Rene — Four CIA Chiefs Said 'Don't Reveal Torture Memos

Topic(s): Torture | Comments Off on Rene — Four CIA Chiefs Said 'Don't Reveal Torture Memos

Amidst the noise, there is something interesting in this article. That the Obama administration did not reveal these memos necessarily out of some desire for justice, but because they felt it was better to do it voluntarily rather than forced to do so through proceedings brought upon them by the ACLU. Which means, without the struggles on the ground, no one is forced to release no thing. Whether “the governors” are well-wishing or not, they will never serve the people without a pretext. The struggles of people, are, can become, among other things those pre-texts. What this says for politics or political struggle at large is not much, maybe. Since there is a politics that exceeds that of/between states and nations, politicians, governors, and their governed. -rg
Four CIA Chiefs Said ‘Don’t Reveal Torture Memos’
Agency’s ex-directors objected to interrogation techniques being
revealed. But Barack Obama went ahead anyway.
Published on Sunday, April 19, 2009 by The Independent/UK
by Pamela Hess
WASHINGTON – Four former CIA directors opposed the release of
classified Bush-era interrogation memos, officials say, describing
objections that went all the way to the White House and slowed
disclosure of the records. Former CIA chiefs Michael Hayden, Porter
Goss, George Tenet and John Deutch all called the White House in March
warning that release of the so-called “torture memos” would compromise
intelligence operations, current and former officials say.
Former CIA directors General Michael Hayden (above), Porter Goss,
George Tenet and John Deutch fought the White House over release of
embarrassing documents. (AFP)President Barack Obama ultimately
overruled the objections after internal discussions that intensified
in the weeks that followed the former directors’ intervention. The
memos were released on Thursday.
Mr Obama’s involvement grew as the decision neared, and he even led a
National Security Council session on the matter, four senior
administration officials said. White House adviser David Axelrod, who
said he also talked to Mr Obama about the pending release of the memos
in recent weeks, said the ex-directors’ opposition was considered
seriously but did not impede the decision-making process. “The CIA
directors weighed in and it slowed things down,” Mr Axelrod said on
The memos detailed the legal rationales that senior Bush
administration lawyers drew up authorising the CIA to use simulated
drowning and other harsh techniques on terror suspects. They described
how prisoners were naked, shackled and hooded at the start of
interrogation sessions. When the CIA interrogator removed the hood,
the questioning began. When a prisoner resisted, the documents
outlined techniques the CIA could use to bring him back in line:
* Nudity, sleep deprivation and dietary restri
t and reminded them they had no control over their basic
needs. Clothes and food could be used as rewards for co-operation.
* Slapping prisoners on the face or abdomen was allowed. So was
grabbing them forcefully by the collar or slamming them into a false
wall, a technique called “walling” intended to induce fear rather than
* Water hoses were used to douse the prisoners for minutes at a
time. The hoses were turned on and off as the interrogation continued.
* Prisoners were put into one of three “stress positions”, such as
sitting on the floor with legs out straight and arms raised in the
* At night, the detainees were shackled, standing naked or wearing a
nappy. The length of sleep deprivation varied but was authorised for
up to 180 hours, or seven and a half days. Interrogation sessions
ranged from 30 minutes to several hours and could be repeated as
necessary, and as approved by psychological and medical teams.
The Bush administration approved the use of waterboarding, a technique
in which a suspect was strapped to a board, his feet raised above his
head, and his face covered with a wet cloth as interrogators poured
water over it. The body responds as if it is drowning, over and over
as the process is repeated. “We find that the use of the waterboard
constitutes a threat of imminent death,” Justice Department attorneys
wrote. “From the vantage point of any reasonable person undergoing
this procedure in such circumstances, he would feel as if he is
drowning at the very moment of the procedure due to the uncontrollable
physiological sensation he is experiencing.”
