan.A copy ofthe Secretary’s memo was sent from GTMO to Mghanistan. Captain Carolyn Wood,the Officer in Charge ofthe Intelligence Section at Bagram Airfield in Mghanistan, said that inJanuary 2003 she saw a power point presentation listing the aggressive techniques that had beenauthorized by the Secretary.(U) Despite the Secretary’s January 15,2003 rescission ofauthority for GTMO to useaggressive techniques, his initial approval six weeks earlier continued to influence interrogationpolicies.(U) On January 24, 2003, nine days after Secretary Rumsfe1d rescinded authority for thetechniques at GTMO, the StaffJudge Advocate for Combined Joint Task Force 180 (CJTF-180),UNCLASSIFIEDxxiiUNCLASSIFIEDu.s. Central Command’s (CENTCOM) conventional forces in Afghanistan, produced an”Interrogation techniques” memo. While that memo remains classified, unclassified portions ofa report by Major General George Fay stated that the memo “recommended removal of clothing- a technique that had been in the Secretary’s December 2 authorization” and discussed”exploiting the Arab fear ofdogs” another technique approved by the Secretary on December 2,2002.(U) From Afghanistan, the techniques made their way to Iraq. According to theDepartment of Defense (DoD) Inspector General (lG), at the beginning ofthe Iraq war, specialmission unit forces in Iraq “used a January 2003 Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) which hadbeen developed for operations in Afghanistan.” According to the DoD IG, the Afghanistan SOPhad been:[I]nfluenced by the counter-resistance memorandum that the Secretary of Defenseapproved on December 2, 2002 and incorporated techniques designed fordetainees who were identified as unlawful combatants. Subsequent battlefieldinterrogation SOPs included techniques such as yelling, loud music, and lightcontrol, environmental manipulation, sleep deprivation/adjustment, stresspositions, 20-hour interrogations, and controlled fear (muzzled dogs) …(U) Techniques approved by the Secretary of Defense in December 2002 reflect theinfluence ofSERE. And not only did those techniques make their way into official interrogationpolicies in Iraq, but instructors from the JPRA SERE school followed. The DoD IG reported thatin September 2003, at the request ofthe Commander ofthe Special Mission Unit Task Force,JPRA deployed a team to Iraq to assist interrogation operations. During that trip, which wasexplicitly approved by U.S. Joint Forces Command, JPRA’s higher headquarters, SEREinstructors were authorized to participate in the interrogation ofdetainees in U.S. militarycustody using SERE techniques.(U) In September 2008 testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, ColonelSteven Kleinman, an Air Force Reservist who was a member ofthe interrogation support teamsent by JPRA to the Special Mission Unit Task Force in Iraq, described abusive interrogations hewitnessed, and intervened to stop, during that trip. Colonel Kleinman said that one ofthoseinterrogations, which took place in a room painted all in black with a spotlight on the detainee,the interrogator repeatedly slapped a detainee who was kneeling on the floor in front oftheinterrogator. In another interrogation Colonel Kleinman said the two other members oftheJPRA team took a hooded detainee to a bunker at the Task Force facility, forcibly stripped himnaked and left him, shackled by the wrist and ankles, to stand for 12 hours.(U) Interrogation techniques used by the Special Mission Unit Task Force eventuallymade their way into Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued for all U.S. forces in Iraq. Inthe summer of2003, Captain Wood, who by that time was the Interrogation Officer in Charge atAbu Ghraib, obtained a copy ofthe Special Mission Unit interrogation policy and submitted it,virtually unchanged, to her chain ofcommand as proposed policy.UNCLASSIFIEDxxiiiUNCLASSIFIED(U) Captain Wood submitted her proposed policy around the same time that a messagewas being conveyed that interrogators should be more aggressive with detainees. In mid-August2003, an email from staffat Combined Joint Task Force 7 (CJTF-7) headquarters in Iraqrequested that subordinate units provide input for a “wish list” of interrogation techniques, statedthat “the gloves are coming off,” and said “we want these detainees broken.” At the end ofAugust 2003, Major General Geoffrey Miller, the GTMO Commander, led a team to Iraq toassess interrogation and detention operations. Colonel Thomas Pappas, the Commander ofthe20Sth Military Intelligence Brigade, who met with Major General Miller during that visit, saidthat the tenor ofthe discussion was that “we had to get tougher with the detainees.” A ChiefWarrant Officer with the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) said that during Major General Miller’s tourofthe ISG’s facility, Major General Miller said the ISG was “running a country club” fordetainees.(U) On September 14,2003 the Commander ofCJTF-7, Lieutenant General RicardoSanchez, issued the fIrst CJTF-7 interrogation SOP. That SOP authorized interrogators in Iraq touse stress positions, environmental manipulation, sleep management, and military working dogsin interrogations. Lieutenant General Sanchez issued the September 14, 2003 policy with theknowledge that there were ongoing discussions about the legality ofsome ofthe approvedtechniques. Responding to legal concerns from CENTCOM lawyers about those techniques,Lieutenant General Sanchez issued a new policy on October 12,2003, eliminating many ofthepreviously authorized aggressive techniques. The new policy, however, contained ambiguitieswith respect to certain techniques, such as the use of dogs in interrogations, and led to confusionabout which techniques were permitted.(U) In his report of his investigation into Abu Ghraib, Major General George Fay saidthat interrogation techniques developed for GTMO became “confused” and were implemented atAbu Ghraib. For example, Major General Fay said that removal of clothing, while not includedin CJTF-Ts SOP, was “imported” to Abu Ghraib, could be ”traced through Mghanistan andGTMO,” and contributed to an environment at Abu Ghraib that appeared “to condone depravityand degradation rather than humane treatment of detainees.” Major General Fay said that thepolicy approved by the Secretary ofDefense on December 2,2002 contributed to the use ofaggressive interrogation techniques at Abu Ghraib in late 2003.OLC Withdraws Legal Opinion – JFCOM Issues Guidance on JPRA “Offensive” Support(U)(U) As the events at Abu Ghraib were unfolding, Jack Goldsmith, the new Assistant AttorneyGeneral for the Office of Legal Counsel was presented with a “short stack” of0 Le opinions thatwere described to him as problematic. Included in that short stack were the Bybee memos ofAugust 1,2002 and Mr. Yoo’s memo of March 2003. After reviewing the memos, Mr.Goldsmith decided to rescind both the so-called fIrst Bybee memo and Mr. Yoo’s memo. In lateDecember 2003, Mr. Goldsmith notifIed Mr. Haynes that DoD could no longer rely on Mr.Yoo’s memo in determining the lawfulness ofinterrogation techniques. The change in OLeguidance, however, did not keep
JPRA from making plans to continue their support tointerrogation operations. In fact, it is not clear that the agency was even aware ofthe change.UNCLASSIFIEDxxivUNCLASSIFIED(U) In 2004, JPRA and CENTCOM took steps to send a JPRA training team toAfghanistan to assist in detainee interrogations there. In the wake ofthe public disclosure ofdetainee abuse at Abu Ghraib, however, that trip was cancelled and JFCOM subsequently issuedpolicy guidance limiting JPRA’s support to interrogations.(U) On September 29, 2004 Major General James Soligan, JFCOM’s Chief of StatI,issued a memorandum referencing JPRA’s support to interrogation operations. Major GeneralSoligan wrote:Recent requests from [the Office of the Secretary of Defense] and the CombatantCommands have solicited JPRA support based on knowledge and informationgained through the debriefing of former U.S. POWs and detainees and theirapplication to U.S. Strategic debriefmg and interrogation techniques. Theserequests, which can be characterized as ‘offensive’ support, go beyond thechartered responsibilities of JPRA… The use of resistance to interrogationknowledge for ‘offensive’ purposes lies outside the roles and responsibilities ofJPRA(U) Lieutenant General Robert Wagner, the Deputy Commander ofJFCOM, later calledrequests for JPRA interrogation support “inconsistent with the unit’s charter” and said that suchrequests “might create conditions which tasked JPRA to engage in offensive operationalactivities outside ofJPRA’s defensive mission.”(U) Interrogation policies endorsed by senior military and civilian officials authorizingthe use of harsh interrogation techniques were a major cause ofthe abuse of detainees in U.S.custody. The impact ofthose abuses has been significant. In a 2007 international BBC poll,only 29 percent of people around the world said the United States is a generally positiveinfluence in the world. Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have a lot to do with that perception. Thefact that America is seen in a negative light by so many complicates our ability to attract allies toour side, strengthens the hand of our enemies, and reduces our ability to collect intelligence thatcan save lives.(U) It is particularly troubling that senior officials approved the use ofinterrogationtechniques that were originally designed to simulate abusive tactics used by our enemies againstour own soldiers and that were modeled, in part, on tactics used by the Communist Chinese toelicit false confessions from U.S. military personnel. While some argue that the brutality anddisregard for human life shown by al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists justifies us treating themharshly, General David Petraeus explained why that view is misguided. In a May 2007 letter tohis troops, General Petraeus said “Our values and thelaws governing warfare teach us to respecthuman dignity, maintain our integrity, and do what is right. Adherence to our valuesdistinguishes us from our enemy. This fight depends on securing the population, which mustunderstand that we – not our enemies – occupy the moral high ground.”UNCLASSIFIEDxxvUNCLASSIFIEDSenate AImed Services Committee ConclusionsConclusion 1: On February 7,2002, President George W. Bush made a written determinationthat Common Article 3 ofthe Geneva Conventions, which would have afforded minimumstandards for humane treatment, did not apply to al Qaeda or Taliban detainees. Following thePresident’s determination, techniques such as waterboarding, nudity, and stress positions, used inSERE training to simulate tactics used by enemies that refuse to follow the Geneva Conventions,were authorized for use in interrogations of detainees in U.S. custody.Conclusion 2: Members of the President’s Cabinet and other senior officials participated inmeetings inside the White House in 2002 and 2003 where specific interrogation techniques wered~scussed. National