Reposted: The CIA IG Report’s “Other” Contents

(Today is CIA IG Report day. While we wait, I’m re-posting two posts I did in June describing what we already know is in the report.)

In this post, I reviewed the known contents of the CIA IG Report’s 6-page section on torture for those who seem to forget we’ve seen substantive bits from that in the Bradbury memos. In this post, I’ll look at what else shows up in the Bradbury memos. In a follow-up post, I’ll look at what IG Report contents we haven’t seen (and therefore are all but guaranteed not to see).

From what we can reconstruct, the report appears to include the following:

  • Intro and summary
  • A history of CIA’s involvement in torture
  • A description of the development of the torture techniques as if they were developed for use for Abu Zubaydah
  • A review of the legal authorization for the program, with the critique that doctors were not involved in the pre-authorization review and, probably, a description of the ways that torture as practiced exceeded the guidelines included in Bybee Two 
  • An erroneous claim that everyone who should have been briefed was briefed
  • Apparently a general review of how the program was implemented, including a description of the close involvement of medical personnel, and a description of what was done to which High Value Detainees
  • A description of the decision to videotape and apparent reviews of what a review of the videotapes and cables revealed about whether the torture was what it was claimed to be
  • Forty pages of completely redacted material
  • The Effectiveness section
  • A policy section that notes that the program includes many of the same techniques as the State Department qualifies as abusive
  • Three pages of recommendations
  • A number of Appendices–the CIA appears to be hiding the very existence of about five of these and most of the contents of the rest of them

While I couldn’t begin to guess what that 40 page completely redacted section includes, the stuff that has been made available show the IG was concerned about waterboarding (for a variety of reasons), believed the program to constitute the same kind of abuses the State Department condemned, and believed the approval process for the torture techniques (the Bybee Two memo) was inadequate.

Read the rest of the entry to see the more specific details of the program.

This post takes the Table of Contents of the IG Report and inserts known details into the section they appear (bold titles are first level headings, italics are second level headings, and underline are third level headings). It puts the references to the IG Report from the May 10, 2005 Techniques memo and May 30, 2005 CAT memo into the proper section; to see where these references occur in the Bradbury memos, see this post. As noted below, I have not replicated my discussion of what appears in the Effectiveness section from this post. The quotes below are, with one exception from the report itself as noted, Bradbury’s (with his direct citations of the report in quotation marks).

Introduction (1)

Summary (2)

The IG Report noted that in some cases the waterboard was used with far greater frequency than initially indicated. (5)

Background (9)

CIA interrogation practice appears to have varied over time. The IG Report explains that the CIA "has had intermittent involvement in the interrogation of individuals whose interests are opposed to the United States." IG Report at 9. In the early 1980s, for example, the CIA initiated the Human Resource Exploitation ("HRE") training program, "designed to train foreign liaison services on interrogation techniques." Id. The CIA terminated the HRE program in 1986 because of allegations of human rights abuses in Latin America. See id at 10. [The passage on CIA’s past use of torture goes on at some length, but is redacted.] 

Discussion (11)

Genesis of post-9/11 Agency Detention and Interrogation Activities (11)

The Capture of Abu Zubaydah and Development of EITs (12)

 Upon his capture on March 27, 2002, Zubaydah became the most senior member of al-Qaeda in United States custody.(12)

These techniques have all been imported from military Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape ("SERE" training, where they have been used for years on U.S. miliary personnel, although with some significant differences described below. (13-14)

As noted in the IG Report, "[a]ccording to individuals with authoritative knowledge of the SERE program, … [e]xcept for Navy SERE training, use of the waterboard was discontinued because of its dramatic effect on the students who were subjects." IG Report at 14 n14.

The IG Report noted that in some cases the waterboard … was used in a different manner [than originally indicated]. (14 n14; brackets mine)

In most applications of [the waterboard], including as it is used in SERE training, it appears that the individual undergoing the technique is not in fact completely prevented from breathing, but his airflow is restricted by the wet cloth, creating a sensation of drowning. See IG Report at 15. ("Airflow is restricted … and the technique produces the sensation of drowning and suffocation.") (brackets mine, parenthesis Bradbury’s; Bradbury goes on to note that after the IG Report, the CIA imposed new constraints on waterboarding)

The IG Report described the maximum allowable period of sleep deprivation at that time as 264 hours or 11 days. See IG Report at 15. (Bradbury goes on to state that after the IG Report, the CIA imposed new limits on sleep deprivation)

DOJ Legal Analysis (16)

Pages 16 through 19 are available largely unredacted here. Pages 16 though 18 consist of a general review of CAT and US 2340(a). Page 19 discusses the Bybee One memo. Page 20 introduces a discussion of the Bybee Two memo, after which the rest of the page is redacted.

