CIA memo details procedures for breaking detainees

Published on Reuters, by Nick Macfie, Aug. 26, 2009.

WASHINGTON, Aug 26 (Reuters) – Sleep deprivation, “insult slaps”, water dousing and “walling”, or slamming a detainee’s head against a wall, were techniques used by CIA interrogators to break high-value detainees, according to an agency memo.

The memo, sent to the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel on Dec. 30, 2004, was released on Monday under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Amnesty International USA and the American Civil Liberties Union …

… Interrogations at CIA prisons occurred in special cells outfitted on one side with a plywood wall to prevent severe head injuries, The Washington Post reported. 

The paper said agency spokesman George Little noted that the interrogation programme operated under guidelines approved by top legal officials of the Bush administration.

“This programme, which always constituted a fraction of the CIA’s counterterrorism efforts, is over,” Little was quoted as saying.

CIA officials have also noted that harsh techniques were reserved for a small group of top-level terrorism suspects believed to be knowledgeable about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Post said.

Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney criticised Obama’s ability to handle national security after the special prosecutor was appointed. [ID:nN25208112]

Cheney, who has emerged as a vocal defender of Bush administration policies since leaving the White House, said the intelligence obtained from harsh interrogation techniques had saved lives.

“The people involved deserve our gratitude. They do not deserve to be the targets of political investigations or prosecutions,” he said in a statement. (full text).

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