August 24th, 2009
03:08 PM ET

Declassifed documents show interrogation tactics

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Interrogation or Torture?

The U.S. Justice Department released former top secret documents that outline interrogration tactics the Bush administration allowed to be used on al Qaeda operatives. Click below to learn about three of the tactics.

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Filed under: Guantanomo Bay
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. lampe

    While I understand that America doesn't want to use some of the same underhanded tactics, that other Countries use. I feel sometimes you have no other choice. And, to go back now and second guess how things were handled, is not good for our Country. I am sure many of our Presidents, had to use measures they really didn't want to,and maybe Obama will have to do the same to keep us safe? Do we start pitting Party against Party, even more than they already are? Do we go to the extreme of every time a new Party takes office, the out going Party is brought up on charges, because maybe the tactics they took don't meet everyone's approval?

    August 25, 2009 at 10:06 am |
  2. Thomas

    To all who think the CIA is doing such a bad job in protecting our nation, I ask you, have you served your nation in the Armed Forces? Have you put your life in harms way to protect the freedoms you have? If not, join up and see first hand what is truly going on at the front line. Our enemies don't play around, they don't keep prisoners around for long. They (the prisoners) slow them down, so, they just cut off their heads, and throw their bodies away. This isn't some fairy tale/game that is being played. This is for real. I guess when there is another 9/11 you will be yelling why didn't the CIA, do anything to prevent this. Then you can thank our Atty General, and all who dislike the tactics that are used to keep you free.

    August 25, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  3. ronvan

    We all need to get over the "we are the good guys". Read Allan N's comment. His comments are "right on" in the description of these "people". How does anyone think we are going to "make peace" with people that have been brainwashed from diapers to adult? I have said, and will say it again, our problem is that this country cannot keep secrets anymore! What needs to be done is for the CIA, FBI, NSA, and all the others to inform ALL working for them that to leak any information will result in immediate termination with jail time to serve! These agencies MUST have secrecy in order to be effective and protect our nation

    August 25, 2009 at 9:08 am |
  4. Steve Stout

    If the CIA techniques amount to torture, then arrest the half of Hollywood that makes horror films. Nothing the CIA has done is any worse than what is portrayed to our children in the horror films made by the liberals in Hollywood. These detainees have killed or plotted to kill American citizens. As far as I am concerned, anything short of death is an OK technique for questioning.

    August 25, 2009 at 5:43 am |
  5. James

    I don't understand why the press is putting a negative spot light on the people who are dedicated to protecting American lives.

    August 25, 2009 at 5:40 am |
  6. Dean D. Ellis Lake Worth, Florida

    Once upon a time I carried a card that read the following on the reverse side: "Identification for purposes of the Geneva Convention relative to treatment of prisoners of war of August 12 1948.” I was required to attend yearly training pertaining to this international law. I was required to carry a Code of Conduct card. When I enlisted and whenever I re-enlisted I was required to swear an oath of allegiance to follow and protect the Constitution and the laws of the United States. If I did not follow these laws, I could be fined, punished, and or imprisoned.
    Perhaps those requirements that pertained to me did not pertain to my former boss, the Commander In Chief? I love to watch those bible thumpers get on TV, put their hand on the bible, swear to uphold the law and then act with moral abandon. Like the old saying goes: “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.”
    When you decide to declare war against somebody or something, the people that you capture are prisoners of war. When you declare a “War on Terrorism”, your enemy is the terrorists. The enemy has been captured. Is there any logical argument against that point? No. Americans are trying to make a mockery of the trials following the end of WW II. All you heard was “I was just following orders” and the world howled in anger.
    Any person that violates their lawful orders may avoid prosecution but not always. There is no excuse for carrying out unlawful orders. So far only enlisted soldiers have been prosecuted during this “War on Terror”. Laws are useless unless they are enforced. The standards that apply to the Private must also apply to the top levels of command. The United States Army is run by civilians for a reason. Some of those civilians are the Secretary of the Army, Secretary of Defense, and the commander in Chief. Civilians control all the branches of the armed services, all government agencies, and civilians declare the wars and make the laws.
    Perhaps this country was actually printing “get-out-of-jail cards” when George was in office and I just didn’t know about it. It is only judicial review that provides one of two things: innocence and conviction. Only a prosecutor can provide this country with what is mandated, a truthful verdict.

    August 25, 2009 at 4:08 am |
  7. john

    It took president clinton 8 years to dismantle human intelligence. let`s all give president obama a hand. He has managed to do this in a matter of months. Why not investigate how many operatives are leaving or not willing to take that chance. For myself I will not fly , go to any large malls, or go to any large events with a good amount of people for as long as this president is in office.

