DOJ Set to Release More Torture Memos
By Srinivas Rao | March 21, 2022 11:54 pm

The Department of Justice will declassify three potentially embarrassing memos written by the Bush Administration’s Office of Legal Counsel that detailed enhanced interrogation techniques used against “high-value” detainees, Newsweek is reporting.

The memos are believed to be a series of 2005 internal decrees issued by then OLC head Steven Bradbury, listing various techniques the Central Intelligence Agency was allowed to use in its interrogation of terrorism suspects, including water-boarding, head-slapping, and temperature manipulation. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, one memo, reportedly entitled “Authorized Interrogation Techniques,” allegedly argues that no interrogation technique used by the CIA, past or present, violates prohibitions against “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.”

The Administration has moved to declassify many of the controversial memos that formed the basis of the Bush Administration’s interrogation regime employed in the wake of the September 11th attacks, releasing nine memos earlier this month that provided legal support for extraordinary rendition and extrajudicial search and seizure. Speaking with Newsweek, Attorney General Eric Holder said he had concluded that there was no longer any reason to keep these memos classified in light of the January 22nd executive order banning the use of torture.

News of this recent round of declassifications comes on the heels of a classified 2007 Red Cross Report obtained by The New York Review of Books, which argues American treatment of suspected terrorists “constituted torture.” The memos may have been released to rebut allegations of mistreatment in the Red Cross report, in which prisoners describe being locked in confined spaces, physically abused, and deprived of solid food for days on end.

The memos are being released in accordance with a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the ACLU to obtain more than 50 controversial documents from the Bush Administration’s Department of Justice. It is as of now unclear as to when the three memos will be declassified and released in full to the public.

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