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Yoo-Bybee II: (Sort of) Revealed! « The Washington Independent

It’s a landmark day for torture-disclosure. Today, the ACLU obtained and released a redacted version of one of the most important building blocks in the Bush administration’s architecture of torture — the very, very, closely-held August 2002 memo, known as “Yoo-Bybee II,” from the Justice Dept.’s Office of Legal Counsel that authorized the CIA to perform specific methods of torture when interrogating Al Qaeda detainees. Almost the entire memo is redacted, but it reads a lot like legal guidance on how CIA interrogators can break anti-torture laws and get away with it.

“To validate the statute, an individual must have the specific intent to inflict severe pain or suffering,” the memo reads. “Because specific intent is an element of the offense, the absence of specific intent negates the charge of torture.” Wow. So if you didn’t mean specifically just to knock the crap out of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, no law can stop you if such an unfortunate knocking occurs.

Unsurprisingly, CIA asked in 2003 and 2004 for further guidance to ensure their operatives wouldn’t get stuck holding the bag, and those were declassified those as well. More soon.

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