Security Council Principals reviewed the CIA’s interrogation programduring that period.Conclusions on SERE Training Techniques and InterrogationsConclusion 3: The use oftechniques similar to those used in SERE resistance training – suchas stripping students oftheir clothing, placing them in stress positions, putting hoods over theirheads, and treating them like animals – was at odds with the commitment to humane treatment ofdetainees in U.S. custody. Using those techniques for interrogating detainees was alsoinconsistent with the goal of collecting accurate intelligence information, as the purpose of SEREresistance training is to increase the ability of U. S. personnel to resist abusive interrogations andthe techniques used were based, in part, on Chinese Communist techniques used during theKorean War to elicit false confessions.Conclusion 4: The use oftechniques in interrogations derived from SERE resistance trainingcreated a serious risk of physical and psychological harm to detainees. The SERE schoolsemploy strict controls to reduce the risk of physical and psychological harm to students duringtraining. Those controls include medical and psychological screening for students, interventionsby trained psychologists during training, and code words to ensure that students can stop theapplication ofa technique at any time should the need arise. Those same controls are not presentin real world interrogations.Conclusions on Senior Official Consideration of SERE Techniques for InterrogationsConclusion 5: In July 2002, the Office ofthe Secretary of Defense General Counsel solicitedinformation from the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA) on SERE techniques for useduring interrogations. That solicitation, prompted by requests from Department ofDefenseGeneral Counsel William J. Haynes II, reflected the view that abusive tactics similar to thoseused by our enemies should be considered for use against detainees in U.S. custody.’Conclusion 6: The Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) interrogation program included at leastone SERE training technique, waterboarding. Senior Administration lawyers, including AlbertoUNCLASSIFIEDxxviUNCLASSIFIEDGonzales, Counsel to the President, and David Addington, Counsel to the Vice President, wereconsulted on the development oflegal analysis ofCIA interrogation techniques. Legal opinionssubsequently issued by the Department ofJustice’s Office ofLegal Counsel (OLC) interpretedlegal obligations under u.s. anti-torture laws and determined the legality ofCIA interrogationtechniques. Those OLC opinions distorted the meaning and intent ofanti-torture laws,rationalized the abuse ofdetainees in U.S. custody and influenced Department ofDefensedeterminations as to what interrogation techniques were legal for use during interrogationsconducted by u.s. military personnel. .Conclusions on JPRA Offensive ActivitiesConclusion 7: Joint Personnel Recovery Agency (JPRA) efforts in support of”offensive”interrogation operations went beyond the agency’s knowledge and expertise. JPRA’s support toU.S. government interrogation efforts contributed to detainee abuse. JPRA’s offensive supportalso influenced the development ofpolicies that authorized abusive interrogation techniques foruse against detainees in U.S. custody.Conclusion 8: Detainee abuse occurred during JPRA’s support to Special Mission Unit (SMU)Task Force (TF) interrogation operations in Iraq in September 2003. JPRA Commander ColonelRandy Moulton’s authorization ofSERE instructors, who had no experience in detaineeinterrogations, to actively participate in Task Force interrogations using SERE resistance trainingtechniques was a serious failure in judgment. The Special Mission Unit Task ForceCommander’s failure to order that SERE resistance training techniques not be used in detaineeinterrogations was a serious failure in leadership that led to the abuse ofdetainees in Task Forcecustody. Iraq is a Geneva Convention theater and techniques used in SERE school areinconsistent with the obligations of U.S. personnel under the Geneva Conventions.Conclusion 9: Combatant Command requests for JPRA “offensive” interrogation support andU.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) authorization ofthat support led to JPRA operatingoutside the agency’s charter and beyond its expertise. Only when JFCOM’s
StaffJudgeAdvocate became aware ofand raised concerns about JPRA’s support to offensive interrogationoperations in late September 2003 did JFCOM leadership begin to take steps to curtail JPRA’s”offensive” activities. It was not until September 2004, however, that JFCOM issued a formalpolicy stating that support to offensive interrogation operations was outside JPRA’s charter.Conclusions on GTMO’s Request for Ageressive TechniquesConclusion 10: Interrogation techniques in Guantanamo Bay’s (GTMO) October 11, 2002request for authority submitted by Major General Michael Dunlavey, were influenced by JPRAtraining for GTMO interrogation personnel and included techniques similar to those used inSERE training to teach U.S. personnel to resist abusive enemy interrogations. GTMO StaffJudge Advocate Lieutenant Colonel Diane Beaver’s legal review justifying the October 11, 2002GTMO request was profoundly in error and legally insufficient. Leaders at GTMO, includingMajor General Dunlavey’s successor, Major General Geoffrey Miller, ignored warnings fromUNCLASSIFIEDxxviiUNCLASSIFIEDDoD’s Criminal Investigative Task Force and the Federal Bureau ofInvestigation that thetechniques were potentially unlawful and that their use would strengthen detainee resistance.Conclusion 11: Chairman ofthe Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers’s decision to cutshort the legal and policy review ofthe October 11,2002 GTMO request initiated by his LegalCounsel, then-Captain Jane Dalton, undermined the military’s review process. Subsequentconclusions reached by Chairman Myers and Captain Dalton regarding the legality ofinterrogation techniques in the request followed a grossly deficient review and were at odds withconclusions previously reached by the Anny, Air Force, Marine Corps, and CriminalInvestigative Task Force.Conclusion 12: Department of Defense General Counsel William 1. Haynes II’s effort to cutshort the legal and policy review ofthe October 11,2002 GTMO request initiated by thenCaptainJane Dahon, Legal Counsel to the Chairman ofthe Joint Chiefs of Staff, wasinappropriate and undermined the military’s review process. The General Counsel’s subsequentreview was grossly deficient. Mr. Haynes’s one page recommendation to Secretary of DefenseDonald Rumsfeld failed to address the serious legal concerns that had been previously raised bythe military services about techniques in the GTMO request. Further, Mr. Haynes’s reliance on alegal memo produced by GTMO’s StaffJudge Advocate that senior military lawyers called”legally insufficient” and “woefully inadequate” is deeply troubling.Conclusion 13: Secretary ofDefense Donald Rumsfeld’s authorization ofaggressiveinterrogation techniques for use at Guantanamo Bay was a direct cause of detainee abuse there.Secretary Rumsfeld’s December 2,2002 approval of Mr. Haynes’s recommendation that most ofthe techniques contained in GTMO’s October 11, 2002 request be authorized, influenced andcontributed to the use ofabusive techniques, including military working dogs, forced nudity, andstress positions, in Afghanistan and Iraq.Conclusion 14: Department of Defense General Counsel William 1. Haynes II’s direction to theDepartment of Defense’s Detainee Working Group in early 2003 to consider a legal memo fromJohn Yoo ofthe Department of Justice’s OLC as authoritative, blocked the Working Group fromconducting a fair and complete legal analysis and resulted in a report that, in the words ofthenDepartmentofthe Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora contained “profound mistakes in itslegal analysis.” Reliance on the OLC memo resulted in a final Working Group report thatrecommended approval of several aggressive techniques, including removal of clothing, sleepdeprivation, and slapping, similar to those used in SERE training to teach U. S. personnel to resistabusive interrogations.Conclusions on Interrogations in Iraq and AfghanistanConclusion 15: Special Mission Unit (SMU) Task Force (TF) interrogation policies wereinfluenced by the Secretary ofDefense’s December 2,2002 approval ofaggressive interrogationteclmiques for use at GTMO. SMU TF interrogation policies in Iraq included the use ofaggressive interrogation techniques such as military working dogs and stress positions. SMU TFUNCLASSIFIEDxxviiiUNCLASSIFIEDpolicies were a direct cause of detainee abuse and influenced interrogation policies at AbuGhraib and elsewhere in Iraq.Conclusion 16: During his assessment visit to Iraq in August and September 2003, GTMOCommander Major General Geoffrey Miller encouraged a view that interrogators should be moreaggressive during detainee interrogations.Conclusion 17: Interrogation policies approved by Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, whichincluded the use ofmilitary working dogs and stress positions, were a direct cause of detaineeabuse in Iraq. Lieutenant General Sanchez’s decision to issue his September 14,2003 policywith the knowledge that there were ongoing discussions as to the legality of some techniques init was a serious error in judgment The September policy was superseded on October 12,2003as a result oflegal concerns raised by U.S. Central Command. That superseding policy,however, contained ambiguities and contributed to confusion about whether aggressivetechniques, such as military working dogs, were authorized for use during interrogations.Conclusion 18: U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) failed to conduct proper oversight ofSpecial Mission Unit Task Force interrogation policies. Though aggressive interrogationtechniques were removed from Combined Joint Task Force 7 interrogation policies afterCENTCOM raised legal concerns about their inclusion in the September 14, 2003 policy issuedby Lieutenant General Sanchez, SMU TF interrogation policies authorized some ofthose sametechniques, including stress positions and military working dogs.Conclusion 19: The abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib in late 2003 was not simply the result of afew soldiers acting on their own. Interrogation techniques such as stripping detainees oftheirclothes, placing them in stress positions, and using military working dogs to intimidate themappeared in Iraq only after they had been approved for use in Afghanistan and at GTMO.Secretary ofDefense Donald Rumsfeld’s December 2,2002 authorization ofaggressiveinterrogation techniques and subsequent interrogation policies and plans approved by seniormilitary and civilian officials conveyed the message that physical pressures and degradation wereappropriate treatment for detainees in U.S. military custody. What followed was an erosion instandards dictating that detainees be treated humanely.
