The Torture Memos: The Case Against the Lawyers

by David Cole
from THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS

On Monday, August 24, as President Obama began his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, his administration released a previously classified 2004 report by the CIA’s inspector general that strongly criticized the techniques employed to interrogate “high-value” al-Qaeda suspects at the CIA’s secret prisons.[1] The report revealed that CIA agents and contractors, in addition to using such “authorized” and previously reported tactics as waterboarding, wall-slamming, forced nudity, stress positions, and extended sleep deprivation, also employed a variety of “unauthorized, improvised, inhumane and undocumented” methods. These included threatening suspects with a revolver and a power drill; repeatedly applying pressure to a detainee’s carotid artery until he began to pass out; staging a mock execution; threatening to sexually abuse a suspect’s mother; and warning a detainee that if another attack occurred in the United States, “We’re going to kill your children.” more

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