    August 25, 2009 at 3:20 am |
  8. Buddy1

    Although torture is against International Conventions to which the US is a signator, it appears that the US has felt free to ignore these. National security is no excuse unless you are willing to accept tthe claims of other nations who use the same excuse. You cannot argue that their claims are any less necessary than yours. The race to the bottom will be disasterous for everyone including the US.
    I am rather shocked at James Carville's reasoning for not pursuing this issue as he is now suggesting the politicizing of the Justice Department for which he rightfully criticized George Bush. This is not a political issue but rather one of morality and justice.

    August 25, 2009 at 3:11 am |
  9. Matt

    It amazes me that so much is being said about whether we as Americans condone the use torture as an interrogation technique. We sit here in our morel outrage and arrogance and think we are such an enlightened people. But yet what most Americans do not realize is that there is torture going on right under our noses everyday here in America. Not to someone who we label as a terrorist, but to Americans themselves. How do I know? Because it has happened to me. And noone cares anything about it. But because I have been demonized by the US government and put under the authority of the Justice Department of the United States, it is perfectly tolerated by those who are screaming the loudest about how dastardly it is. You see I had the unfortunate experience of being convicted of selling Marijana and being sentenced to prison. I am such a bad and evil person and deserve the Justice we Americans think we deserve. But did I deserve to be tortured under the auspices of the American Justice Dept. . No I have not been water boarded, but I have been thrown into a concrete cell Butt Naked and repeatedly doused with a fire hose to the point on not being able to breath. Have you ever tried to sleep on concrete, chilled to the bone with nothing between you and the concrete. You sleep standing up or on your elbows and knees. Have you ever had to live in a 5 ft by 9 ft cell with three other people. I slept on the floor with a 6 in mattress under the bottom bunk. In the summer the guards would close the windows and turn on the Heater while being 100 degrees outside. In the winter the guards would open the windows and turn off the heater while being 20 degrees outside. Let me tell you that 6 inches of mattress gets ice cold after a while. I spent that whole winter the sickest I have ever been. I can go on and on and on about what I have seen under our so called Just, Justice System. But Americans do not want to hear about it. They feel comfortable in having it out of sight and out of mind justifying it because I am such a bad person selling that evil weed. So too me all this outrage about torture is nothing but political hipocrisy of people who pick and choose what Justice is. When I turn on the TV all I see is gnawing and nashing at the teeth. It is so sad that we as a people have degraded to such an extent that the Blind are leading the Blind. Noone will speak the truth because we have abandoned the Center of all things. We are doomed.

    August 25, 2009 at 2:40 am |
  10. doug

    Aren't we all losing sight of the basic question? Did we violate the Constitution and the Geneva Convention?

    I think we did; and those who did need to face the music.

    August 25, 2009 at 1:50 am |
  11. Mark from Saint Louis

    Thanks for your words Allan,
    as it turns out, it looks like Obama is our weak link right now and the world just laughs at our weakness. Our country provides aid, compassion, and support to almost every other nation and some of them crap on us for it.

    August 25, 2009 at 12:36 am |
  12. Richard

    It is of my opinion that you "are", inocent untill "proven guilty", and even then, you may still be innocent because I do not trust todays legal system to be just. Put yourself in the position of those who are being "misstreated or tortured". You may have been raised in the same religion or belief system as those who are accused of having an whish or idea of doing some terrorist act but have never acted it out or have been friends of those who may be terrorists and didn't have a clue who their friends really were. Then have your life ripped from you by being thrown in jail and tortured. That would be a living terror to me. I also see the other side of the coin. How do you find out who you are fighting against when they cower in a hidden group of religous zellots. That also hurts religous liberty for those in that religon, that do not feel the same or act in a terrorist way. The word terrorism is being propetuated and being repeated all to often to keep people on edge. Yes, we must be carefull, and also all too awake to what road we are being lead down....... sorry for any miss spelling

    August 25, 2009 at 12:08 am |
  13. Richard Randall

    These terrorists are people who would actually drill a hole in your head if they could, as was the case for several people kidnapped in Iraq. Or they might cut it off and post a video of that on the internet. So our guys are guilty of scaring them with a drill or an unloaded gun or some threats agains their families? Give me a break. Let's stop demonizing our own people whose only motive is to protect those of us who never put ourselves at risk for our country.

