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Document a Day: Not Even if Ordered

Larry Siems,
The Torture Report
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June 17, 2010

The FBI wasn’t alone in rejecting torture. One of the most dramatic and stirring of all the torture documents, this Statement for the Record from the Navy’s top lawyer, Alberto Mora, chronicles a rebellion within the Defense Department against the Donald Rumsfeld-approved, Survival, Evasion Resist Escape (SERE)-based torture methods.

When Naval Criminal Investigation Services (NCIS) agents first heard reports of Mohammed al Qahtani’s interrogation on December 17, 2002, Mora relates, they “regarded such treatment as unlawful and in violation of American values.” In a meeting the following day, NCIS Director David Brant announced that N avy interrogators “would not engage in the abusive practices even if ordered.”

Mora himself went face-to-face with Defense Department General Counsel Jim Haynes, and prepared a memo concluding that many of the techniques Rumsfeld had approved violated U.S. and international laws banning torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. When Mora threatened to sign and circulate the memo unless the use of the techniques was suspended, Rumsfeld blinked, officially withdrawing his December 2, 2002 authorization.


To read more about and see documentary evidence of the Bush administration’s torture program, go to

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