We note that this involvement of medical personnel in designing safeguards for, and in monitoring implementation of, the procedures is a significant difference from earlier uses of the techniques catalogued in the Inspector General’s Report. See IG Report at 21 n26 ("OMS was neither consulted nor involved in the analysis of the risk and benefits of [enhanced interrogation techniques], nor provided with the OTS report cited in the OLC opinion [the Interrogation Memorandum].").

The Inspector General further reported that "OMS contends that the expertise of the SERE waterboard experience is so different from the subsequent Agency usage as to make it almost irrelevant. Consequently, according to OMS, there was no a priori reason to believe that applying the waterboard with the frequency and intensity with which it was used by the psychologist/interrogators was either efficacious or medically safe." Id at 21 n26.

Notice to and Consultation with Executive and Congressional Officials (23)

Page 23 of the report includes the following passage:

The DCI briefed appropriate senior national security and legal officials on the proposed EITs. In the fall of 2002, the Agency briefed the leadership of the Congressional Intelligence Oversight Committees on the use of both standard techniques and EITs. [note, this quote is from the report itself, not Bradbury’s memos]

[Long redacted section]

"Medical and, as appropriate, psychological personnel shall be physically present at, or reasonably available to, each Detention Facility. Medical personnel shall check the physical condition of each detainee at intervals appropriate to the circumstances and shall keep appropriate records." (28-29)

Medical and psychological personnel are on-scene throughout (and, as detailed below, physically present or otherwise observing during the application of many techniques, including all techniques involving physical contact with detainees) and "[d]aily physical and psychological evaluations are continued through the period of [enhanced interrogation technique] use." [brackets Bradbury’s] (30)

The CIA used the waterboard extensively in the interrogations of KSM and Zubaydah, but did so only after it became clear that standard interrogation techniques were not working. Interrogators used enhanced techniques in the interrogation of al-Nashiri with notable results as early as the first day. See IG Report at 35-36. Twelve days into the interrogation, the CIA subjected al-Nashiri to one session of the waterboard during which water was applied two times. See id. at 36. (Note this section immediately precedes the discussion of videotapes.)

Videotapes of Interrogations (in the middle of long redacted section, 36)

The IG Report noted that in some cases the waterboard … was used in a different manner [than originally indicated]. See id. at 37 ("[T]he waterboard technique  … was different from the technique described in the DoJ opinion and used in the SERE training. The difference was the manner in which the detainee’s breathing was obstructed. At the SERE school and in the DoJ opinion, the subject’s airflow is disrupted by the firm application of a damp cloth over the air passages; the interrogator applies a small amount of water to the cloth in a controlled manner. By contrast, the Agency Interrogator …  applied large volumes of water to a cloth that covered the detainee’s mouth and nose. One of the psychologists/interrogators acknowledged that the Agency’s use of the technique is different from that used in SERE training because it is "for real–and is more poignant and convincing.")

Waterboard Technique (in the middle of long redacted section, 44, the passage begins with a reference to the waterboarding of KSM)

The IG Report noted that in some cases the waterboard was used with far greater frequency than initially indicated. (44, 46)

This is not to say that the interrogation program has worked perfectly. According to the IG Report, the CIA, at least initially, could not always distinguish detainees who had information but were successfully resisting interrogation from those who did not actually have the information. See IG report at 83-85. On at least one occasion, this may have resulted in what might be deemed in retrospect to have been the unnecessary use of enhanced techniques. On that occasion, although the on-scene interrogation team judged Zubaydah to be compliant, elements with CIA Headquarters still believed he was withholding information. [Redaction of more than one full line] See id, at 84. At the direction of CIA Headquarters interrogators, therefore used the waterboard one more time on Zubaydah. [Redaction of ~3/4 of a line] See id, at 84-85.

This example, however, does not show CIA “conduct [that is] intended to injure in some way unjustifiable by any government interest,” or “deliberate indifference” to the possibility of such unjustifiable injure. Lewis, 523 U.S. at 849. As long as the CIA reasonably believed that Zubaydah continued to withhold sufficiently important information, use of the waterboard was supported by the Government’s interest in protecting the Nation from subsequent terrorist attacks. The existence of a reasonable, good faith belief is not negated because the factual predicates for that belief are subsequently determined to be false. Moreover, in the Zubaydah example, CIA Headquarters dispatched officials to observe the last waterboard session. These officials reported that enhanced techniques were no longer needed. See IG Report at 85. Thus the CIA did not simply rely on what appeared to be credible intelligence but rather ceased using enhanced techniques despite this intelligence.

Effectiveness (85)

See this post and this post. Note, too, the unredacted discussion in the report–at least two of the six pages in this section pertain to waterboarding.