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Committee Study of the ClA’s Detention and lnterrogation Program (2014)
December 15, 2014
#1: The CIA’s use of its enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees.
#2: The CIA’s justification for the use of its enhanced interrogation techniques rested on inaccurate claims of their effectiveness.
#3: The interrogations of CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than the CIA represented to policymakers and others.
#4: The conditions of confinement for CIA detainees were harsher than the CIA had represented to policymakers and others.
#5: The CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information to the Department of Justice, impeding a proper legal analysis of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.
#6: The CIA bas actively avoided or impeded congressional oversight of the program.
#7: The CIA impeded effective White House oversight and decision-making.
#8: The CIA ‘s operation and management of the program complicated, and in some cases impeded, the national security missions of other Executive Branch agencies.
#9: The CIA impeded oversight by the CIA ‘s Office of Inspector General.
#10: The CIA coordinated the release of classified information to the media, including inaccurate information concerning the effectiveness of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques.
#ll: The CIA was unprepared as it began operating its Detention and Interrogation Program more than six months after being granted detention authorities.
#12: The CIA’s management and operation of its Detention and Interrogation Program was deeply flawed tbrough out the program’s duration, particularly so in 2002 and early 2003.
#13: Two contract psychologists devised the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques and played a central role in the operation, assessments, and management of the CIA ‘s Detention and Interrogation Program. By 2005, the CIA had overwhelmingly outsourced operations related to the program.
#14: CIA detainees were subjected to coercive interrogation techniques that had not been approved by the Department of Justice or had not been authorized by CIA
#15: The CIA did not conduct a comprehensive or accurate accounting of the number of individuals it detained, and held individuals who did not meet the legal standard for detention. The CIA’s claims about the number of detainees held and subjected to its enhanced interrogation techniques were inaccurate.
#16: The CIA failed to adequately evaluate the effectiveness of its enhanced interrogation techniques.
#17: The CIA rarely reprimanded or held personnel accountable for serious and significant violations, inappropriate activities, and systemic and individual management failures.
#18: The CIA marginalized and ignored numerous internal critiques, criticisms, and objections concerning the operation and management of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.
#19: The CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program was inherently unsustainable and had effectively ended by 2006 due to unauthorized press disclosures, reduced cooperation from other nations, and legal and oversight concerns.
#20: The CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program damaged the United States’ standing in the world, and resulted in other significant monetary and non-monetary costs.
Find the report at 9 December 2014
I interrogated the top terrorist in US custody. Then the CIA came to town
December 15, 2014
The Senate report exposed an orchestrated campaign of deception and lies while I was an FBI agent. But here’s the worst part: the lies haven’t stopped
In the middle of my interrogation of the high-ranking terrorist Abu Zubaydah at a black-site prison 12 years ago, my intelligence work wasn’t just cut short for so-called enhanced interrogation techniques to begin. After I left the black site, those who took over left, too – for 47 days. For personal time and to “confer with headquarters”.
For nearly the entire summer of 2002, Abu Zubaydah was kept in isolation. That was valuable lost time, and that doesn’t square with claims about the “ticking bomb scenarios” that were the basis for America’s enhanced interrogation program, or with the commitment to getting life-saving, actionable intelligence from valuable detainees. The techniques were justified by those who said Zubaydah “stopped all cooperation” around the time my fellow FBI agent and I left. If Zubaydah was in isolation the whole time, that’s not really a surprise.
One of the hardest things we struggled to make sense of, back then, was why US officials were authorizing harsh techniques when our interrogations were working and their harsh techniques weren’t. The answer, as the long-awaited Senate Intelligence Committee report now makes clear, is that the architects of the program were taking credit for our success, from the unmasking of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as the mastermind of 9/11 to the uncovering of the “dirty bomber” Jose Padilla. The claims made by government officials for years about the efficacy of “enhanced interrogation”, in secret memos and in public, are false. “Enhanced interrogation” doesn’t work.
It’s maddening enough to learn that while we were working around the clock and often under dangerous circumstances, from Yemen to Afghanistan, the “enhanced” interrogators took the weeks off from interrogating the only high-value detainee in American custody. And the entire Senate report makes for painful reading. But not just because of the new details on the futility of those techniques and the orchestrated campaign of deception and lies told about their efficiency. The hardest part about the report is what it doesn’t answer: How do we prevent this from happening again?
At the time, I witnessed some CIA officials objecting to what was happening – and I watched them leave. What I learned from the report is that so many more officials were objecting to harsh interrogations through their official channels – they were just ignored. Memos in the report show that those responsible “marginalized and ignored numerous internal critiques, criticisms, and objections concerning the operation and management of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program”. The report says that tears were shed, and knowing the officials who shed them, I know those were tears over lost time and lost intelligence – and lost American values.
Those responsible for the program have tried to portray this as a CIA-versus-FBI matter, or as a debate between those who will do whatever it takes to defend the homeland versus those with softer hearts. The reality is that these techniques endangered our homeland. They didn’t work. We lost valuable time – years of time. Intelligence that could have been gained wasn’t. And plots that could have been stopped weren’t.
The sad truth is that today there are more people around the world who follow the ideology Osama bin Laden espoused than there were before 9/11. America’s turn to the dark side damaged our reputation and played into our enemy’s narrative.
The responses in defense of the program are predictable. Those at the top who authorized the program, or who didn’t do the do diligence they should have, are defensive because they are embarrassed – and they should be. They really owe an apology to the American people.
These officials are so committed to their narrative they haven’t paid attention to reality.
What amuses me most about their continued defense of what they did is that they’re still wrong. Within minutes of the report’s release, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by three former CIA directors, and they still called Abu Zubaydah a senior al-Qaida operative. This error is, in many ways, a microcosm for everything that went wrong. When the agency’s contractors arrived at that black site, they said that as Abu Zubaydah was giving us information, he wasn’t fully cooperating because he wasn’t admitting to being the number three in al-Qaida.
We knew Abu Zubaydah’s background well: We had been investigating terrorist attacks in which he was involved in Jordan and terrorists who had come through his training camp. The reality is that Abu Zubaydah was an independent operator with close ties to al-Qaida, but he was never a member. He had actually tried to join earlier on in his career, but al-Qaida deemed him unstable; later, when they wanted him to join, Abu Zubaydah refused.
We pointed this out at the time, but the “enhanced” interrogators refused to listen. A few years ago, very quietly, the US government changed its claims about Abu Zubaydah, reflecting the reality that he was never a member.
If such a basic fact is still misunderstood by former directors of the CIA and others – about a terrorist subjected to America’s harsh techniques, and who was the basis for using them on others – it’s no wonder the debate isn’t closed. These officials are so committed to their narrative they haven’t paid attention to reality.
This is why reading the Senate report is so painful. What it does provide is great detail on our failures and shortcomings. What it doesn’t do is prevent them from happening again. That isn’t the responsibility of Senate investigators; that is the responsibility of the president of the United States. Upon the release of the report, President Obama pledged that it would never again happen under his watch. He’s only got two more years left on the clock. He has the responsibility to ensure something like this never happens again.
Ali Soufan, Friday 12 December 2014 12.15 GMT
Find this story at 12 December 2014
© 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.
‘A LOT OF THESE GOMERS DIDN’T KNOW SHIT’: FORMER CIA OFFICER ON TORTURE REPORT
December 15, 2014
The whole question of torture could have been avoided if the military had “just killed all these guys when they were captured on the battlefield,” when no one would have noticed, a former senior CIA officer told me over lunch today.
I set up an interview a few weeks ago with him to talk about the situation in Iraq. When we met today, naturally the subject of the Senate’s report on torture came up. He’s pretty hardline on military issues, as you’d expect.
In his view, torture is worse than killing people, because it doesn’t work, which was obvious before the release of the Senate report and further confirmed by it. A person being tortured will tell you anything you want to hear, even if it’s all lies, and a lot of the victims had to lie because they didn’t have valuable information to begin with.
“It doesn’t matter what tactics you use, you’re not going to get information if people don’t know anything and most of these Gomers didn’t know shit,” he said. “Who in the leadership was stupid enough to think they would? Why would these guys have detailed knowledge about plans and targeting? Even if they were hard-core jihadis who took part in operations, that doesn’t mean they would have knowledge of upcoming attacks.”
Once the U.S. went into “the business of interrogation,” U.S. allies in the “war on terror” were encouraged to hand over suspects — and they did, no matter how flimsy the evidence. Lots of others were turned in by bounty hunters. And of course we know that a lot of people falsely dimed out their personal enemies or political rivals.
Torture grew inevitably out of the militarization of the CIA that took place after 9/11, this former CIA officer said, when the agency was tasked with obtaining information to support battlefield needs. “That’s important but it’s tactical information and the military’s intelligence agencies should handle that,” he said. “The agency became more involved in interrogation than intelligence gathering. There’s a whole generation of young officers who think that intelligence gathering is getting information out of a guy shackled to a chair.”
