“If The Detainee Dies, You’re Doing It Wrong”
Levin just laid out a timeline for how we got from Geneva-compliant interrogations pre-9/11 to the torture of Guatnanamo Bay. A key step came in early October 2002, when a lawyer for the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center, Jonathan Fredman, visited Guantanamo to discuss "aggressive" techniques for interrogation. Fredman explained "the wet towel technique," according to unclassified minutes of his meeting with senior Guantanamo commanders — also known as waterboarding.
Discussing what the law permitted when it comes to interrogation, Levin, quoting from the minutes, Fredman said: "It is basically subject to perception. If the detainee dies, you’re doing it wrong."
The response, from Guantanamo chief of staff, Lt. Col. Diane Beaver: "We’ll need documentation to protect us."
By early 2003, following a working group at the Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld provided exactly that. Cry the beloved country.