Daniel Levin’s Last Minute “Combined” Memo

By: Tuesday April 13, 2010 3:07 pm

I’ve been looking through some old FOIA documents and noticed an interesting email exchange turned over in one of last August’s document dumps (PDF 21-22). It’s an email chain between a CTC lawyer (whose name we don’t know) and John Rizzo and others regarding a draft of the Combined OLC Memo. I’ve reversed the order [...]

Daniel Levin Tells Jim Haynes, Again, Not to Torture

By: Sunday April 11, 2010 12:38 pm

We’ve long known that in February 2005, then-acting head of OLC Daniel Levin contacted DOD General Counsel to remind him that the March 14, 2003 Yoo memo on torture had been withdrawn. But I, for one, had never seen a copy of that letter. It turns out the government included it with their Appeals brief [...]

DOD’s Empty Vessel for Torture Authorization

By: Sunday March 21, 2010 1:24 pm

When I asked whether DOD had any authorization for torture after 2004, Jeff Kaye reminded me we just recently saw one new aspect of authorization: an April 2006 Steven Bradbury Opinion authorizing Appendix M of the new version of the Army Field Manual released on September 6, 2006. (As Jeff and Matthew Alexander have shown, [...]

Did DOD Have ANY Authorization for Torture after 2004?

By: Saturday March 20, 2010 4:04 pm

There are a couple of things that have been bugging me about the authorizations DOD got for interrogations.  It’s not clear what kind of authorization DOD used to justify detainee interrogations after the Yoo memo was withdrawn in 2003-2004–they had no overall interrogation approval from OLC. While it’s possible they were just relying on already-existing [...]

The Waterboarding Smoking Gun, Again

By: Tuesday March 9, 2010 11:26 am

Since Mark Benjamin has decided to claim–some 300-plus days after I did the first of many posts focusing on the details of waterboarding (to say nothing of posts drational did looking at these descriptions medically)–that, “the agency’s “enhanced interrogation program” haven’t been mined for waterboarding details until now,” I thought I’d make another point about [...]

The DOD Techniques from Spring 2004

By: Tuesday March 9, 2010 7:07 am

Yesterday when I raised the question of what techniques DOD wanted to use in spring 2004, I said there was some ambiguity about what DOD was trying to get approved. In this post I’m going to lay out the conflicting sources of information. Given the totality of information, though, it appears that what DOD asked [...]

Days after Taguba Reported Sadistic Criminal Abuse at Abu Ghraib, DOD Asked to Use More Torture

By: Monday March 8, 2010 5:39 am

On March 13, 2004, according to the OPR Report, Jack Goldsmith and Patrick Philbin went to Jim Comey’s house on a Saturday to alert him of something. The military had contacted Goldsmith, wanting to use a more extreme form of torture against a detainee–something like isolation, waterboarding, water dousing, or death threats.* [Update: In this [...]

Boxes and Burials in the CIA’s Torture Plans

By: Wednesday March 3, 2010 8:10 am

In this post, I’m going to test a hypothesis that OLC may not have included “cramped confinement” in its torture plans until it removed “mock burial.” If I’m right, it means after having been told OLC would not approve mock burial, OLC and CIA instead just renamed what they were doing as “cramped confinement” so [...]

Did DOJ “Lose” the Smoking Gun Torture Document?

By: Monday March 1, 2010 11:47 am

You know what I find surprisingly absent from the OPR Report? Any discussion of how–just days after potentially receiving a document making clear that SERE techniques were torture and that torture was not effective–John Yoo still authorized the use of torture in US interrogations. Here are the last two paragraphs of that document: (U) Another [...]

Mohammed al-Qahtani and Yoo’s Attempt to Ignore Torture Statute

By: Friday February 26, 2010 10:12 am

Update: The Nation’s Chris Hayes and I had a chat about the OPR report here. The OPR Report [searchable PDF here] notes–but does not call much attention to–a Goldsmith footnote on a draft of his attempt to replace the March 2003 Yoo Memo that had authorized torture for us in DOD. In a footnote designed [...]

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