Oct 15, 2008
The Bush Administration explicitly endorsed torture techniques used by the CIA on al-Qaeda suspects, according to secret memos obtained by The Washington Post.
The Post has identified two documents sent by the White House to then CIA Director George Tenet in 2003 and 2004, endorsing controversial interrogation techniques such as ‘waterboarding’.
The newspaper suggests the CIA had been worried it would be blamed solely in any public backlash over the use of the techniques, and sought explicit consent from the Bush Administration to continue with the practices.
CIA Tactics Endorsed In Secret Memos
Waterboarding Got White House Nod
By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 15, 2008; Page A01
The Bush administration issued a pair of secret memos to the CIA in 2003 and 2004 that explicitly endorsed the agency’s use of interrogation techniques such as waterboarding against al-Qaeda suspects — documents prompted by worries among intelligence officials about a possible backlash if details of the program became public.
The classified memos, which have not been previously disclosed, were requested by then-CIA Director George J. Tenet more than a year after the start of the secret interrogations, according to four administration and intelligence officials familiar with the documents. Although Justice Department lawyers, beginning in 2002, had signed off on the agency’s interrogation methods, senior CIA officials were troubled that White House policymakers had never endorsed the program in writing.
Public at Last: Guantanamo SERE Standard Operating Procedures
by Stephen Soldz
October 14th, 2008
One of the most important documents of the US torture program has just become publicly available for the first time. This is the JTF GTMO “SERE” Interrogation Standard Operating Procedure, now posted on the website of the new documentary, Torturing Democracy. This document clearly specifies that the abusive interrogation techniques to be used at Guantamo [JTF GTMO] are based upon the military’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape [SERE] program. The document is notable for its documentation of the extent to which abuse was bureaucratically standardized for routine use.
Both Katherine Eban and Jane Mayer referred to and described the SERE SOP back in the summer of 2007. A bit of it was included in documents released by the Senate Armed Services Committee June 17, 2008. But the bulk of the text remained classified and unavailable until today. An FBI commentary on the SERE SOP has been available since February 2006 at least, in heavily redacted form which obscured the content, but not the existence of the SOP.