The former CIA officer said he personally liked George Tenet “but he was a shitty DCI” and he is responsible for many of the agency’s post-9/11 failures. “The president should’ve demanded the heads of people. But to Bush, George [Tenet] was a good guy and it wasn’t his fault,” he said. “Fine, it wasn’t all his fault but it was partly his fault and there was no way the agency could move forward when the guys at the helm were all trying to escape responsibility for 9/11.”
At the same time, he said Senate Democrats are being totally disingenuous about their own role in tacitly condoning torture. They gave Bush a blank check when it was politically convenient and now they’re pretending to be shocked about what happened: “I’m familiar with congressional oversight and there’s no way people on the intelligence committees and in the leadership didn’t generally know what was going on. There’s no conceivable circumstances under which they wouldn’t have known. It’s like that scene from Casablanca, they had no idea. They’re lying.”
BY KEN SILVERSTEIN WEDNESDAY AT 11:55 PM
Find this story at 10 December 2014
BLOWING THE WHISTLE ON CIA TORTURE FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE
December 15, 2014
In the fall of 2006, Nathaniel Raymond, a researcher with the advocacy group Physicians for Human Rights, got a call from a man professing to be a CIA contractor. Scott Gerwehr was a behavioral science researcher who specialized in “deception detection,” or figuring out when someone was lying. Gerwehr told Raymond “practically in the first five minutes” that he had been at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo in the summer of 2006, but had left after his suggestion to install video-recording equipment in detainee interrogation rooms was rejected. “He said, ‘I wouldn’t operate at a facility that didn’t tape. It protects the interrogators and it protects the detainees,’” Raymond recalls.
Gerwehr also told Raymond that that he had read the CIA inspector general’s report on detainee abuse, which at the time had not been made public. But “he didn’t behave like a traditional white knight,” Raymond told The Intercept. Though he had reached out to Raymond and perhaps others, he didn’t seem like a prototypical whistleblower. He didn’t say what he was trying to do or ask for help; he just dropped the information. Raymond put him in touch with a handful of reporters, and their contact ended in 2007.
In 2008, at the age of 40, Gerwehr died in a motorcycle accident on Sunset Boulevard. Years after Gerwehr died, New York Times reporter James Risen obtained a cache of Gerwehr’s files, including emails that identify him as part of a group of psychologists and researchers with close ties to the national security establishment. Risen’s new book, Pay Any Price, uses Gerwehr’s emails to show close collaboration between staffers at the American Psychological Association (APA) and government officials, collaboration that offered a fig leaf of health-professional legitimacy to the CIA and military’s brutal interrogations of terror suspects.
“I BELIEVE THAT GERWEHR ENCOUNTERED SOMETHING DEEPLY DISTURBING.”
Risen describes Gerwehr as “living a highly compartmentalized life.” A Santa Monica liberal who “expressed distaste for George Bush,” he was nonetheless tightly connected to people involved in the administration’s interrogation program. He had top secret/sensitive compartmented information clearance, according to Risen, and a psychologist told Risen “he seemed optimistic about the possibilities of testing out psychological theories on interrogation issues.” Indeed, in a 2005 New York Times op-ed that reads as almost naïve in the wake of the Abu Ghraib revelations, he and a co-author wrote that the idea “that harsh treatment of prisoners can be less effective than showing compassion…now deserves a test in Iraq.” Treating prisoners well “would help reverse the terrible propaganda defeat suffered with the revelations of torture at Abu Ghraib,” he wrote, and “prisoners released by our forces would return to their communities with stories of American generosity and tolerance.”
scott-gerwehr Risen says that Gerwehr’s files don’t contain “explosive bombshells,” or indicate “the extent of his knowledge of the CIA’s detention and interrogation programs.” But they narrate a period in 2004 and 2005 when the APA was being forced to respond to revelations about detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib and the role of psychologists in designing and condoning brutal questioning tactics. (Subsequent government investigations and reporting would show the foundational role of psychology, and in particular, two psychologists and CIA contractors, James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen.)
The APA in 2002 famously revised its ethics code to permit a psychologist to follow “governing legal authority” even if it clashed with the APA’s own code of ethics. It was, essentially, the Nuremberg Defense of “just following orders.” (In 2010 the APA definitively disavowed it.) As Risen writes, the 2002 change allowed psychologists to be involved in CIA and military interrogations, and “helped the lawyers in the Justice Department to argue that the enhanced interrogation program was legal because health professionals were monitoring the interrogations to make sure they stayed within the limits established by the Bush administration.”
In 2005, after the revelations of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib, the APA put together a task force on ethics and national security, which, while affirming the organization’s opposition to torture, determined that psychologists could be involved with interrogations “to assist in ensuring that such processes are safe and ethical for all participants.”
Gerwehr was copied on emails discussing a confidential APA lunch meeting in July 2004, attended by psychologists from the CIA, Department of Defense, and other agencies. (The invited CIA psychologist, Kirk Hubbard, wrote that “all the DOD shrinks will be tied up…I will represent both of us.”) The draft proposal creating the task force was circulated to Gerwehr and others invited to the meeting before it was given to APA members. Other members of the task force later complained it was stacked in favor of the government, with six of the panel’s ten members having ties to the military or intelligence.
After the task force recommendation went public in 2005, the APA’s Mumford wrote an email thanking Hubbard for his “personal contribution…in getting this effort off the ground,” and mentioned that Susan Brandon, a Bush White House official, had “helped craft some language related to research” for the report. (Hubbard says that “I was not directly involved in the task force itself, though I know it was reported that I provided some input.” Brandon is now head of the research unit for the FBI’s high value detainee interrogation group, according to her bio for an upcoming conference. The FBI did not respond to a request for comment from Brandon. In a statement responding to Risen’s book, the APA said those contacts were “not in any manner unusual or inappropriate” and allowed “for frank discussion of the ethical and practice challenges facing psychologists working in national security settings.”)
Gerwehr’s emails about the APA also caught the interest of the FBI. In 2010, after learning of Gerwehr’s death and believing that he might have had critical information, Raymond sought out a meeting with John Durham, the assistant U.S. attorney who was leading the criminal probe related to CIA detention and interrogation. Durham had also been specifically tasked with looking into the CIA’s destruction of interrogation videotapes. (Raymond now directs the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative’s Signal Program on Human Security and Technology, which applies satellite imagery analysis and other technical approaches to humanitarian crises. He is mentioned as a researcher for an unnamed human rights group in Risen’s book, but his conversations with Gerwehr and the FBI are being reported for the first time here.)
Raymond and PHR’s then-Washington director, John Bradshaw, met with Durham at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., in September 2010. Raymond and Bradshaw noted that they weren’t in the visitor logs, and Durham took them up a back elevator to a briefing room, Raymond recalls. Besides talking about Gerwehr, Durham’s team said that they had read PHR’s recent report “Experiments in Torture,” which concluded that medical personnel’s involvement in the CIA’s interrogation program constituted illegal medical research and experimentation. Durham’s team seemed “interested in the broader architecture of the legal heat shield” on torture, Raymond said. In Bradshaw’s recollection, “Durham was not particularly forthcoming in saying that he accepted our conclusions. But they were interested and had read our work.” (Durham did not respond to a request for comment.)
Two years later, Durham’s overall probe ended with no charges. At that point, Raymond reached out to Durham’s office again, to ask if anyone had looked into the information about the APA from Gerwehr’s emails, which Raymond by then had access to. Durham directed him to an agent from the FBI’s public corruption unit, who asked for a memo gathering what he had—Gerwehr’s correspondence and additional emails and interview notes from other sources, including former APA and CIA officials—which Raymond believed could amount to evidence of criminal racketeering. In an email, the agent said she had discussed the issue with Durham, and they thought that the alleged criminal activity fell outside a five-year statute of limitation, but would forward information to the FBI’s Washington field office.
Neither Raymond nor anyone at PHR heard anything more of it, until a law enforcement official confirmed to The Intercept that the FBI in Washington received material, and “did review it,” but “did not find any criminal violations, and therefore did not open any investigation.”
Raymond told The Intercept that the FBI’s decision not to investigate was unsurprising, given the overall lack of criminal charges related to CIA torture.
“The response of the U.S. government, given the whole raft of revelations about torture in the post-9/11 world, has been to deny, and then to use the language that we’re going to move forward, we’re going to move on,” said Widney Brown, director of programs for Physicians for Human Rights. “But even setting aside the legal concerns, we feel very strongly as a voice for physicians that there’s no compromise on this issue of medical professionals’ involvement in torture. And it’s very clear in Risen’s book that the APA was very involved in discussions with the government on this issue.”
In the book, Risen suggests that the APA’s close relationship with the government was motivated at least in part by financial concerns, saying the profession was “so eager for CIA and Pentagon contracts that they showed few qualms about getting involved” with interrogation programs.
The APA, in its statement, said that any suggestion that “that APA had a financial motivation” to support U.S. detainee policies “is absurd.” The CIA declined to comment on Gerwehr or the allegations raised from his emails.
“I can’t confirm that he was at Gitmo when he says he was. But I believe that Gerwehr encountered something deeply disturbing,” said Raymond. “I think that there needs to be a serious and robust federal investigation into Gerwehr’s past in terms of whistleblowing.”
Update: Added comment from Hubbard. October 17th, 3:30 pm EST.