Policy Considerations and Concerns Regarding the Detention and Interrogation Program (91)

Policy Considerations (92)

Pages 92, 93, and half of 94 are unredacted in the report. They include a description of the Senate reservation on CAT. It notes the Senate’s use of the 5th, 8th, and 14th Amendments to fulfill the "cruel, inhuman, or degrading" requirement of CAT, but notes that CAT does not have a "no exceptions" clause as it does for the torture requirement. These passages then review State Department reports condemning similar practices to those used in the torture program, including hooding, making detainees lie on the floor, and stress positions. 

[One redacted subsection–must be "concerns regarding the program"–though the section must be no more than one page]

Endgame (95)

Conclusions (100)

The IG Report noted that in some cases the waterboard was used with far greater frequency than initially indicated. (103-04)

Recommendations (106)

Appendices (no page numbers)

A. Procedures and Resources

This one-page appendix describes is partly unredacted in the report, and consists of the procedures used for the review.

B. Chronology of Significant Events

[All other Appendices redacted; the report shows the existence of four more appendices, including one section on acceptable techniques, but appears to hide around 6 more appendices, which must be those of greatest length]

77 replies
  1. Mary says:

    I don’t guess anyone bothers freeping votes anymore, but this shows what I’ve been worried/depressed would be the reaction to this:…..ort/635115

    Article on OPR recommending that cases be reopened (why OPR is the dept involved isn’t addressed) The few votes on recommending the article are heavily thumbs down; the couple thousand + votes on agreeing with the decision to reopen cases or not are running over 70% against reopening.

    DOJ helped create the public mindset that torture means guilt and therefore it doesn’t matter that there was torture. DOJ is actively out there trying to insure continued depravity and abuse at almost every juncture – it becomes an impossibe and disingenuous task to expect people to support a torture investigation when DOJ is simultaneously telling courts it will horribly damage national security to discuss our torture in court and while no on, anywhere, includnig in the WH, ever ever ever ever mentions anyone innocent being caught up in the gang activity.

  2. Leen says:

    now the issue of the IG report is being turned into whether water boarding and other forms of torture are TORTURE but whether it was effective or not. Shameful just shameful

    The whole world is watching

  3. Mary says:

    Obama sets up new unit to interrogate “high value” detainees…..rrogations

    It “will be overseen by the Naitonal Security Council.” Because nothing could ever go wrong with that, could it? Presidential picks deciding what the President gets to do to people the President says are “high value.”

    I understand it is an improvement, but it’s really just finding a different toehold on the sam slippery slope, it’s not a move to a firm foundation.

    • BoxTurtle says:


      Translation: Trust me. I know what I’m doing.

      I don’t know that I care who does the questioning, as long as it’s done constitutionally.

      And I don’t trust ObamaCo to do that at this point since it seems their goal is still to avoid letting a real judge have a say.

      Let the FBI do the interrogations, using their PROVEN techniques, while the accused sits in a jail cell. Give the accused a real lawyer and let him face a real judge. We did it for Ted Bundy, these fellows are no worse.

      Boxturtle ( *Grump* )

  4. pdaly says:

    Could you clarify for me this bullet that the CIA IG report will contain?:

    An erroneous claim that everyone who should have been briefed was briefed

    Are you predicting

    the CIA IG report will claim everyone who should have been briefed was briefed (when we DFHs know that is not true)?


    that the CIA IG report will print the above claim and will go on the record to state that everyone who should have been briefed was not briefed?

    • emptywheel says:

      The passage was unredacted in the last release of the IG. And it basically said that Congress had been duly briefed. Ergo, erroneous, because we know Congress wasn’t duly briefed.

      • pdaly says:

        Thanks. And I’ll retract “prediction” from my question. Any chance a revised IG report will fix their misstatement?

        I wonder why fact checking is only for the bloggers these days? (I’ll bet Chris Matthews knows the answer to that one.)

  5. Jkat says:

    i don’t know if this jason leopold is the same person as the one who posts on topics here .. [if so i extend my kudos and utmost respect] but the article at the link is very very well written and i recommend it highly ..

    also .. are we sure this document dump hasn’t been kicked out of gear ??

    [on edit:i also don’t know why i can never get an embedded link to work for me here at the lake ..]

    • BoxTurtle says:

      The embedded link function requires a script. If you don’t have * as a trusted site, it’ll be blocked.

      I advise against making FDL trusted. The site itself seems relatively secure, but their adservers have been hacked before.

      I don’t know what browser you’re using, but on IE8 you get a permission bar at the top of the browser window when you click the link botton. Allow the script, then click the link botton again. The allow lasts until you go to a different site.

