A few months ago I pointed to declassified references in the 2005 Office of Legal Counsel torture opinions to guidelines issued by former CIA Director George Tenet in January 2003 for the application of torture techniques. It turns out, according to the 2004 CIA inspector general’s report, that Tenet issued guidelines for both the “enhanced interrogation techniques” — waterboarding, walling, the “facial slap,” etc. — and also for “standard interrogation techniques” that “do not incorporate significant physical or psychological pressure.” Straightforward enough distinction, right? Perhaps, but look what it meant in practice:
These techniques include, but are not limited to, all lawful forms of questioning employed by U.S. law enforcement and military interrogation personnel. Among standard interrogation techniques are the use of isolation, sleep deprivation not to exceed 72 hours [reduced in December 2003 to 48 hours' maximum], reduced caloric intake (so long as the amount is calculated to maintain the general health of the detainee), deprivation of reading material, use of loud music or white noise (at a decibel level calculated to avoid damage to the detainee’s hearing), the use of diapers for limited periods (generally not to exceed 72 hours), [REDACTED] at moderate psychological pressure. The DCI [Director of Central Intelligence] Interrogation Guidelines do not specifically prohibit improvised actions. A CTC/Legal officer has said, however, that no one may employ any technique outside specifically identified standard techniques without Headquarters approval.
Before then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld began the process of expanding the definitions of what military interrogation personnel were allowed to do in November 2002 and culminating in April 2003 — a process significantly based, in chicken-and-egg fashion, on what the CIA was already doing to detainees — none of these listed techniques would have been acceptable for U.S. military interrogators. And FBI interrogators (like Ali Soufan) objected to similar treatment of detainees witnessed in 2003 at Guantanamo Bay. It’s unclear what basis Tenet had for thinking that keeping someone in a diaper for up to three days was acceptable for non-CIA interrogators. But it’s also an example of how torture, once adopted, spreads — and becomes normative. Remember, these techniques aren’t even “enhanced” ones.
Rep. Paul Ryan to deliver SOTU response
Chairman of the House Budget Committee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union Tuesday, according to Mike Allen
Rep. Parker Griffith (R-Ala.)
One of the most conservative Democrats in the House -- a freshman who said he couldn’t support Nancy Pelosi again -- is going to switch over to the GOP. Josh
Rep. Paulsen allies with medical device industry to relax FDA oversight
Source: Flickr; Republicanconference (www.flickr.com/photos/republicanconference) On the heels of the Minnesota Independent story last week about U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen’s cozy financial relationship with the medical device industry, the New York Times reported Tuesday that some health professionals are alarmed by Paulsen’s push to relax Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight
Rep. Patrick McHenry: Please, Conservatives, Fill Out Your Census Forms!
The conservative congressman from North Carolina, a constant critic of the census -- one of the people who sounded the alarm about politicization when the
Rep. Paulsen touts balanced budget constitutional amendment
In a post for the conservative blog True North , U.S. Rep
Rep. Perlmutter criticizes House measure that would eliminate 800K federal jobs
Congressman Ed Perlmutter today issued a scathing statement criticizing the House of Representatives for passing a spending bill that could put nearly a million federal employees out of work. The Colorado delegation voted strictly on party lines, with all four Republicans voting in favor of the bill and the three Democrats voting in opposition. Perlmutter’s statement: “My number one priority is to get people back to work because that’s the best thing we can do to pay our debt and move forward toward economic stability
Rep. Peace, ACLU seek investigation of soldier’s allegations of racial discrimination in Afghanistan
Both Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) and the American Civil Liberties Union agree: There needs to be an investigation into Spc.
Rep. Paulsen, Karl Rove the latest to get ‘glittered’
Rep. Erik Paulsen and former Bush staffer Karl Rove were both showered with glitter at the Midwest Leadership Conference Friday
Rep. Pete Hoekstra Surging in Michigan Gubernatorial Bid
The ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee -- you couldn’t flip on a TV without seeing him in the aftermath of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s botched
School of Hock
A growing number of college grads are defaulting on their student loans as the economy worsens.