Document a Day: Generic Torture

Under the breezy cover note “Dan, a generic description of the process,” this “Background Paper on CIA's Use of Interrogation Techniques” is one of the most chilling torture documents excavated to date.

After the Abu Ghraib photographs surfaced and the Washington Post published a redacted version of the August 1, 2002 Bybee/Yoo torture memo in 2004, Jack Goldsmith—Jay Bybee's replacement as the head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel—announced he was withdrawing the OLC's 2002 legal opinions. “Dan” is Dan Levin, who served as Acting Assistant Attorney General for the OLC from July 2004 through February 2005 and who was charged with creating replacement memos that would maintain the legality of the Bush torture program.

This document was prepared by the CIA at Levin's request to show how the CIA used the 10 approved “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” in combination in a typical interrogation. Stating that “the goal of interrogation is to create a state of learned helplessness and dependence,” the memo describes the process from rendition through a 30-day, Washington-approved torture regimen in matter-of-fact, clinical detail.






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