    August 25, 2009 at 12:02 am |
  14. Katie Sheaks

    First off, the men and woman that are considered "terrorist" are simply human beings just like you and me. They might have been a part of terrorist groups and done unspeakable things but that doesn't make it right to involve their families who have nothing to do w/their acts. For all we know their families could be dead or they might have been forced to terrorize us by those hate groups which they too probably threatened their families to get them to live in hate for us Americans. The interrogators are only fueling their hate and resent for the American govn't. I know that if some one threatened my family I would tell them anything to keep them from hurting my loved ones. Although for them they view life in a different way. So threatening them makes no difference. But it most certainly fuels the hate fire. This is proof that we are stooping to as low of a level as they are. I'm not saying they are worthy of any kindness or mercy (and don't think for a second that they will do the same for you) but what I am saying is that we can't sit here and think we are any better than they are. We can't sit there blackmailing them and think our crap don't stink. Any type of torture interrogation is only making them hate us more. In a sense, their motives are similar to ours. They do it to serve their god. You can not tell me that the American Government and it's people will stop plegding their service to God, Jesus Christ and their country, just because someone is threatening their mother and children. No. It would only make someone more devoted to their God and beliefes. If you ask me 60% of us Americans have everything twisted. Twisted in a way that we think we have the right to call them terrorists. What are we? For over a century we oppressed and slaughtered the Native American people and don't even get me started on the African American society. We at one time were called terrorists. We at one time ripped families apart and threatened our own people with death. So as we sit here opinonating everything that we choose to see, we need to create a solution not more hate and terror. Because that is what the CIA is showing, terror. Terror disguised as blackmail. The American Government needs some damn good reform because if we ever want to get our country back to the way it was and have any hope for our own children, we need to show them that the American people are here to help. And religion aside (which religion has NO place in the government ) we need to show them that we love them anyway. I know, easier said than done, but you could say that about alomst everything in this world today but it doesn't hurt to try. What is important is life itself and if we are killing eachother over money and power than we all deserve to die.

    August 25, 2009 at 12:00 am |
  15. Mr. "B"

    We need to pull there (JIHAD ) damn finger nails out if that is what it takes to get them to talk.. Strip there skin off if needbe.......

    August 24, 2009 at 11:49 pm |
  16. Wes Snypes -- TOLEDO

    It really doesn't matter if the US investigates or brings charges since a number of the events clearly violate various UN Protocols agreed to by Congress, as has been acknowledged, so the perpetrators can & should be brought up before a UN War Crimes Tribunal.

    August 24, 2009 at 11:42 pm |
  17. Westley

    It seams to me that the administration in power now is sending out a message to all terrorist that there is nothing to worry about.
    If they are picked up by the US, it will be a walk through the park with all the rights
    that all Americans enjoy given to them first thing. I thought this was a war, well that’s
    what the terrorist believe, I don’t know what this administration believes anymore.

    August 24, 2009 at 11:11 pm |
  18. efrain

    I can't believe that there are so many mindless idealistic morons who believe that treating terrorist with compassion is going to solve the worlds problems. Look at the history of all brainwash muslims and see if you think that will help keep your ass safe, You are truly dillusional. Islam forces muslim to think, believe and act the way they think you should act. No other religion today forces people to do what they believe except islam. Tyrant, dictators and islam all brainwash their people to be sheeps and not think for themselves. The terrorist butchers and murderers in this world don't give a damn about compassion. All interrogation techniques should be used, and we should reward all agents instead of critisizing them. Call me sane, but I believe we should execute all,I repeat All terrorist. Remove their heads just as they would saw yours off.

    August 24, 2009 at 11:08 pm |
  19. Dietmar

    torture is barbaric....plain and simple! to justify it, to any extent, is absurd. to say that certain methods can be utilized in certain situations undermines a set of priciples that this country, lets face it, was founded on. kings used to have their own torture chambers that defy rationality; for the u.s.a. to now play the "king" is abhorant. a terrorist is a terrorist, is a terrorist, no denying that but let us not "terrorize"(torture) in the name of justice! such logic is doomed to failure!

    August 24, 2009 at 10:55 pm |
  20. KIm

    It says top secret and don't open it ! Move on ! There were no crimes and it's already been investigated and so why open it again ? Could this be viewed a breach of security with the CIA to re-open ? Protect and defend kicked in and the end. 911 never happens again ! They're opening top serect documents,go find Hillary Clinton !