      If you tell me what OS/browser you’re using, I can probably give you specific directions for that version.

      Boxturtle (Public service announcement)

      • Jkat says:

        i’m running windows XP [updated] with google chrome boxturtle .. i’m not having any trouble getting the link to embed .. the link just doesn’t work when i do .. and it’s specific to this site ..

        and yeah ditto on the “trusted site” for FDL .. my machine got seriously infected here about last feb .. 10 different bugs .. among them a key logger .. and two trojan horses .. i lost my whole OS on that one ..almost lost the HD ..

        [ i didn’t know at the time that the specific firewall i was running [Univ/TN/knoxville] was disabled when i was using the google chrome browser.. since fixed]

        any tips you can give would be greatly appreciated … i normally like to embed links to further the discussion along ..

        • bmaz says:

          Hey are you checking your links in preview and finding they don’t work?? If so don’t worry about it, just post them, they come out fine on the blog.

          • Jkat says:

            i’m trying out the links after the post appears here in the lake bmaz .. and all i get is an error message [oops .. this link appears to be broken]

            if y’all can access them ..and i can’t .. that’s okay .. i’ve already read the materials before i link them in anyway ..

            [it may be “just another chrome glitch” .. of which chrome seems to have an abundant share btw ]

        • BoxTurtle says:

          Well, since the links work for almost everyone BUT you, I’m still inclined to think it’s a personal problem.

          Post something with a couple different links to non-FDL sites and I’ll look at the code. Either chrome is putting some garbage in the link itself or it’s eating the link before sending, I’m guessing.

          Boxturtle (Where’d I put my debugging hammer?)

  6. WilliamOckham says:

    Does anybody know when today the stuff will be released? I wouldn’t want to unintentionally create a DOS by constantly polling the ACLU website…

    • BoxTurtle says:

      A cynic might say it’ll be released just exactly too late for the evening news.

      An even more cynical person might say it’ll be released just before the evening news, but not soon enough for the reporters to do any kind of a real look. Thus they’ll have to rely on ObamaCo’s talking points for their anal-ysis.

      Boxturtle (I’m betting it’s done at 4:59pm)

  7. MadDog says:

    Tangentially related, ABC News has this juicy bit (caveat emptor!):

    Obama White House v. CIA; Panetta Threatens to Quit
    Tensions Lead to CIA Director’s “Screaming Match” at the White House

    A “profanity-laced screaming match” at the White House involving CIA Director Leon Panetta, and the expected release today of another damning internal investigation, has administration officials worrying about the direction of its newly-appoint intelligence team, current and former senior intelligence officials tell ABC…

    “…Leon will be leaving,” predicted a former top U.S. intelligence official, citing the conflict with Blair. The former official said Panetta is also “uncomfortable” with some of the operations being carried out by the CIA that he did not know about until he took the job…

    As it is ABC News, no one could possibly guarantee their credibility.

    • cinnamonape says:

      Notice that they don’t say that Panetta was the one screaming profanities nor who was/were the other party in the match (Blair?). Remember that now, technically, Blair is Panetta’s boss. Seems that the Old Guard still has more than a little control.

      • MadDog says:

        Yeah, I did notice and I thought the “profanity-laced screaming” was meant as code for Rahmbo.

        That’s my bet and I’m sticking with it. *g*

        • emptywheel says:

          Just did a post on this. There was a report (which I haven’t been able to find) from what appears from this dinner and it does appear to be Rahmbo. But note later on a WH spox says that Panetta has salty language.

      • lllphd says:

        actually, the article does strongly suggest it was panetta, as several references are made to that point, including the fact that it was with a high WH staffperson, and the one where a spokesperson says he is known for his ’salty language.’

          • lllphd says:

            definitely my first thought.

            lord knows i tried to see the wisdom in selecting him for COS, but his actions disabuse me of that sentiment. he seems to be a one-man wrecking crew, all in the name of getting ‘things’ done! sheez.

            i was struck by josh’s lament last week on the loss of daschle as sec of HEW, as he has that strong leadership history in the senate, where we need him most now. sure don’t need him doing the insurance lobby’s dirty work crafting a profitable co-op plan.

    • cinnamonape says:

      “…Leon will be leaving,” predicted a former top U.S. intelligence official, citing the conflict with Blair.

      So ABC is still relying on former Bush Administration sources – who somehow have links to people within the White House? Hmmm. Could it be that Blair “leaked” this information to a buddy for ‘media use’?

      • MadDog says:

        My guess is that it might be Richard Clarke since he’s officially quoted at the tail-end of the story.

        Journos do that. Anonymous sources quoted and then just coincidentally, official quotes that come from someone who just happens to fit the description of the anonymous source.

