Preparing for torture

The Pentagon and the CIA were anxious to waterboard before the Bush Administration approved the idea

A U.S. Senate investigation has found that senior military and intelligence officials were preparing—and anxious—to use harsh interrogation methods on terror suspects long before the idea was rubber-stamped by the Bush White House. Previously secret memos and interviews reveal that CIA and Pentagon employees were exploring ways to break Taliban and al-Qaeda detainees in early 2002, up to eight months before Justice Department lawyers approved the use of waterboarding and nine other methods. Even more damning, the report from the Senate Armed Services Committee says numerous officials—from government lawyers to trained interrogation experts—warned that the techniques could not only backfire, but might violate U.S. and international law. One Army lieutenant colonel who reviewed the program warned in 2002 that coercion “usually decreases the reliability of the information because the person will say whatever he believes will stop the pain.” A second official, briefed on plans to use aggressive techniques on detainees, was quoted the same year as asking: “Wouldn’t that be illegal?”

Washington Post

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