BY CORA CURRIER 10/17/2014
Find this story at 17 October 2014
How the CIA tortured its detainees Waterboarding, confinement, sleep deprivation
December 15, 2014
The CIA, and the Senate intelligence committee, would rather avoid the word “torture,” preferring euphemisms like “enhanced interrogation techniques” and “rendition, detention and interrogation program”. Many of the techniques employed by the CIA after capturing high-value targets have been documented in CIA memos released by the Obama administration, and in numerous leaks, including a report written by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Here are some of the techniques known to have been used, and the effects on detainees:
Rectal feeding and rehydration
The torture report contains new information on the CIA’s use of rectal feeding and rehydration. At least five detainees were subjected to the process, the report states. The report details how accused USS Cole bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri was placed “in a forward facing position (Trendelenburg) with head lower than torso”, whilst undergoing rectal feeding.
Another detainee, Majid Khan, a legal resident of the United States and accused confident of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, was also subjected to rectal feeding. According to a CIA cable released in the report, his “‘lunch tray’ consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts and raisins was ‘pureed and rectally infused’”.
Mohammed was also subjected to rectal rehydration “without a determination of medical need”. Mohammed’s chief interrogator described use of the process as emblematic of their “total control over the detainee”.
Confinement in a box
Placing the subject inside a confined box to restrict their movement was approved by the Bush administration in the case of Abu Zubaydah.
Zubaydah says he was placed in a number of different confinement boxes in an intense period of interrogation in Afghanistan in 2002. He told the ICRC that the boxes made it difficult to breathe and reopened wounds in his legs. He could not recall how long he spent in each confinement box, and believes he may have passed out inside.
The use of insects inside the box was also approved, to exploit a phobia Abu Zubaydah had. This element was not ultimately used, according to memos.
The use of cold water
A number of those interviewed by the ICRC said they were often subjected to dousings in cold water during interrogation. Khalid Sheikh Mohammad’s co-defendant Walid bin Attash said that for the first two weeks of his detention in Afghanistan his naked body was wrapped in plastic after being doused, and kept inside the cold envelope of water for several minutes.
In November 2002, a suspected Afghan militant, Gul Rahman, died of hypothermia inside a CIA black site north of Kabul known as the Salt Pit. Rahman had been left in a cold cell, stripped from the waist down and had been doused in water, according to reports from the Associated Press.
The torture report contains more details on Rahman’s death, including details of the CIA’s interrogation methodology used. This included “48 hours of sleep deprivation, auditory overload, total darkness, isolation a cold shower and rough treatment”. The CIA Headquarters did not approve these methods in advance, the report says. But the day before Rahman’s death, one CIA officer ordered that Rahman be shackled to the wall of his cell and sat on the cold floor whilst naked from the waist down. CIA headquarters had approved the use of “enhanced measures” at this point.
The CIA officer who sent these instructions received no reprimand. Instead, four months later, he was given a $2,500 cash reward for his “consistently superior work”.
The process of suffocation by water involves strapping the individual to a tilted board, with legs above their head, placing a cloth over their face, covering their nose and mouth. Water is then poured continuously over the cloth to prevent breathing, simulate drowning and induce panic.
The process is carried out for about 40 seconds and is known to have been repeated a number of times during interrogation.
The process was carried out on three detainees, Bush administration officials have said. But the number could be higher, according to a 2012 report from Human Rights Watch.
One of those, Abu Zubaydah, a suspected senior Bin Laden lieutenant, told the ICRC: “I struggled without success to breathe. I thought I was going to die. I lost control of my urine.” He underwent the process 83 times, while another of the CIA’s highest-value detainees, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, said to be the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks, was subjected to waterboarding 183 times.
Beatings and threats
Many detainees have reported being beaten by interrogators, and the CIA memo mentions a number of approved methods of physical contact, including “facial holds”, “insult slaps” and “attention grasps”.
Most of those interviewed by the ICRC alleged that these beatings often occurred in the immediate aftermath of their capture, often multiple times in the day.
One detainee said: “I was punched and slapped in the face and on the back, to the extent that I was bleeding. While having a rope round my neck and being tied to a pillar, my head was banged against the pillar repeatedly.”
Six of the detainees said they were slammed into walls after having a collar placed around their necks. The CIA called it “walling”: a fake, flexible wall is constructed and a detainee is thrown against it, creating a loud noise. The noise is designed to make the detainee believe they are injured.
Detainees also reported threats of severe violence and sexual assault made against them and their families. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told the ICRC he was threatened with being brought to the “verge of death and back again”.
The torture report notes that at least three detainees were threatened with harm to their families. Interrogators implied to Nashiri that his mother would be brought in front of him and sexually abused. The report also notes one detainee was told his mother’s throat would be cut. It is not clear which detainee this references.
The torture report confirms that Nashiri was threatened with a pistol placed near his head and a cordless drill that was operated near his body. Nashiri was blindfolded at the time.
“Al-Nashiri did not provide any additional threat information during, or after, these interrogations,” the report concludes.
A variety of stress positions were used by the CIA. Ten terror suspects alleged to the ICRC that these included beingtold to stand upright and shackled to the ceiling for up to three days, and in some cases at intervals for over three months. Other stress positions included being shackled to the floor with arms stretched over the head.
Three detainees interviewed by the ICRC said they were forced to urinate and defecate on themselves in these positions, and were left standing in their own excrement.
The use of stress positions was designed to cause muscle fatigue, physical discomfort and exhaustion.
Sleep deprivation was employed routinely and was seen as a key tool in enhanced interrogations. Many of these techniques overlap with other interrogation procedures – the use of stress positions, and in particular shackling a standing detainee with his hands in front of his body.
Among the most infamous was the use of loud music and white noise, sometimes played for 24 hours a day on short loops. Cells were also reportedly kept deliberately cold to prevent detainees falling asleep. The agency was authorized to keep a detainee awake for up to 180 hours – about a week – but told the Justice Department it only kept three detainees awake for 96 hours maximum.
Eleven of the 14 detainees interviewed by the ICRC said they had been subjected to sleep deprivation. One said: “If I started to fall asleep a guard would come and spray water in my face.”
The torture report reveals that four detainees, each with “medical complications in their lower extremities”, including two with broken feet, were placed in shackled standing positions for “extended periods of time” to induce sleep deprivation.
The men with broken feet, Abu Hazim and Abd al-Karim who sustained the injuries whilst trying to escape capture, were also subjected to walling, stress positions and cramped confinement, despite recommendations that their injuries prevented this form of interrogation.
Forced nudity and restricted diets
The CIA viewed certain techniques as “conditioning” measures, designed to get detainees used to their helplessness rather than yielding any intelligence value on their own. Sleep deprivation was in this category. So was stripping a detainee naked, which a 2005 memo from the Justice Department to the CIA said carried the benefit of “reward[ing] detainees instantly with clothing for cooperation.” (While keeping a detainee naked “might cause embarrassment,” a Justice Department lawyer wrote, it did not itself constitute “sexual abuse” or the threat of sexual abuse.)
Another “conditioning” technique involved feeding a detainee “a bland, commercial liquid meal” instead of normal food. The CIA set caloric intake guidelines – a recommended minimum was 1,500 calories daily – and relied on medical personnel, who are sworn to do no harm to their patients, to ensure detainees did not lose more than 10% of their body weight. A Justice Department memo understood the dietary manipulation could “increase the effectiveness of other techniques, such as sleep deprivation.”
• This article was amended on 9 December 2014 to correct a sentence that stated the CIA authorized a detainee to be kept awake for up to 180 hours – “about a week and a half.” It should have said “about a week.”
Tuesday 9 December 2014 23.35 GMT
Find this story at 9 December 2014
© 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.
Rectal rehydration and waterboarding: the CIA torture report’s grisliest findings
December 15, 2014
Parts of the CIA interrogation programme were known, but the catalogue of abuse is nightmarish, especially knowing much more will never be revealed
CIA’s brutal and ineffective use of torture revealed in landmark report
Trevor Timm: America tortured more than ‘some folks’ – and covered it up
Detainees were forced to stand on broken limbs for hours, kept in complete darkness, deprived of sleep for up to 180 hours, sometimes standing. Photograph: Bob Strong/Reuters
The full horror of the CIA interrogation and detention programmes launched in the wake of the September 11 terror attack was laid bare in the long-awaited Senate report released on Tuesday.
While parts of the programme had been known – and much more will never be revealed – the catalogue of abuse is nightmarish and reads like something invented by the Marquis de Sade or Hieronymous Bosch.
Detainees were forced to stand on broken limbs for hours, kept in complete darkness, deprived of sleep for up to 180 hours, sometimes standing, sometimes with their arms shackled above their heads.
Prisoners were subjected to “rectal feeding” without medical necessity. Rectal exams were conducted with “excessive force”. The report highlights one prisoner later diagnosed with anal fissures, chronic hemorrhoids and “symptomatic rectal prolapse”.
The report mentions mock executions, Russian roulette. US agents threatened to slit the throat of a detainee’s mother, sexually abuse another and threatened prisoners’ children. One prisoner died of hypothermia brought on in part by being forced to sit on a bare concrete floor without pants.
The CIA began the establishment of a specialised detention centre, codenamed DETENTION SITE COBALT, in April 2002. Although its location is not identified in the report it has been widely identified as being in Afghanistan. Conditions at the site were described in the report as poor “and were especially bleak early in the program”.
The CIA chief of interrogations described COBALT as “a dungeon”. There were 20 cells, with blacked-out windows. Detainees were “kept in complete darkness and constantly shackled in isolated cells with loud music and only a bucket to use for human waste”. It was cold, something the report says likely contributed to the death of a detainee.