      • lllphd says:

        that comment actually sent chills up my spine; it rang like a snide and thinly veiled threat from a bushie/hardcore cia empire type. made me wonder if this could signal the ultimate showdown over who controls cia and how. which has been ongoing for oh too long now, so long in fact that we desperately need someone to smack ‘em down several notches.

  8. MadDog says:

    I’d also like to add one observation on that NYT article of:

    Justice Dept. Report Advises Pursuing C.I.A. Abuse Cases

    The Justice Department’s ethics office has recommended reversing the Bush administration and reopening nearly a dozen prisoner-abuse cases, potentially exposing Central Intelligence Agency employees and contractors to prosecution for brutal treatment of terrorism suspects, according to a person officially briefed on the matter.

    The recommendation by the Office of Professional Responsibility, presented to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in recent weeks, comes as the Justice Department is about to disclose on Monday voluminous details on prisoner abuse that were gathered in 2004 by the C.I.A.’s inspector general but have never been released…

    (My Bold)

    It seems to me that the curious fact of an OPR recommendation says something important about what and who was the subject of the review.

    To me, it says that DOJ attorneys themselves were the subject of the review, and their decisions originally not to prosecute was determined to be at a minimum, flawed legal judgment, and perhaps even prosecutable itself.

    The OPR has been known for quite some time generally as a timid DOJ component whose reluctance to critize, heaven forbid actually punish, was legion during the Bush/Cheney regime, so this latest recommendation should set some loud alarm bells ringing.

    And perhaps it did just that! Hopefully, we’ll shortly see.

    • bmaz says:

      I found the Johnson article to be weird. I suppose for most NYT readers it all makes sense, but to people (at least me) that have been into this swamp for a while, it appears disjointed and incredibly poorly explained. It is a little weird that the cues for direct criminal prosecution are coming from the OPR department, but I guess we are talking about government officials/employees. I dunno. At one point, Johnson made it sound like he was getting this from the OPR Report. I just dunno.

      • emptywheel says:

        I think it suggests two things.

        First, that OPR has completed its review of the report, suggesting it is just sitting somewhere gathering dust.

        Second, that the decision may have been made in the past that Yoo’s work meant prosecutions could not be pursued, but for some reason they can now. Remember my point, though, about the oral authorization based on the JPRA document. That would arguably make the authorization more expansive, unless you could prove (which you may be able to) that the person using it also saw the document calling all this torture, or knew how problematic all this was, or had engaged in teh torture before teh fact.

        • bmaz says:

          Well, as you know, I think convicting these low level guys all by themselves is not going to be easy. There is a veritable cornucopia of legal defenses that are to kill for as a defense lawyer. If you are not seeking their cooperation to go higher in the food chain, it just seems silly in some regards. By the way, we will be footing their defense I would assume, no?

    • Mary says:

      I do think that they may be using OPR to examine whether the crim lawyers originally reviewing met ethical standard, but it is very bizarre to put OPR into the role of actually recommending criminal investigations not of the lawyers involved, but of non-lawyer actors in other agencies. How they got the gig to make that kind of review for that kind of determination would be an interesting tale if everything is the way the article makes it sound.

      That seems an inappropriate use of OPR if that is really what has happened and it’s puzzling to say the least. Esp when the OPR supposed investigation into the lawyers drafting opinions was very narrowly framed and apparently not allowed to go into things like obstructions of justice for cover ups in courts and congress engaged in by the lawyers drafting opinions, etc. Somethings off.

      Sideways to topic – I just listened to the clip on the ABC bit on the US military assassinating drug criminals in Afghanistan and Pakistan. How does someone get on the list? Two human sources. That’s it. And these are the same guys we’ve cut deals with over the last 8 years, so the pretzeling is pretty damn intricate – I’m thinking under the “material support” standard, you’d have to say that most of the Afghan deployed military by now has been guilty of providing material support just like the people they are now ready to assassinate.

      And then we get perplexed that NATO allies don’t want to have their forces operating under our standards. Go figure.

  9. pdaly says:

    true. I wonder if the IG ever submits corrections to their reports.

    FYI: The “In this post” link takes me to a post on “L. Patrick Gray” but there are comments only–no post.

    • klynn says:

      Yea what is up with that?

      WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama has approved creation of a new, special terrorism-era interrogation unit to be supervised by the White House, a top aide said Monday, pushing further distancing his administration from Bush administration detainee policies.

      The new unit does not mean the CIA is now out of the interrogation business, deputy White House press secretary Bill Burton told reporters covering the vacationing Obama at Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

      Burton said the unit will include “all these different elements under one group,” and it said that it will be situated at the FBI headquarters in Washington. The unit would be led by an FBI official, with a deputy director from somewhere in the government’s vast intelligence apparatus, and members from across agencies. It will be directly supervised by the White House.

