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In full: Bush-era interrogation memos

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 17 April 2009

White House releases memos giving CIA agents the all-clear for the "extreme interrogation" of terror suspects. Read them in full.

'Top secret': Bush-era interrogation memos


- Memorandum for John Rizzo, Acting General Counsel, CIA from Jay Bybee, Assistant Attorney General, 1 Aug 2002
Read full memo

- Memorandum for John Rizzo, Senior General Counsel, CIA from Steven Bradbury, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, 10 May 2005
Read the memo
Read the memo (2)

- Memorandum for John Rizzo, Senior General Counsel, CIA from Steven Bradbury, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, 30 May 2005
Read the memo

The documents represent the George W Bush administration's legal justification for methods that far exceed US military limits and have been called "torture" by critics, writes ITN.

They approved techniques including waterboarding, week-long sleep deprivation, nudity and putting insects in with a tightly confined prisoner.


The memo says: "We find that the use of the waterboard constitutes a threat of imminent death" - one of the criteria for torture.
Justice Department memo, Aug 2002

The first memo, from 2002, approves waterboarding - which makes the suspect feel like they are drowning - and other harsh techniques on suspected high-level al-Qaeda figure Abu Zubaydah.

It was written by former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee for the CIA's top lawyer, John Rizzo. The CIA has confirmed that two other high-level al-Qaeda suspects were waterboarded.

The memo says: "We find that the use of the waterboard constitutes a threat of imminent death" - one of the criteria for torture.

"It creates in the subject the uncontrollable physiological sensation that the subject is drowning."

But it also said that in the absence of prolonged mental harm, no severe mental pain or suffering would have been inflicted, and the use of these procedures would not constitute torture within the meaning of the statute.

The memo described waterboarding as the final point in a chain of harsh techniques, which also including slapping and shoving a suspect into a wall, aimed at persuading Zubaydah to reveal information interrogators were certain he had.

One memo said 28 terrorism suspects received harsh interrogations out of 94 held in the CIA's detention program.

US President Barack Obama has banned the use of extreme interrogation but said agents who used the techniques on suspects would not face punishment.

"I have already ended the techniques described in the memos," said Mr Obama.

"The men and women of our intelligence community serve courageously on the front lines of a dangerous world. We must provide them with the confidence that they can do their jobs."

The Obama administration also said it would try to shield CIA employees from "any international or foreign tribunal".

© Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

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