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Legal Debate Over U.S. Interrogation Policies

On The Treatment of Enemy Combatants and Detainees
During Interrogation While In Custody Of
U.S. Military Forces and Civilian Contractors


Note: Unless noted otherwise, all documents were released on June 22, 2004

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Memo from Asst. U.S. Attorney General Bybee to White House Counsel
and Dept. of Defense General Counsel (Jan. 22, 2002) [PDF]

  • Subject: Application of Treaties and Laws to al Qaeda and Taliban Detainees
Related Links
  • Geneva Conventions & Protocols
  • U.S. Dept. Of Justice
  • The White House Counsel
  • Military Lawyers
  • The Taguba Report
  • Special: The War On Terror
  • Letter from U.S. Attorney General Ashcroft's to President Bush (Feb. 1, 2002) [HTML]

    • Subject: Taliban status under Geneva Convention

    Memo from Asst. U.S. Attorney General Bybee to White House Counsel (Feb. 7, 2002) [HTML]

    • Subject: Taliban status under Geneva Convention

    Memo from Asst. U.S. Attorney General Bybee
    to U.S. Dept. of Defense General Counsel Haynes (Feb. 26, 2002) [PDF]

    • Subject: Potential legal constraints on certain interrogation methods

    Memo from the Dept. of Justice to White House Counsel (August 1, 2002) [PDF]

    • Subject: Standards of Conduct for Interrogation

    Letter from Asst. U.S. Attorney General Bybee to White House Counsel (Aug. 1, 2002) [HTML]

    • Subject: Interrogation and Torture
    U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
    Memoranda and correspondence among U.S. Department of Defense officials on interrogation procedures, legal analyses, and orders concerning detainees and prisoners of war.

    Memo from Sec'y of Defense Rumsfeld (Jan. 19, 2002) [HTML]

    • Sec'y of Defense Rumsfeld tells the Joint Chiefs of Staff that al Qaeda and Taliban suspects are not entitled to prisoner of war status under the Geneva Conventions

    Message from Chairman Chief of Staff (Jan. 22, 2002) [PDF]

    • Message from Chairman, Joint Chief of Staff to the Unified Commands and Services, informing them that al Qaeda and Taliban detainees are not entitled to prisoner of war status

    Memo to the Commander of Joint Task Force 170 (October 11, 2002) [PDF]

    • From Major General Michael Dunlavey. Includes legal recommendations from a DoD lawyer, Staff Judge Advocate, LTC Diane E. Beaver, that interrogating detainees using certain strategies (e.g., 20 hour interrogations, forced shaving, use of stress-induced phobias like fear of dogs, telling detainee that he or his family are in imminent danger of “fac[ing] death or severely painful consequences”), “do not violate applicable federal law.” but “that interrogations involving Category II and III methods undergo a legal review prior to their commencement.”

    Memo from U.S. Army Commander James T. Hill (Oct. 25, 2002) [HTML]

    • Gen. Hill expresses frustration to the Joint Chiefs of Staff that "some detainees have tenaciously resisted our current interrogation methods," but also remains unclear about the legal status of certain interrogation techniques. He is "particularly troubled by the use of implied or expressed threats of death of the detainee or his family."

    Memo from Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld approving counter resistance techniques (December 2, 2002) [PDF]

    • Rumsfeld suggests that detainees might be forced to stand for 8 – 10 hours a day, and asks “Why is standing limited to 4 hours?”

    Memo from Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld’s to Commander, SOUTHCOM rescinding certain counter resistance techniques (January 15, 2003) [PDF]

    • Rumsfeld rescinds all Category II interrogation techniques that he approved in his Dec. 2, 2002 memo, and one Category III technique. Requests for using such interrogation methods must be forwarded directly to Rumsfeld, along with a “thorough justification” and "a detailed plan for the use of such techniques.”

    Memo from Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld’s to General Counsel, U.S. Dept. of Defense (January 15, 2003) [PDF]

    • Rumsfeld asks the Pentagon's top lawyer to form "a working group" in order "to asses the legal, policy, and operational issues relating to the interrogations of detainees held by the U.S. Armed forces in the war on terrorism.


    Sources: U.S. Dept. of Justice and Dept. of Defense

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