March 28, 2015

Jan. 15, 2003, Rumsfeld rescinds his authorization of many of the coercive methods


Defense Secretary Rumsfeld rescinded his authorization of many coercive interrogation methods as a result of the continued objection by military lawyers who questioned these abusive tactics noting that they likely would be judged as violating the Torture Convention’s prohibition against “acts of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” A persistent critic was the Navy’s General Counsel, Alberto Mora who concluded that the legal justifications for the use of torture were “seriously flawed and the use of some of the techniques would be illegal.”

“Sensing that his objections were being ignored, Mora drafted a memorandum to Haynes [General Counsel to the Defense Department] and to the legal adviser to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, stating his belief that some of the [“enhanced interrogation techniques”] constituted cruel and unusual treatment or torture and that use of the techniques would violate domestic and international law.”

“On January 15, 2003, Mora delivered a draft of the memorandum to Haynes and told him that he would sign it tat afternoon unless … use of the techniques in question would be suspended. Later that day…Secretary Rumsfeld rescinded authorization for the techniques.” (DoJ Office of Professional Responsibility Report, 2009)

However, Rumsfeld ordered Haynes to assemble a Working Group that rubber stamped Bybee-Yoo memos and those harsh methods continued to be used in interrogations.


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