      Separately, Burton said that a recommendation now before Attorney General Eric Holder to reopen and pursue prisoner abuse cases is a decision solely for Holder to make without any intervention from the president.

      • Nell says:

        Why FBI leadership of any new interrogation unit should not be reassuring:
        this story of torture being conducted by FBI agents as part of revived Clinton-style “rendition” to trial under the Obama administration. (Cited in an EPU’d comment on a thread here a few days ago; AFAIK no one but Scott Horton, who wrote the linked story, and Dan Froomkin, in a tweet, has even acknowledged its existence.)

    • bmaz says:

      She will be busy today and that will be a happy talk BS PR show anyway; not sure what Spencer is doing. Are you surprised Kiriakou wasn’t listed as a source or author on the ABC piece?

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      11:30 — Next question: How is the group going to work on developing new techniques, and how big is it going to be? There has been a lot of academic and scientific research in the last half-dozen years, an official says – and the administration is making sure to stay abreast of the “dynamic and evolving field.”

      So scientists and scholars were present during interrogations? WTF?

  10. MadDog says:

    And Spencer just put this up over at The Washington Independent:

    Leon Panetta in the Hour of Chaos

    CIA Director Leon Panetta has just sent this letter to the CIA in advance of today’s anticipated release of the 2004 CIA inspector general report on torture…

    Ya’ll might want to visit over there and read the letter.

    • lllphd says:

      As Director in 2009, my primary interest—when it comes to a program that no longer exists—is to stand up for those officers who did what their country asked and who followed the legal guidance they were given. That is the President’s position, too. The CIA was aggressive over the years in seeking new opinions from the Department of Justice as the legal landscape changed. The Agency sought and received multiple written assurances that its methods were lawful. The CIA has a strong record in terms of following legal guidance and informing the Department of Justice of potentially illegal conduct.

      These points make me terribly nervous. They stand up for those who did what they were asked to do, the agency asked for legal cover and got it, all of course post 9-11, and gosh none of us think for ourselves over here, we just follow orders, despite all our expensive training to be the best the world can offer, and our obligation to adhere to legal actions.


      • Jkat says:

        all of which totally overlooks the main point that torture is specifically outlawed by both treaty and specific black letter US statutes .. and that no OLC opinion can authorize violations of those statutes .. OLC is not an arbiter of “what’s legal” the courts are .. eh ??

        and ..i read somewhere in my many web-wanderings yesterday that one of the prisoners turned over to someone had nine holes drilled in his feet ????

        that’s certainly different than simply “threatening” someone with a drill motor …

        [to Boxturtle @ #49 .. just another add to my myriad other “personal problems” .. oh the humanity .. if y’all can access them .. i’m fine with the situation .. whatever it really is .. lol ]

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      That is the job the American people want us to do, and that is my responsibility as the current Director of the CIA.

      Does the word current ring bells or clash cymbals?

  11. fatster says:

    NYT: DOJ Report Recommends Reopening Prisoner Abuse Cases — Holder Now “All But Certain” To Probe Torture
    By Zachary Roth – August 24, 2009, 9:16AM

    “President Obama’s desire to look forward, not back, is turning out to be easier said than done.”


    • Petrocelli says:

      If Obama had glossed over the tortures, he would have been treated with as much disdain by World Leaders and Bush got after the ‘09 election. I’m certain that more than one World leader pressed him to prosecute. Sadly, our NeoCon Burger Lover was not one of them.

      This investigation will be followed closely, worldwide.

      • bmaz says:

        What investigation? I have seen nothing that indicates they will do anything but possibly charge twelve or fewer individuals previously submitted by the last administration. Anybody in their right mind should castigate this for the whitewash fraud it is.

        • Petrocelli says:

          That was the point I was trying to make … if this is a whitewash, Obama will get smacked around by a lot of World Leaders, who are being pressed by their citizenry to come clean.

          BTW, someone please tell Marcy that I’ve left a Keg of Beamish here for her.

                • Petrocelli says:

                  Our Irish Folk pride themselves on making their own Brew and the food is excellent as well.

                  For now, I’ll happily donate to supply all you can ingest for the next few days … I have a feeling that your upcoming revelations will eclipse the phenomenal work you’ve already done this year.

        • BoxTurtle says:

          Let’s see them charge those low level folks and then manage to convict them in court without seriously incriminating higher-up’s.

          Unless their plan is to offer plea bargains with no felony charges in return for not mounting an active defense? As a defendent, I would find that a very attractive offer.