Prisoners were walked around naked or were shackled with their hands above their heads for extended periods of time. About five CIA officers would engage in what is described as a “rough takedown”. A detainee would be shouted at, have his clothes cut off, be secured with tape, hooded and dragged up and down a long corridor while being slapped and punched.
A CIA photograph shows a waterboard at the site, surrounded by buckets and a bottle of an unknown pink solution and a watering can resting on the beams of the waterboard. The CIA failed to provide a detailed explanation of the items in the photograph.
Frozen to death
Gul Rahman died in the early hours of 20 November 2002, after being shackled to a cold concrete wall in a secret CIA prison. Photograph: AP
At COBALT, the CIA interrogated in 2002 Gul Rahman, described as a suspected Islamic extremist. He was subjected to “48 hours of sleep deprivation, auditory overload, total darkness, isolation, a cold shower and rough treatment”.
CIA headquarters suggested “enhanced measures” might be needed to get him to comply. A CIA officer at COBALT ordered Rahman be “shackled to the wall of his cell in a position that required the detainee to rest on the bare concrete floor”.
He was only wearing a sweatshirt as a CIA officer has ordered his clothes to be removed earlier after judging him to be uncooperative during an interrogation.
The next day, guards found Rahman dead. An internal CIA review and autopsy assessed he likely died from hypothermia – “in part from having been forced to sit on the bare concrete floor without pants”. An initial CIA review and cable sent to CIA headquarters after his death included a number of misstatements and omissions.
Shackled to the wall
The CIA in the first half of 2003 interrogated four detainees described as having “medical complications in their lower extremities”: two had a broken foot, one had a sprained ankle and one a prosthetic leg.
CIA officers shackled each of them in a standing position for sleep deprivation for extended periods until medical staff assessed they could no longer maintain that position.
“The two detainees that each had a broken foot were also subjected to walling, stress positions and cramped confinement, despite the note in their interrogation plans that these specific enhanced interrogation techniques were not requested because of the medical condition of the detainees,” the report says.
CIA operatives subjected at least five detainees to what they called “rectal rehydration and feeding”.
One CIA cable released in the report reveals that detainee Majid Khan was administered by enema his “‘lunch tray’ consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts and raisins was ‘pureed and rectally infused’”. One CIA officer’s email was in the report quoted as saying “we used the largest Ewal [sic] tube we had”.
Rectal feeding is of limited application in actually keeping a person alive or administering nutrients, since the colon and rectum cannot absorb much besides salt, glucose and a few minerals and vitamins. The CIA administered rectal rehydration to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed “without a determination of medical need” and justified “rectal fluid resuscitation” of Abu Zubaydah because he “partially refus[ed] liquids”. Al-Nashiri was given an enema after a brief hunger strike.
Risks of rectal feeding and rehydration include damage to the rectum and colon, triggering bowels to empty, food rotting inside the recipient’s digestive tract, and an inflamed or prolapsed rectum from carless insertion of the feeding tube. The report found that CIA leadership was notified that rectal exams may have been conducted with “Excessive force”, and that one of the detainees, Mustafa al-Hawsawi, suffered from an anal fissure, chronic hemorrhoids and symptomatic rectal prolapse.
The CIA’s chief of interrogations characterized rectal rehydration as a method of “total control” over detainees, and an unnamed person said the procedure helped to “clear a person’s head”.
Waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah and KSM
The report suggests Abu Zubaydah was a broken man after his extensive interrogations. In CIA documents he is described as having become so compliant that “when the interrogator raised his eyebrows” he would walk to the “water table” and sit down. The interrogator only had to snap his fingers twice for Abu Zabaydah to lie down, ready for water-boarding, the report says.
“At times Abu Zubaydah was described as ‘hysterical’ and ‘distressed to the level that he was unable effectively to communicate’. Waterboarding sessions ‘resulted in immediate fluid intake and involuntary leg, chest and arm spasms’ and ‘hysterical pleas’. In at least one waterboarding session, Abu Zubaydah ‘became completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth’ … Abu Zubaydah remained unresponsive until medical intervention, when he regained consciousness and ‘expelled copious amounts of liquid’.”
The CIA doctor overseeing the waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said that the prisoner was ingesting so much water that he or she was no longer concerned that regurgitated gastric acid was likely to damage his oesophagus. But, the doctor warned, the CIA should start using saline, because his electrolytes were becoming too diluted.
The forgotten man chained to a wall
One CIA interrogator at COBALT reported that “‘literally, a detainee could go for days or weeks without anyone looking at him’, and that his team found one detainee who ‘as far as we could determine’, had been chained to a wall in a standing position for 17 days’.’ Some prisoners were said to be like dogs in kennels: “When the doors to their cells were pened, ‘they cowered.’”
In April 2006, during a CIA briefing, President George W Bush, expressed discomfort at the “image of a detainee, chained to the ceiling, clothed in a diaper, and forced to go to the bathroom on himself”. This man is thought to be Ridha al-Najjar, who was forced to spend 22 hours each day with one or both wrists chained to an overhead bar, for two consecutive days, while wearing a diaper. His incarceration was concealed from the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Sleep deprivation involved keeping detainees awake for up to 180 hours, usually standing or in stress positions, at times with their hands shackled above their heads. At least five detainees experienced disturbing hallucinations during prolonged sleep deprivation and, in at least two of those cases, the CIA nonetheless continued the sleep deprivation.” One of the prisoners forced to say awake for seven-and-a-half days was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Most of this time he was forced to stand. The report says that former CIS director Michael Hayden was aware that Mohammed had been deprived of sleep for this period.
At the direction of the White House, the secretaries of state and defence – both principals on the National Security Council – were not briefed on the programme’s specifics until September 2003 Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
CIA lied to officials
The White House, National Security Council (NSC) and others were given “extensive amounts of inaccurate and incomplete information” related to the operation and effectiveness of the CIA’s detention and interrogation programme. No CIA officer briefed the president on the specific CIA enhanced interrogation techniques before April 2006. The CIA did not inform two secretaries of state of the locations of CIA detention facilities, despite the foreign policy implications and the fact that the political leaders of host countries were generally informed of their existence. FBI director Robert Mueller was denied access to CIA detainees that the FBI believed was necessary to understand domestic threats.
The White House kept key members of its team in the dark
At the direction of the White House, the secretaries of state and defence – both principals on the National Security Council – were not briefed on the programme’s specifics until September 2003. An internal CIA email from July 2003 noted that the White House was “extremely concerned” that secretary of state Colin Powell “would blow his stack if he were to be briefed on what’s been going on.”
Among its findings, the report says that: “The CIA did not conduct a comprehensive or accurate accounting of the number of individuals it detained, and held individuals who did not meet its own legal standard for detention.”
The CIA acknowledged to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) in February 2006 that it had wrongly detained five individuals throughout the course of its detention programme. The report’s review of CIA records indicates that at least 21 additional individuals, or a total of 26 of the 119 (22%), of detainees identified did not meet the CIA’s standard for detention.
The report calls the number “a conservative calculation” and notes it does not include “individuals about whom there was internal disagreement within the CIA over whether the detainee met the standard or not, or the numerous detainees who, following their detention and interrogation, were found not to ‘pose a continuing threat of violence or death to US persons and interests’ or to be ‘planning terrorist activities’.
With one exception, the reports says there are no CIA records that indicate that anyone was held accountable for “the detention of individuals the CIA itself determined were wrongfully detained.”
CIA misled the press
The CIA gave inaccurate information to journalists in background briefings to mislead the public about the efficacy of its interrogation programme, the report reveals.
“In seeking to shape press reporting … CIA officers and the CIA’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA) provided unattributed background information on the program to journalists for books, articles and broadcasts, including when the existence of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program was still classified,” the report said.
It also added that when this still-classified information was published, the CIA did not, as a matter of policy, submit crime reports – highlighting a gulf between officially sanctioned leaks and non-sanctioned whistleblowing, the latter of which is often heavily prosecuted.
The report refers to Ronald Kessler’s book The CIA At War. An unidentified party at the CIA – the name and office is redacted – decided not to open an investigation into the publication of classified information by Kiessler “because ‘OPA provided assistance with the book.’”
An article by Douglas Jehl in the New York Times also contained “significant classified information,” which was also not investigated because it was based on information provided by the CIA.
Both the book and the article, the report continues, contained inaccurate information about the effectiveness of CIA interrogation programs, and untrue accounts of interrogations.
Many of the inaccuracies the CIA fed to journalists, the report says, were consistent with inaccurate information being provided by the agency to policymakers at the time.
• This article was amended on 10 December 2014. Colin Powell was secretary of state in the Bush administration, not defence secretary as an earlier version said.
Dominic Rushe, Ewen MacAskill, Ian Cobain , Alan Yuhas and Oliver Laughland
The Guardian, Wednesday 10 December 2014
Find this story at 10 December 2014
© 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.
Senate report on CIA program details brutality, dishonesty
December 15, 2014
The Washington Post’s Greg Miller lists the important takeaways from the CIA interrogation report and explains why it is being released now. (The Washington Post)
By Greg Miller, Adam Goldman and Julie Tate December 9
An exhaustive five-year Senate investigation of the CIA’s secret interrogations of terrorism suspects renders a strikingly bleak verdict on a program launched in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, describing levels of brutality, dishonesty and seemingly arbitrary violence that at times brought even agency employees to moments of anguish.