But attorneys decided that waterboarding caused “no pain or actual
harm whatsoever” and so did not meet the “severe pain and suffering”
standard to be considered torture.
President Obama has ended the CIA’s interrogation programme. CIA
interrogators are now required to follow army guidelines, under which
waterboarding and many of the techniques listed above are prohibited.
The President gave the question of these documents’ release “the appr
. He said Mr Obama’s deliberations revolved around “the issue of
national security versus the rule of law”, and amounted to “one of the
most profound issues the President of the United States has to deal
On 18 March, the Justice Department told the Director of the CIA, Leon
Panetta, as he was leaving for a foreign trip, that it would be
recommending that the White House release the memos almost completely
uncensored, officials said. Mr Panetta told the US Attorney General,
Eric Holder, and officials in the White House that the administration
needed to discuss the possibility that the memos’ release might expose
CIA officers to lawsuits on allegations of torture and abuse. Mr
Panetta also pushed for more censorship of the memos, officials
said. The Justice Department informed other senior CIA leaders of the
decision to release the memos and, as a courtesy, told former agency
Senior CIA officials objected, arguing that the release would damage
the agency’s ability to interrogate prisoners. They also said the move
would tarnish CIA officers who had acted on the Bush officials’ legal
guidance. And they warned that the action would erode foreign
intelligence services’ trust in the CIA’s ability to protect national
security secrets. The four former directors immediately protested to
the White House, officials said. The enhanced interrogation procedures
outlined in the memos had been approved on Mr Tenet’s watch during the
Bush administration.
On 19 March, the Justice Department requested a two-week delay in
responding to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that asked for release of the
memos. Justice officials told the court dealing with that lawsuit that
it was considering releasing the memos voluntarily. Two weeks later,
Justice Department lawyers told the court the memos would come out on
or before 16 April.
Inside the White House, according to aides, Mr Obama expressed
concerns that releasing the memos could threaten current intelligence
operatio he CIA chiefs’ worries about US relationships with
always-skittish foreign intelligence services. The Justice Department
argued that the ACLU lawsuit would in the end force the administration
to release the documents anyway, officials said.
Mr Obama eventually agreed. The administration decided it would be
better to make the release voluntarily, so as not to be seen as being
forced to do so, the officials said. The only items blacked out
included names of US employees or foreign services or items related to
techniques still in use. Still, CIA officials needed reassurance about
the decision, the officials said.
Mr Obama took the unusual step of accompanying his decision with a
personal letter to CIA employees. He also devoted a big share of his
public statement to saying and repeating that he believed strongly in
keeping intelligence operations secret, and operations about them
classified. He said he would not apologise for doing so in the future
What the memos reveal
The Bush administration memos describe the interrogation methods used
against 28 terror suspects, the fullest government account of the
techniques to date. They range from waterboarding – or simulated
drowning – to using a plastic neck collar to slam detainees into
walls. The treatment of two suspects in particular are described:
Abu Zubaydah In 2002, the Justice Department authorised CIA
interrogators to step up the pressure even further on the suspected
terrorist. Justice Department lawyers said the CIA could place
Zubaydah in a cramped confinement box. Because Zubaydah appeared
afraid of insects, they also authorised interrogators to place him in
a box filled with caterpillars (though the tactic was not in fact
used). Finally, the Justice Department authorised interrogators to
take a step into what the United States now considers torture:
waterboarding. Zubaydah was strapped to a board, his feet raised above
his head. His face was covered with a wet cloth as interrogators
poured water over it.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed A memo dated 30 May 2005 says
d on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a top al-Qa’ida detainee, he refused to
answer questions about pending plots against the US. “Soon, you will
know,” he said, according to the memo. It says the interrogations
later extracted details of a plot called the “second wave”, using East
Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner in Los Angeles. Plots
that were disrupted, the memos say, include the alleged effort by Jose
Padilla to detonate a “dirty bomb”, spreading radioactive materials by
means of explosives.