    August 24, 2009 at 10:52 pm |
  21. Joe Fattal

    The CIA usualy interrogate their prisoners not questioning them. When you interrogate someone you try to get some information out of him that he probably will not tell you that easy. So you need means and sometimes tools to get the information from him. And if we are going around and investigate every CIA operative on how they get their information, we will not have anyone left to do the job.

    August 24, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  22. Benjamin, Houston TX

    It is an irrefutable fact that these guys terrorized and killed thousands of innocent people. They did so under their perverted understanding of Jihad. Their cohorts are continuing to murder innocent people so often and as rapidly as they can. This is a rare instance when the end miserably justifies the means.

    By the way, is this the entire interrogation picture, or is physical and/or psychological abuse only part of a "detainee's" entire interrogation. If torture is performed repeatedly, then it too will soon lose its effectiveness.

    August 24, 2009 at 10:43 pm |
  23. John

    This is the stupidest thing i have ever heard. They SAID they will do bad things so they commited crimes?

    Little american "gansta" wannabes threaten people on american street corners on a daily basis and get away with it. Now you have the men and women protecting america say a few bad things and they should be prosecuted? If they are prosecuted i never want the police to use the phrase "its just words" when they are called.

    This is the stupidest news tory i have ever heard.

    August 24, 2009 at 10:37 pm |
  24. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Let's see 3000 dead Americans on 9/11 vs. maybe a few hundred made to feel uncomfortable for no more than a few hours at most. Personally I'd go along with a lot more to prevent another 9/11. These 'people' aren't POWs, they are terrorists. As such they aren't covered by the Geneva Convention. In this case the end does justify the menas. Waterboard away.

    August 24, 2009 at 9:41 pm |
  25. Allan Ngumuya

    It is my concern and my unhappiness how you Americans handle your politics in the name of democracy. On national security, I have heard many times on CNN TV today that your attorney general (Eric Holder) would make a decision on investigating how the Bush administration interrogate terrorists suspects at GITMO to get important information. One thing you have to know is that you are just bringing more division and unsafe way of governing this country especially on keeping American safe. If you think USA can treat these suspect like your HONEY MOON friends, you are going to mourn again more than the way you mourned after on 9-11. These are the guys whom you need to do what ever it takes for them to reveal what’s on the cooking, do you want to give them ice cream and honey thinking they will tell you anything? Nooo, These guys have no compassionate; since they were born they have been and still taught that if they die in JIHAD they will go to heaven and will be given seven virgins to marry, mind you this is in their blood and they believe it so bad, they are very patriotic to it just like the way Americans believe on freedom of everything (democracy), to them it is their pledge of allegiance they say it five times a day, they don’t have any value of life, they look at westerners especially Americans as sinners, you will be shocked if you take these terrorists for granted. They are not yet done with Americans, and you have started giving them a chance to practice their rights in your own back yard (country) that you have built for many years? I feel very pathetic with some of decisions in the name of free country. Please Mr. president don’t start investigating what has made America to be safe up to this date otherwise it will haunt you for the rest of your life when something happens sooner or later. It is my believe that if that can be investigated, some of CIA be disciplined, 99.9999% of CIA will be afraid of working for you Mr. president and it will backfire, it will be too late to realize that it was a grave mistake.
    Take example of Britain they don’t really give the terrorist a chance and they don’t play politics together with terrorism, these are two different ideologies. What they want is what is happening and mind you, they are watching your weaknesses each and every day, once they find any loophole even if its going to be a one Second, they will act and kill people more than 9-11. Please could you stop talking about how they are supposed to be interrogated or treated? These people don’t deserve any VIP treatment, they are evil at its best, when they want to kill they don’t care whether there are children, elders, fathers, or mothers etc. They just kill in the name of JIHAD they need the same treatment they give. Don’t feel for them it is just a waste of time, they deserve to be tortured believe me, to them it does not mean anything remember they embrace death, it does not matter how they die.

    Allan Ngumuya

    August 24, 2009 at 8:30 pm |
  26. Julie

    It hasn't been established that torture actually yields credible intelligence data. Under duress, people will say anything, even confessing to crimes they have not committed, just to get the torture to stop.

    Using torture as an interrogation method is morally wrong and is the result of incompetence in intelligence gathering that has gone so badly that the situation is now critical.

    Annie Kate, I sincerely hope you are never mistaken as an Enemy of the State. Under your logic, they could do anything to you in the name of "national security".

