Newly released U.S. interrogation memos reveal harsh techniques
approved by the Bush administration for use by the Central Intelligence
Agency against terror suspects.
Four Bush-era memos, released by
the Justice Department Thursday, outline methods such as using a
plastic neck collar to repeatedly slam a prisoner into a wall,
confining a suspect in a box with insects, keeping detainees naked, and
standing in painful positions. The memos also approve slapping, sleep
deprivation, and waterboarding - a technique that simulates drowning.
a statement, U.S. President Barack Obama said his administration will
not prosecute agents who carried out the harsh interrogations, but he
left open the possibility of prosecuting anyone who acted without legal
Michael Hayden, who led the CIA under
then-President George W. Bush, blasted the release, saying foreign
governments will think the CIA "can't keep a secret" and are now less
likely to cooperate with the United States.
Current CIA director
Leon Panetta released a statement Thursday, saying there are new
policies in place, but he strongly opposes efforts to prosecute those
who were carrying out interrogation practices that had been approved at
The director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair,
said it is important to remember that the CIA was struggling to obtain
critical information from captured al-Qaida leaders after the September
11, 2001 terrorist attacks. In a statement, he said those techniques
will not be used in the future.
The memos were released Thursday
to meet a federal court deadline in response to a lawsuit by the
American Civil Liberties Union.
An ACLU spokesman, Alex Abdo, praised the Obama administration for releasing the memos but said transparency is not enough.
rights group Amnesty International welcomed the documents' release but
criticized the government's decision to not hold accountable those
responsible for committing "acts of torture."
Some information for this report was provided by AP.