Document a Day: The Plan Has Been Signed Off On

This email, dated October 1, 2002, announces the beginning of the interrogation of Mohammed al Qahtani in Guantánamo. As with the CIA's torture of Abu Zubaydah, the Defense Department's interrogators followed a plan that relied on techniques the United States had long recognized as torture, a plan closely monitored by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

In March 2006, Time magazine published a leaked hour-by-hour log of 49 days of the ensuing interrogation—a document that records in harrowing detail the combined effects of severe sleep deprivation and a relentless assault of physical pressure and psychological humiliations. The entire process was carefully monitored by doctors, who repeatedly gave the go ahead for torture to resume, even after al Qahtani had been rushed to a hospital.

In January 2009, Susan Crawford, the convening authority of military commissions in Guantánamo, told Bob Woodward in an interview, “We tortured Qahtani,” and that is why she refused to refer his case for prosecution.

 

 

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