    August 24, 2009 at 8:30 pm |
  27. Annie Kate

    I hate that we use these techniques to question the prisoners but I also hate what the prisoners and their organizations do to Americans – innocent people whose only mistake was showing up to work that day. I do think though that the CIA has done a lot in safeguarding this country and that if we were to know the extent of it we might be surprised and appreciative. I'm not for getting rid of the CIA – I don't think it is evil – its just the times are evil.

    August 24, 2009 at 7:58 pm |
  28. Ren

    This is a smoke screen to deviate focus from the budget deficit and healthcare issues.
    So why is the media buying this. The main stream media has ignored too many important issues. Can you say bias?
    Let's get back to the additional 2 Trillion Deficit and the Healtcare debate.
    So what if the interogators said they are going to kill the terrorist's children. Words don't kill. And obviously those interogators did not intend to follow through on that.
    I have no compassion for people that intend to harm inocent people.

    August 24, 2009 at 7:51 pm |
  29. Allen

    Do what ever it takes to americans and are troops safe around the world. I dont think they would have killed his kids and raped his wife in front of him.Please dont forget (911) and how many people lost there lives that day. I think the Obamas and there followers are a bunch of girly men. It is no time to get soft on terror,its time for americans to speakout and be heard by there government.

    August 24, 2009 at 7:34 pm |
  30. Daniel

    Absolutely agree with Heather. I received worse treatment during OCS in the US Army. And while I disagree with much that the Bush administration did, there were no further Islamic terrorist attacks on US soil. Let's hope that Obama with all of his bowing and kowtowing to Muslims has a similar record.

    August 24, 2009 at 7:03 pm |
  31. Sandy McIntyre

    So what's the problem here? Power to the Bauer!!

    August 24, 2009 at 6:59 pm |
  32. Mark from Saint Louis

    Well stated Heather.

    The CIA needs some latitude in order to get the info they need to help save American lives and maybe your life too. You know that what they do is a lot less abusive than what our enemies would do to us. Shame on those who think America's the bad guy all the time. Go live somewhere else if you don't like what America gives you.

    August 24, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  33. Susan Desgrousilliers

    One of the people who received water-boarding also bragged about what other attacks were being carried out against Americans on American soil, and also about cutting the head off an American reporter who was captured. The waterboarding exposed a plot to bomb the tallest building in L.A. The only people I feel sorry for is the familities of those people who have been killed by these terrorist. They do not deserve any sympathy, or consideration. I could care less if they were hooked up to a Die-Hard battery if it saved one American life. Why don't you people who are crying about the treatment of these terrorist read the Koran, the only thing these people care about is killing American's, they believe the more Americans they kill the greater their rewards will be in the after life.

    August 24, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  34. Heather,ca

    I don't understand why there is any concern over these monsters who attacked America. They are terrorists. They terrorize us. They don't follow any law and laugh at us. These men who did the dirty work for justice are heroes.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  35. Jim McClurg

    I guess most folks who care are too young to remember World War II, Korea or Nam. I think most would agree that far worse things were done to get information than was done at Gitmo.

    Should we go back and prosecute the Generals, Presidents, and Congress people who were aware, and most were.

    August 24, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  36. MANUEL

    They will PAY

    August 24, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  37. Julie

    It's just been released that the CIA allegedly told one interrogation subject that his children would be killed if there was another attack on the USA. A second person being interrogated was threatened with the prospect of his mother being sexually assaulted in front of him.

    It's time to dismantle the CIA and start over. Some things are just too evil to fix.

    August 24, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  38. Peg Kinnally

    I traveled to Spain with 7 family members recently. We took a side trip to Morocco via ferry. The tour company had hundreds of people on buses loaded onto the ferry. We were told we did not need our passports, that the little yellow sticker we were given would be our "passport". Morocco has imigration laws, on my last visit before 9/11 I was required to provide my passport. American Citizens as well as other foreign nationals can sign up for these side trips and enter and exit this Muslim country without any knowledge of the American Government, as no passport is required and surely not stamped. I felt this was a breech of our security. I contacted Homeland Security, who passed me off to State Department who passed me off to Passport issuance who sent me to back to Homeland Security. Not one person expressed concern or asked for any details, i.e. where did we leave from, enter and return. Anyone can sign up for the tours to Morocco. I We went to Gibralter, they wanted a passport). Money for the tour companies it seems is more important than secuity for America. Our own Homeland Security, who is responsible for not only our local borders but situatiions abroad that impact our homeland borders, i.e citizens or foreign nationals visiting extremist countries without the knowledge of the U.S. Government, doesn't care. Is it because there really is no threat to us and it's all hype! Help me out here.

    August 24, 2009 at 3:47 pm |