They advised the Central Intelligence Agency , the United States Department of Defense , and the President on the use of enhanced interrogation techniques : mental and physical torment and coercion such as prolonged sleep deprivation , binding in stress positions , and waterboarding , and stated that such acts, widely regarded as torture, might be legally permissible under an expansive interpretation of presidential authority during the " War on Terror ". Following accounts of the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq, one of the memos was leaked to the press in June Jack Goldsmith , then head of the Office of Legal Counsel , had already withdrawn the Yoo memos and advised agencies not to rely on them. After Goldsmith was forced to resign because of his objections, Attorney General Ashcroft issued a one paragraph opinion re-authorizing the use of torture. In May , the CIA requested new legal opinions about the interrogation techniques it was using. Bradbury , ruling on the legality of the authorized techniques if agents followed certain constraints.
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Of these, the Bybee and Bradbury memos provide important insights into the evolution of torture practices for use against so-called High Value Detainees by the CIA. Memos sent in from Jay Bybee of the Office of Legal Counsel, Department of Justice, to the Counsel to the President and to the CIA presented a series of arguments which would provide the basis for approval of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment against detainees in the 'War on Terror'.
The Bradbury memos were issued in after the CIA had sought approval from the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel for harsher techniques than had previously been approved by the Bybee memos. When examined in conjunction with a secret investigation carried out by the CIA Inspector General in into the use of waterboarding and other 'Enhanced Interrogation Techniques', we see that the techniques approved by Bradbury in were already being used by the CIA.
In other words, the CIA was seeking retroactive approval for increasingly cruel and harsh interrogation methods. This report shows clearly that when the CIA was approaching the Office of Legal Counsel for approval for certain hash interrogation techniques, it was in many cases already using them.
Thus it was seeking approval retroactively. In , the Inspector General was already raising doubt about the efficacy of 'Enhanced Interrogation Techniques' for securing intelligence. Furthermore, he made it clear that the techniques violated international law on torture. He also demonstrated that the mechanisms for controlling and overseeing the use of these techniques were chaotic, and this had led to the unauthorised use of cruel treatment. It is striking, therefore, that even after his investigation, the CIA continued to use these techniques, it continued to add new and harsher ones, and it sought to expand their use.
The Rendition Project. Researching the globalisation of rendition and secret detention. The Bybee Memos Memos sent in from Jay Bybee of the Office of Legal Counsel, Department of Justice, to the Counsel to the President and to the CIA presented a series of arguments which would provide the basis for approval of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment against detainees in the 'War on Terror'.
The Torture Memos, 10 Years Later
Our journey toward Abu Ghraib began in earnest with a single document -- written and signed without the knowledge of the American people. On February 7, -- ten years ago to the day, tomorrow -- President George W. This was the day, a milestone on the road to Abu Ghraib : that marked our descent into torture -- the day, many would still say, that we lost part of our soul. Drafted by men like John Yoo , and pushed along by White House counsel Alberto Gonzales , the February 7 memo was sent to all of the key players of the Bush Administration involved in the early days of the War on Terror.
Specifically, the White House asked how the Act changed the extent to which grand jury information could be shared with the president and other federal officials. Bybee, now a judge on the U. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, crafted a previously undisclosed interpretation of the law that is breathtaking in its sweep. The notion that grand jury testimony should be secret dates back to at least the seventeenth century. The rules governing disclosure of grand jury proceedings are set by the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure; prior to the PATRIOT Act, those rules declared that grand jury information could be shared only under certain circumstances, such as when the material was necessary to assist a prosecutor. However, disclosures had to be reported to a judge, and everyone receiving the information had to be told of its confidentiality.