The report by the Senate Intelligence Committee delivers new allegations of cruelty in a program whose severe tactics have been abundantly documented, revealing that agency medical personnel voiced alarm that waterboarding methods had deteriorated to “a series of near drownings” and that agency employees subjected detainees to “rectal rehydration” and other painful procedures that were never approved.
The 528-page document catalogues dozens of cases in which CIA officials allegedly deceived their superiors at the White House, members of Congress and even sometimes their peers about how the interrogation program was being run and what it had achieved. In one case, an internal CIA memo relays instructions from the White House to keep the program secret from then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell out of concern that he would “blow his stack if he were to be briefed on what’s been going on.”
A declassified summary of the committee’s work discloses for the first time a complete roster of the 119 prisoners held in CIA custody and indicates that at least 26 were held because of mistaken identities or bad intelligence. The publicly released summary is drawn from a longer, classified study that exceeds 6,000 pages.
The Senate Intelligence Committees report on the CIAs interrogation program listed, for the first time, the names of the 119 detainees who went through the agencys secret prison system. VIEW GRAPHIC
[View timeline: The CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation]
The report’s central conclusion is that harsh interrogation measures, deemed torture by program critics including President Obama, did not work. The panel deconstructs prominent claims about the value of the “enhanced” measures, including that they produced breakthrough intelligence in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, and dismisses them all as exaggerated if not utterly false — assertions that the CIA and former officers involved in the program vehemently dispute.
In a statement from the White House, Obama said the Senate report “documents a troubling program” and “reinforces my long-held view that these harsh methods were not only inconsistent with our values as [a] nation, they did not serve our broader counterterrorism efforts or our national security interests.” Obama praised the CIA’s work to degrade al-Qaeda over the past 13 years but said the agency’s interrogation program “did significant damage to America’s standing in the world and made it harder to pursue our interests with allies and partners.”
The CIA issued a 112-page response to the Senate report, acknowledging failings in the interrogation program but denying that it intentionally misled the public or policymakers about an effort that it maintains delivered critical intelligence.
“The intelligence gained from the program was critical to our understanding of al-Qa’ida and continues to inform our counterterrorism efforts to this day,” CIA Director John Brennan, who was a senior officer at the agency when it set up secret prisons for al-Qaeda suspects, said in a written statement. The program “did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives,” he said.
The release of the report comes at an unnerving time in the country’s conflict with al-Qaeda and its offshoots. The Islamic State has beheaded three Americans in recent months and seized control of territory across Iraq and Syria. Fears that the report could ignite new overseas violence against American interests prompted Secretary of State John F. Kerry to appeal to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the chairman of the Senate committee, to consider a delay. The report has also been at the center of intense bureaucratic and political fights that erupted this year in accusations that the CIA surreptitiously monitored the computers used by committee aides involved in the investigation.
Many of the most haunting sections of the Senate document are passages taken from internal CIA memos and e-mails as agency employees described their visceral reactions to searing interrogation scenes. At one point in 2002, CIA employees at a secret site in Thailand broke down emotionally after witnessing the harrowing treatment of Abu Zubaida, a high-profile facilitator for al-Qaeda.
Almost 13 years after the CIA established secret prisons to hold and interrogate detainees, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the CIA’s programs. The report lists 20 key findings. VIEW GRAPHIC
“Several on the team profoundly affected,” one agency employee wrote at the time, “. . . some to the point of tears and choking up.” The passage is contrasted with closed-door testimony from high-ranking CIA officials, including then-CIA Director Michael V. Hayden, who when asked by a senator in 2007 whether agency personnel had expressed reservations replied: “I’m not aware of any. These guys are more experienced. No.”
The investigation was conducted exclusively by the Senate committee’s Democratic staff. Its release Tuesday is certain to stir new debate over a program that has been a source of contention since the first details about the CIA’s secret prison network began to surface publicly a decade ago. Even so, the report is unlikely to lead to new sanctions or structural change.
The document names only a handful of high-ranking CIA employees and does not call for any further investigation of those involved or even offer any formal recommendations. It steers clear of scrutinizing the involvement of the White House and Justice Department, which two years ago ruled out the possibility that CIA employees would face prosecution.
Instead, the Senate text is largely aimed at shaping how the interrogation program will be regarded by history. The inquiry was driven by Feinstein and her frequently stated determination to foreclose any prospect that the United States might contemplate such tactics again. Rather than argue their morality, Feinstein set out to prove that they did not work.
In her foreword to the report, Feinstein does not characterize the CIA’s actions as torture but says the trauma of 9/11 led the agency to employ “brutal interrogation techniques in violation of U.S. law, treaty obligations, and our values.” The report should serve as “a warning for the future,” she says.
“We cannot again allow history to be forgotten and grievous past mistakes to be repeated,” Feinstein says.
The reaction to the report, however, only reinforced how polarizing the CIA program remains more than five years after it was ordered dismantled by Obama.
Over the past year, the CIA assembled a lengthy and detailed rebuttal to the committee’s findings that argues that all but a few of the panel’s conclusions are unfounded. Hayden and other agency veterans have for months been planning a similarly aggressive response.
The report also faced criticism from Republicans on the Intelligence Committee who submitted a response to the report that cited alleged inaccuracies and faulted the committee’s decision to base its findings exclusively on CIA documents without interviewing any of the operatives involved. Democrats have said they did so to avoid interfering with a separate Justice Department inquiry.
The program’s start
At its height, the CIA program included secret prisons in countries including Afghanistan, Thailand, Romania, Lithuania and Poland — locations that are referred to only by color-themed codes in the report, such as “COBALT,” to preserve a veneer of secrecy.
The establishment of the “black sites” was part of a broader transformation of the CIA in which it rapidly morphed from an agency focused on intelligence-gathering into a paramilitary force with new powers to capture prisoners, disrupt plots, and assemble a fleet of armed drones to carry out targeted killings of al-Qaeda militants.
The report reveals the often haphazard ways in which the agency assumed these new roles. Within days of the 9/11 attacks, for example, President George W. Bush had signed a secret memorandum giving the CIA new authority to “undertake operations designed to capture and detain persons who pose a continuing, serious threat of violence or death to U.S. persons and interests.”
But the memo made no reference to interrogations, providing no explicit authority for what would become an elaborately drawn list of measures — including sleep deprivation, slams against cell walls and simulated drowning — to get detainees to talk. The Bush memo was a murky point of origin for a program that is portrayed throughout the Senate report as chaotically mismanaged.
One of the most lengthy sections describes the interrogation of the CIA’s first prisoner, Abu Zubaida, who was detained in Pakistan in March 2002. Abu Zubaida, badly injured when he was captured, was largely cooperative when jointly questioned by the CIA and FBI but was then subjected to confusing and increasingly violent interrogation as the agency assumed control.
After being transferred to a site in Thailand, Abu Zubaida was placed in isolation for 47 days, a period during which the presumably important source on al-Qaeda faced no questions. Then, at 11:50 a.m. on Aug. 4, 2002, the CIA launched a round-the-clock interrogation assault — slamming him against walls, stuffing him into a coffin-size box and waterboarding him until he coughed, vomited, and had “involuntary spasms of the torso and extremities.”
The treatment continued for 17 days. At one point, the waterboarding left Abu Zubaida “completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth.” CIA memos described employees who were distraught and concerned about the legality of what they had witnessed. One said that “two, perhaps three” were “likely to elect transfer.”
The Senate report suggests top CIA officials at headquarters had little sympathy. When a cable from Thailand warned that the Abu Zubaida interrogation was “approach[ing] the legal limit,” Jose Rodriguez, then chief of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, cautioned subordinates to refrain from such “speculative language as to the legality” of the interrogation. “Such language is not helpful.”
Through a spokesman, Rodriguez told The Washington Post that he never instructed employees not to send cables about the legality of interrogations.
Abu Zubaida, also known as Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein, was waterboarded 83 times and kept in cramped boxes for nearly 300 hours. In October 2002, Bush was informed in his daily intelligence briefing that Abu Zubaida was still withholding “significant threat information,” despite views from the black site that he had been truthful from the outset and was “compliant and cooperative,” the report said.
The document provides a similarly detailed account of the interrogation of the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who fed his interrogators a stream of falsehoods and intelligence fragments. Waterboarding was supposed to simulate suffocation with a damp cloth and a trickle of liquid. But with Mohammed, CIA operatives used their hands to form a standing pool of water over his mouth. KSM, as he is known in agency documents, was ingesting “a LOT of water,” a CIA medical officer wrote, saying that the application had been so altered that “we are basically doing a series of near drownings.”
The CIA has maintained that only three prisoners were subjected to waterboarding, but the report alludes to evidence that it may have been used on others, including photographs of a well-worn waterboard at a black site where its use was never officially recorded. The committee said the agency could not explain the presence of the board and water-dousing equipment at the site, which is not named in the report but is believed to be the “Salt Pit” in Afghanistan.
There are also references to other procedures, including the use of tubes to administer “rectal rehydration” and feeding. CIA documents describe a case in which a prisoner’s lunch tray “consisting of hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts, and raisins was ‘pureed’ and rectally infused.” At least five CIA detainees were subjected to “rectal rehydration” or rectal feeding without documented medical necessity.
At times, senior CIA operatives voiced deep misgivings. In early 2003, a CIA officer in the interrogation program described it as a “train [wreck] waiting to happen” and that “I intend to get the hell off the train before it happens.” The officer, identified by former colleagues as Charlie Wise, subsequently retired and died in 2003. He had been picked for the job despite being reprimanded for his role in other troubled interrogation efforts in the 1980s in Beirut, former officials said.
