The tactics -- which one official described Friday as a threatened execution -- were used on Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, according to the CIA's inspector general's report on the agency's interrogation program....
Three months before Nashiri's capture, the head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel -- Jay S. Bybee, now a federal judge -- advised the CIA in an August 2002 memo that threats of "imminent death" were not illegal unless they deliberately produced prolonged mental harm. Independent legal experts have called that interpretation too hedged and thus too lax....
A ... former U.S. official who has read the full, classified report said that it contained an entire section listing ways in which the CIA and contracted interrogators had "gone beyond what they were authorized to do -- a whole variety of deviations." The official said that what struck him most strongly was that the report suggested these techniques were "really not effective."
He said he concluded that "there has to be a better way to do this" but that the CIA resisted suggestions then that it should back away from the program. Asked why, the official said he could not say for sure, but he added that "maybe it was that if you change, then it means you were wrong" in pursuing the harsh interrogation methods in the first place.
August 22, 2009
Did CIA interrogators stage mock executions and brandish a gun and a drill to frighten detainees into giving up information?