For Immediate Release
ACLU Obtains Detailed Official Record of CIA Torture Program
Justice Department Documents Describe Enhanced Interrogation Techniques Used As Late As 2007
NEW YORK - The
government handed over to the American Civil Liberties Union late
Monday a detailed official description of the CIA's interrogation
program. That document, a December 2004 CIA background paper sent to
the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), provides a
detailed official account of the CIA's detention, interrogation and
rendition programs - from a detainee's initial apprehension, to his
transfer to a CIA "black site," to his interrogation - and describes
the use of abusive interrogation techniques including forced nudity,
sleep deprivation, dietary manipulation and stress positions. The
document was one of dozens of documents, comprising hundreds of pages,
that were made public in response to two ACLU Freedom of Information
Act (FOIA) lawsuits for documents related to the treatment of detainees
in U.S. custody overseas.
"The background paper is a profoundly disturbing document that
illustrates, as well as anything could, how far the CIA strayed from
the law and from values that are integral to our democracy," said
Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project. "That
the barbaric methods outlined in the paper were approved by the
country's senior-most officials is particularly appalling."
Another document provided to the ACLU is a July 2007 memo from Steven
Bradbury, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, to John Rizzo,
Acting CIA General Counsel. The memo describes six "enhanced
interrogation techniques" to be used against prisoners then in CIA
custody, including dietary manipulation, extended sleep deprivation,
facial hold, attention grasp, abdominal slap and insult/facial slap.
Notably, President Bush announced in September 2006 that 14 prisoners
in CIA custody had been transferred to the Defense Department at
Guantánamo and that at that time no prisoners remained in CIA custody.
"The background paper and the rest of the Justice Department OLC
documents turned over on Monday shed further light on the origins and
scope of the Bush administration's torture program," said Amrit Singh,
a staff attorney for the ACLU. "These documents provide critical
details about the CIA's detention and interrogation program following
the enactment of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, which prohibited
the cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody
overseas. It is troubling to see that many of the CIA's coercive
interrogation methods survived despite the passage of that law.
Collectively, the OLC documents, along with the CIA Inspector General
report, further underscore the need for a full investigation into the
torture of prisoners and those who authorized it. The Obama
administration made a commitment to transparency, and the release of
documents related to the Bush administration's torture program is a
The OLC documents are available online at: www.aclu.org/safefree/torture/
Earlier on Monday, the ACLU released a CIA Inspector General report on
the agency's "enhanced interrogation" program and related documents.
Those documents are available online at: www.aclu.org/safefree/torture/
More information about the ACLU's FOIA litigation is at: www.aclu.org/accountability
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.