          Boxturtle (I am not angry at the servant who beat me, I am angry at the officer who ordered the beating – Gandi)

  12. fatster says:

    Panetta Spins Forthcoming Torture Report: We Were Told It Was Legal
    By Zachary Roth – August 24, 2009, 11:23AM

    “With the Obama administration set later today to release an internal CIA report on torture, director Leon Panetta is preemptively defending his agency, claiming that CIA personnel simply followed the legal guidelines they were given.”


    • bmaz says:

      I see Panetta forgot to mention that one of the reasons we won’t be confronted with this situation is that the CIA had the CIA IG Department completely neutered and taken out of the normal agency IG protocols so that the agency itself controls and disciplines the IG message and review process.

  13. fatster says:

    O/T. A breakthrough on the health reform front?

    Is The White House Ready To Ditch Republicans And Turn to Reconciliation?
    Brian Beutler | August 24, 2009, 9:37AM

    “After fruitlessly seeking a bipartisan compromise on health care reform for months, the White House seems to have finally realized that Republicans have no interest in compromising and that progressives are fed up with making nice. Now, the administration is preparing to go it alone, even if that means passing reform on a straight party-line vote.”


  14. Garrett says:

    Several Agency components, including the Office of General Counsel and the Directorate of Operations, disagreed with some of the findings and conclusions.

    Do we already know about this, and in which direction?

    I make no judgments on the accuracy of the 2004 IG report

    Roh roh.

    • Mary says:

      But this much is clear: The CIA obtained intelligence from high-value detainees when inside information on al-Qa’ida was in short supply.

      I guess the inside inforamtion on al-Qaeda was in such short supply we didn’t know that al-Libi and Zubaydah weren’t, after all, high value detainees with operational information about al-Qaeda. Lucky for us that we were able to obtain intelligence that said they were and put together our “inside information” based on their claims of Iraqi training camps and Zubaydah’s status as the No. 3 guy in al-Qaeda. Amazing that we missed Bin Laden and sank the US into the duel (sic) wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

      Obtained intelligence.

      What a useful phrase.

  15. fatster says:

    Is this more of that “forward thinking”?

    Journalists’ recent work examined before embeds
    By Charlie Reed, Stars and Stripes
    Mideast edition, Monday, August 24, 2009

    “As more journalists seek permission to accompany U.S. forces engaged in escalating military operations in Afghanistan, many of them could be screened by a controversial Washington-based public relations firm contracted by the Pentagon to determine whether their past coverage has portrayed the U.S. military in a positive light.

    “U.S. public affairs officials in Afghanistan acknowledged to Stars and Stripes that any reporter seeking to embed with U.S. forces is subject to a background profile by The Rendon Group, which gained notoriety in the run-up to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq for its work helping to create the Iraqi National Congress. That opposition group, reportedly funded by the CIA, furnished much of the false information about Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction used by the Bush administration to justify the invasion.”


    • bmaz says:

      Among those waiting for Jawad at the Pul-i-Charki Prison on Kabul’s outskirts was his uncle, Haji Gul Naik, who told McClatchy that his family wasn’t angry “at the Americans” for Jawad’s detention.

      What exactly is the deal with this sentence? Why do Landay and Rosenberg just leave this hanging there with no explanation? Why were they waiting at the prison?

      • Mary says:

        Why were they waiting at the prison?

        For the PR purpose of having them say that they don’t blame the US. We’re still the “good guys”

        @56 – thanks, that’s got a lot more meat. Including the Ramadan reference – a time to release prisoners without saying that they shouldn’t have been held, but rather that you are making a noblesse oblige gesture for Ramadan. Someone is at least paying a bit more attention on the PR front, even if it’s kind of a taunting use of it.

        @57 – keep in mind how many of those world leaders will get black eyes with the release of info, though. Mubarak, Blair, Brown, Musharef, Miliband, Berlusconi, etc. And it’s not like anyone is going to be happy on the Uzbek revelations. Dostum is in line to be a kingmaker in Afghanistan. I think there are probably more pressures behind closed doors to disappear as much of this as possible than to get it out. JMO.

        BTW – when is Panetta going to draw the domestic parallels and stand up for Jon Burge – he got lots of intelligence too. He was defending state security. If Obama and Bush can invoke national security to cover up their crimes, why is it that Burge can’t get someone in IL gov to cough up a state secrets/state security affidavit for him?

        Anyway – he got important intelligence, that’s what matters, right?

        From the Guardian on the 22nd, a British take on the upcoming report release (it’s interesting how little emphasis the news here is giving to the fact that the release is court orderd, not an Obama offering).…..ort-leaked

        I’m going to have to get to real work for the rest of the day, so when the report comes out, those who are looking through it first can let me know if KSM’s children appear anywhere or by reference. We now are hearing about mock executions and power drills (I guess some are repelled when the reports of power drill torture came out, others were inspired). But still no one mentions the disappeared children.

