More on Wolfowitz and Torture

Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 10:57 am

So it appears from the Senate Armed Services Committee report that in 2002, then-Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz was rather interested in “aggressive” interrogations at Guanantamo Bay. Wolfowitz — often described, as he is in this NPR piece in 2007, as “an intellectual heavyweight who believes passionately in democracy and human rights” — apparently was a point of contact for those who took a maximal position on interrogation the following year, when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld assembled a working group to advise him as to what interrogation techniques ought to be authorized for use at Guantanamo Bay. This is from pages 128 and 129 of the report:

As the various Working Group drafts were being discussed, JTF-GTMO  [Joint Task Force-Guantanamo] and SOUTHCOM pressed for authority to use additional interrogation techniques at GTMO. On February 12, 2003, in advance of a planned briefing by MG Miller [Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the Guantanamo task force commander] to Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz, LTC Beaver [Lt. Col. Diane Beaver, a legal adviser at Guantanamo] sent an email to the Department of Defense’s Associate Deputy General Counsel for International Affairs Eliana Davidson stating that “we must have interrogation technique approval immediately and we will speak to Mr. Wolfowitz about this. The hallmark is isolation and up to 20 hour interrogation. Without that we can’t be successful in the community environment. We need commitment from the senior leadership to let us do this mission.”

It’s unclear how Wolfowitz responded. But on April 16, 2003, in consultation with Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld approved a list of interrogation techniques that went beyond the Geneva Conventions-harmonious palette of techniques in the Army Field Manual on Interrogations, including isolation, “sleep adjustment” (“This technique is NOT sleep deprivation”), “environmental manipulation” (“Altering the environment to create moderate discomfort [e.g., adjusting temperature or introducing an unpleasant smell]…”), and dietary manipulation. Waterboarding, at least, was not permitted.

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