The agency’s records of the program were so riddled with errors, according to the report, that the CIA often offered conflicting counts of how many prisoners it had.
In 2007, then-CIA Director Hayden testified in a closed-door session with the Senate panel that “in the history of the program, we’ve had 97 detainees.” In reality, the number was 119, according to the report, including 39 who had been subjected to harsh interrogation methods.
Two years later, when Hayden was preparing to deliver an early intelligence briefing for senior aides to newly elected President Obama, a subordinate noted that the actual count was significantly higher. Hayden “instructed me to keep the detainee number at 98,” the employee wrote to himself in an e-mail, “pick whatever date i needed to make that happen but the number is 98.”
Hayden comes under particularly pointed scrutiny in the report, which includes a 38-page table comparing his statements to often conflicting agency documents. The section is listed as an “example of inaccurate CIA testimony.”
In an e-mail to The Post, Hayden said the discrepancy in the prisoner numbers reflected the fact that detainees captured before the start of the interrogation program were counted separately from those held at the black sites. “This is a question of booking, not a question of deception,” Hayden said. He also said he directed the analyst who had called the discrepancy to his attention to confirm the revised accounting and then inform the incoming CIA director, Leon E. Panetta, that there was a new number and that the figure should be corrected with Congress.
Hayden said he would have explained this to the committee if given the chance. “Maybe if the committee had talked to real people and accessed their notes we wouldn’t have to have this conversation,” he said, describing the matter as an “example of [committee] methodology. Take a stray ‘fact’ and claim its meaning to fit the desired narrative (mass deception).”
The report cites other cases in which CIA officials are alleged to have obscured facts about the program. In 2003, when David Addington, a lawyer who worked for Vice President Richard B. Cheney, asked whether the CIA had videotaped interrogations of Abu Zubaida, CIA General Counsel Scott Muller informed agency colleagues that he had “told him that tapes were not being made.” Muller apparently did not mention that the CIA had recorded dozens of interrogation sessions or that some in the agency were eager to have them destroyed.
The tapes were destroyed in 2005 at the behest of Rodriguez, a move that triggered a Justice Department investigation. The committee also revealed that a 21-hour section of recordings — which depicted the waterboarding of Abu Zubaida — had gone missing years earlier when then-CIA Inspector General John Helgerson’s office sought to review them as part of an inquiry into the interrogation program.
Helgerson would go on to find substantial problems with the program. But, in contrast to the Senate panel’s findings, his report concluded that the agency’s “interrogation of terrorists has provided intelligence that has enabled the identification and apprehension of other terrorists and warned of terrorist plots planned for the United States and around the world.”
A prominent section of the Senate report is devoted to high-profile claims that the interrogation program produced “unique” and otherwise unobtainable intelligence that helped thwart plots or led to the capture of senior al-Qaeda operatives.
Senate investigators said none of the claims held up under scrutiny, with some unraveling because information was erroneously attributed to detainees subjected to harsh interrogations, others because the CIA already had information from other sources. In some cases, according to the panel, there was no viable terrorist plot to disrupt.
A document prepared for Cheney before a March 8, 2005, National Security Council meeting noted in a section titled “Interrogation Results” that “operatives Jose Padilla and Binyam Mohammed planned to build and detonate a ‘dirty bomb’ in the Washington DC area.”
But according to an April 2003 CIA e-mail, Padilla and Mohammed had apparently taken seriously a “ludicrous and humorous” article about building a dirty bomb in a kitchen by swinging buckets of uranium to enrich it.
KSM dismissed the idea, as did a government assessment of the proposed plot: “CIA and Lawrence Livermore National Lab have assessed that the article is filled with countless technical inaccuracies which would likely result in the death of anyone attempting to follow the instructions, and definitely would not result in a nuclear explosion,” noted another CIA e-mail in April 2003. The agency nonetheless continued to directly cite the “dirty bomb” plot while defending the interrogation program until at least 2007, the report notes.
The report also deconstructs the timeline leading to the identification of Padilla and his alleged accomplice. It notes that in April 2002, Pakistani authorities who detained Padilla suspected he was an al-Qaeda member. A few days later, Abu Zubaida described two individuals who were pursuing what was described as a “cockamamie” dirty-bomb plot. The connection was made by the CIA immediately, months before the use of harsh interrogation on Abu Zubaida.
Some within the CIA were derisive of the continuing exploitation of the dirty-bomb plot by the agency. “We’ll never be able to successfully expunge Padilla and the ‘dirty bomb’ plot from the lore of disruption, but once again I’d like to go on the record that Padilla admitted that the only reason he came up with so-called ‘dirty bomb’ was that he wanted to get out of Afghanistan and figured that if he came up with something spectacular, they’d finance him,” wrote the head of the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear group at the CIA Counterterrorism Center. “Even KSM says Padilla had a screw loose.”
In the CIA’s rebuttal, which was delivered in 2013 to the Senate but released publicly on Tuesday for the first time, the agency acknowledged that it took “too long to stop making references to his infeasible ‘Dirty Bomb’ plot” but said Padilla was a legitimate threat and “a good example of the importance of intelligence derived from the detainee program.”
In another high-profile case, the CIA credited the interrogation program with the capture of Hambali, a senior member of the Southeast Asian militant group Jemaah Islamiah and the suspected mastermind of the 2002 Bali bombing, which killed more than 200 people. In a briefing for the president’s chief of staff, for instance, the CIA wrote, “During [KSM’s] interrogation we acquired information that led to the capture of Hambali.” But the Senate found that information from KSM played no role in Hambali’s capture and that, in fact, information leading to his detention came from signals intelligence, a CIA source, and investigations by the Thai authorities.
Similarly, the CIA said the interrogation program led to the discovery of the “Second Wave” attacks, a plan by KSM to employ non-Arabs to use airplanes to hit targets on the West Coast. Associated with this in CIA reporting was the identification of al-Ghuraba, a cell of Jemaah Islamiah.
In a November 2007 briefing for Bush on “Plots Discovered as a Result of EITs,” or “enhanced interrogation techniques,” the CIA said it “learned” about the Second Wave and al-Ghuraba “after applying the waterboard along with interrogation techniques.” But the Senate report says the plot was disrupted by a series of arrests and interrogations that had nothing to do with the CIA program.
Even the hunt for bin Laden was accompanied by exaggerations of the role of brutal interrogation techniques, according to the report. In particular, the committee found that the interrogations played no meaningful role in the identification of a courier, Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti, who would lead the agency to bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
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The CIA’s document reiterates its claim that coercive measures helped, saying the tactics led two detainees in agency custody, Ammar al-Baluchi and Hassan Ghul, to provide important clues to the courier. Baluchi was the first to identify Kuwaiti as bin Laden’s messenger, and did so only “after undergoing enhanced interrogation techniques.”
Ghul, who was captured in Iraq, went even further, confirming under coercive pressure that Kuwaiti had delivered a letter from bin Laden to another al-Qaeda operative and had vanished along with the al-Qaeda chief in 2002.
But the committee cited CIA records showing that Ghul’s revelations came before he was subjected to harsh measures. In an interview with the CIA inspector general’s office, a CIA officer familiar with Ghul’s case said that he “sang like a tweetie bird. He opened up right away and was cooperative from the outset.”
Steven Rich and Swati Sharma contributed to this report.
By Greg Miller, Adam Goldman and Julie Tate December 9 2014
Find this story at 9 December 2014
CIA not in contempt over interrogation tapes, judge says (2011)<< oudere artikelen nieuwere artikelen >>
December 15, 2014
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A judge on Monday refused to find the CIA acted in contempt when it destroyed videotapes that showed harsh interrogations of two suspects.
U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein told a Manhattan federal court hearing that efforts by the CIA to improve how it preserves documents was enough restitution, and that it should pay legal fees to the plaintiffs, the American Civil Liberties Union.
“I don’t think a citation of contempt will add to anything,” Hellerstein said.
In December 2007, the CIA acknowledged destroying dozens of videotapes made under a detention program begun after the September 11 attacks. The interrogations, in 2002, were of alleged al Qaeda members Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.
Until 2007, the CIA had publicly denied the tapes ever existed. They were destroyed in 2005.
A probe by a special federal prosecutor last year found that no CIA personnel should face criminal charges for destroying the videotapes.
Monday’s decision came after years of legal battles between the CIA and the ACLU, which first sued the agency in 2004 to obtain documents on its treatment of prisoners.
When news of the tapes surfaced, the ACLU said the CIA and its chief spy at the time had acted in contempt of court by trashing tapes that should have been preserved under a court order following the ACLU’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
By destroying the tapes, the CIA showed disrespect for the court, said Lawrence Lustberg, an attorney for the ACLU.
Although the CIA failed in not disclosing and preserving the tapes, Judge Hellerstein said: “The bottom line is we are in a dangerous world. We need our spies, we need surveillance, but we also need accountability.”
As part of that accountability, the judge on Monday asked the CIA to detail the new policies it says it has implemented since the tapes were destroyed.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara La Morte, arguing for the CIA, said the CIA’s new policies were “above and beyond” what the court required and that the ACLU was “out to exact retribution on the CIA.”
“I don’t think that’s correct,” the judge interrupted.
(Editing by Greg McCune)
Mon, Aug 1 2011
By Basil Katz
Find this story at 1 August 2011
© Thomson Reuters 2011.