Documents Released by the CIA and Justice Department in Response to the ACLU's Torture FOIA

July 24, 2008

Memo Dated January 28, 2003, from CIA to OLC
Contains "communications from the CIA to OLC on a matter in which the CIA requested legal advice from OLC" and shows that CIA interrogators were permitted to use both "Standard Techniques" and "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" and that in each CIA interrogation session in which an Enhanced Technique was employed, a "contemporaneous record" was created setting forth, among other things, "the nature and duration of each such technique employed" and "the identities of those present."

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Memo Dated August 4, 2004, from CIA to OLC
Contains "communications from the CIA to OLC on a matter in which the CIA requested legal advice from OLC" and shows that CIA interrogators were told that the Justice Department had concluded that certain interrogation techniques, "including the waterboard," did not violate the torture statute. The document also indicates that CIA interrogators were told to take into account the possibility that their actions would ultimately be subject to judicial review.

Memo Dated August 1, 2002, from OLC to CIA
Memo "advising the CIA regarding interrogation methods it may use against al Qaeda members," and includes information "regarding potential interrogation methods and the context in which their use was contemplated." The document also discusses "alternative interrogation methods," a phrase that was echoed by President Bush in a September 2006 speech promoting the Military Commissions Act. Though heavily redacted, the document shows that the Justice Department authorized alternative interrogation methods after concluding that "those carrying out these procedures would not have the specific intent to inflict severe physical pain or suffering" or "to cause severe mental pain or suffering." The memo explains: "Prolonged mental harm is substantial mental harm of sustained duration, e.g. harm lasting months or even years after the acts were inflicted upon the prisoner." The memo also includes this sentence: "Your review of the literature uncovered no empirical data on the use of these procedures, with the exception [redacted]." The memo is signed by Jay Bybee, who also signed the "organ failure" memo issued to the CIA the same day, and who is now a federal appellate judge.

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