    • emptywheel says:

      From the ACLU release, it looks like release to freedom:

      American Civil Liberties Union client Mohammed Jawad was released from Guantánamo and returned to Afghanistan today, ending nearly seven years of illegal detention by the U.S. In July, U.S. District Judge Ellen S. Huvelle granted Jawad’s habeas corpus petition and ordered the Justice Department to release him, finding there was no credible evidence to continue holding him. Judge Huvelle had previously issued a ruling throwing out Jawad’s supposed “confession” because it was the product of torture.

      The Afghan Attorney General recently sent a letter to the U.S. government demanding Jawad’s return and confirming that Jawad was a young teenager when he was captured in Afghanistan and illegally rendered from that country in December 2002. Following his 2002 arrest in Afghanistan for allegedly throwing a grenade at two U.S. soldiers and their interpreter, Jawad was subjected to repeated torture and other mistreatment and to a systematic program of harsh and highly coercive interrogations designed to break him physically and mentally. Eventually, Jawad tried to commit suicide in his cell by slamming his head repeatedly against the wall.

      Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld, the former lead prosecutor in Jawad’s military commission case, resigned from the case because he didn’t believe he could ethically proceed with it given Jawad’s mistreatment and the lack of credible evidence against him.

      The following can be attributed to Jonathan Hafetz, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project and one of Jawad’s lawyers in his habeas corpus case:

      “We are so pleased that this nightmare of abuse and injustice has finally come to an end. While Mr. Jawad can never get back the nearly seven years he was illegally detained and tortured, now he can finally return home to his family, friends and country, and begin to build a normal life.

      “While Mr. Jawad’s release is a long-awaited victory for the rule of law, there are many other detainees who are still being held illegally. We are hopeful that the government will act swiftly to close Guantánamo and handle all of the remaining detainees in a manner consistent with America’s Constitution and its values. Any detainee suspected of a crime must be charged and tried in the federal courts, which are fully capable of handling terrorism cases. After so many years, the government should have reliable, untainted evidence against any suspect it believes is guilty. If not, it has no justification to continue imprisoning him.”

      The following can be attributed to U.S. Air Force Major David Frakt, co-counsel for Jawad:

      “Mr. Jawad has finally returned home to celebrate Ramadan with his family after nearly seven long years away. This is a tremendous victory for justice and the rule of law. Although nothing can ever replace those lost years, fortunately this remarkable young man is still young enough to build a life for himself. He is eager to go back to school and complete his education so that he can help others in Afghan society. We’re hopeful that the many other innocent men still being illegally detained at Guantanamo will also soon be released.”

      More information about Jawad’s case is available at:

  16. SebastianDangerfield says:

    Given the attention that is being focused on the mock execution technique — with more to come, I’m sure — it is meet to point out that the mock execution was a favorite torture technique of Tsar Nicholas I.

    Dostoyevsky was subjected to one in 1849, when the Tsar had Dostoyevsky and others in his literary group arrested and sentenced to death. The Tsar’s men staged a firing squad in Semyonovsky Square, although the death sentence had already been commuted (to several years of hard labor in Siberia). The commutation order was read to the prisoners at the moment before the soldiers were supposed to be about to fire. One of Dostoyevsy’s fellow priosers went insane as a result. The mock execution shows up in The Brothers Karamazov, The House of the Dead, and Crime and Punishment. See

    • Jkat says:

      mock executions were also used by both the north koreans in the korean conflict ..and by the north vietnamese during the viet nam war .. it’s a fairly standard tactic among those we’ve always claimed moral superiority over ..

      [sadly.. if not disgustingly ..imo.. we’ve apparently lost that alleged former high ground]

      • SebastianDangerfield says:

        Yes, like water torture, it has a long and sordid history. It was considered an effective way of “breaking” prisoners — not to obtain useful information, mind you, but simply to break their will and make them (to mix my literary metaphors) “love Big Brother.”

    • bmaz says:

      Hey there! Glad you showed up. I expect you to be around later when the fans really start slinging the poo on the IG Report and other junk.

    • Mary says:

      Mock execution is also at issue in a military, not CIA, case. It’s a case where torture killing was the ultimate result anyway, but on the road there, a juvenile family member was abused, then taken into another room and “used” as the mock execution victim, all wile the father was being slowly tortured to death by repeated suffocation and breaking and pressuring broken bones, including ribs.

      The military commission involved didn’t think the hostage taking, juvenile abuse, mock execution and torture killing warranted more than a few months of green zone detention with release to go to church. There is now a civil case pending.

      • Jkat says:

        makes ya wonder when they’ll begin to employ “the comfy chair” as an alternate punishment device .. eh ?? /s

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