Terror Memos Released

The Obama Administration on Thursday followed through on a much debated pledge to release details about the interrogation techniques used on high value detainees in the War on Terror.

Basically, the memos gave the okay to CIA interrogators to utilize a series of different techniques - some of them controversial - like waterboarding.

"These ten techniques are: (1) attention grasp, (2) walling, (3) facial hold, (4) facial slap (insult slap), (5) cramped confinement, (6) wall standing, (7) stress positions, (8) sleep deprivation, (9) insects placed in a confinement box, and (10) the waterboard," read one memo.

"Because you have conducted the due diligence to determine that these procedures, either alone or in combination, do not produce prolonged mental harm, we believe that you do not meet the specific intent requirement" to classify these as violating laws against torture, the memo summed up.

You can read this memo at

Some of the more interesting details are about (8) and (9) on sleep deprivation and the use of insects.

Evidently, insects were a big deal for detainee Abu Zubaydah - and evidently - this is the first time it had been revealed that CIA interrogators used insects as an interrogation tool.

"You would like to place Zubaydah in a cramped confinement box with an insect," read the so-called Bybee memo that okayed such a procedure.

"You have informed us that he appears to have a fear of insects. In particular, you would like to tell Zubaydah that you intend to place a stinging insect into the box with him. You would, however, place a harmless insect in the box. You have orally informed us that you would in fact place a harmless insect such as a caterpiller in the box with him."

As for sleep deprivation and Zubaydah, just think of the number eleven, as in eleven days. That's how long it was okay to keep him awake.

"You have orally informed us that you would not deprive Zubaydah of sleep for more than eleven days at a time and that you have previously kept him awake for 72 hours, from which no mental or physical harm resulted," the memo stated.

That's a pretty good review to get you started. If you want to read more there is a lot more out there to review.

You can see all the documents at http://www.aclu.org/safefree/general/olc_memos.html

Somehow I have the feeling that those who think the Bush Administration went too far in their treatment of detainees will be outraged by the details, and those who think almost anything goes to protect the nation will be outraged that the details were made public.

Sound about right?

One interesting note is that some liberals are upset with the White House, not about releasing the memos, but about refusing to prosecute CIA officers who used some of these techniques.

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