CIA gave waterboarders $5M legal shield

The Associated Press reports:

The CIA agreed to cover at least $5 million in legal fees for two contractors who were the architects of the agency’s interrogation program and personally conducted dozens of waterboarding sessions on terror detainees, former U.S. officials said.

The secret agreement means taxpayers are paying to defend the men in a federal investigation over an interrogation tactic the U.S. now says is torture. The deal is even more generous than the protections the agency typically provides its own officers, giving the two men access to more money to finance their defense.

It has long been known that psychologists Jim Mitchell and Bruce Jessen created the CIA’s interrogation program. But former U.S. intelligence officials said Mitchell and Jessen also repeatedly subjected terror suspects inside CIA-run secret prisons to waterboarding, a simulated drowning tactic.

The revelation of the contractors’ involvement is the first known confirmation of any individuals who conducted waterboarding at the so-called black sites, underscoring just how much the agency relied on outside help in its most sensitive interrogations.

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3 thoughts on “CIA gave waterboarders $5M legal shield

  1. lareineblanche

    Wow, good work.

    “It has long been known that psychologists Jim Mitchell and Bruce Jessen created the CIA’s interrogation program.”
    This is somewhat misleading, as it implies that the CIA and US Armed forces began using torture techniques only in 2001. We know this isn’t true, though.
    You can download the KUBARK manual here :
    http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB122/
    “The Archive also posted a secret 1992 report written for then Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney warning that U.S. Army intelligence manuals that incorporated the earlier work of the CIA for training Latin American military officers in interrogation and counterintelligence techniques contained “offensive and objectionable material” that “undermines U.S. credibility, and could result in significant embarrassment.” ”

    Prof. Alfred McCoy also speaks of this in his book “A Question of Torture”.

    Also, from the WL archive downloaded from their site (containing torrents), is an article by David H. Price :
    “Buying a piece of anthropology
    Part Two: The CIA and our tortured past”
    “MK-Ultra funds encouraged scholars to contribute to their study of brainwashing and coercive interrogation, supposedly benefiting military and intelligence branches by helping them to train spies and troops to better resist interrogation techniques. Later, this research was secretly used in the production of the Kubark manual, which became less a guide to resisting interrogation than an interrogation manual to be used against enemies – with some forms of coercion that violated the Geneva Convention.”

    [MK-Ultra
    “Headed by Dr Sidney Gottlieb, the CIA’s MK-Ultra project was set up in the early 1950s largely in response to alleged Soviet, Chinese and North Korean use of mind control techniques on US
    prisoners of war in Korea. The project involved covert research at an estimated 30 universities and institutions in an extensive programme of experimentation that included chemical, biological
    and radiological tests, often on unwitting citizens.
    It was not until the 1970s that this programme was exposed, but by that time many scholars from a wide range of disciplines had been implicated.]

    We could go on and on…

    The difference here is that the Bush administration tried to cloak it an apparent “rule of law” (Bybee, Yoo, etc.) in order to give it some respectability. This poses several problems, one being that it poses a false dichotomy between “legal/illegal” activities : it creates the illusion that they were concerned about the rule of law, Geneva Convention, etc., while continuing the same programs. So, all one has to do to justify such activities is to label them as “legal”…
    The other problem it poses is to concentrate public debate on the activities of the Bush administration, thereby taking attention away from the fact that it has long been a policy of the USG to use coercive and sensory-deprivation techniques against its enemies.
    In short, it creates the illusion that the USG is concerned about the rule of law, which it clearly is not, or is only when it suits its purposes.

  2. lareineblanche

    Sorry, here’s a link for the Price article on the CIA and KUBARK :

    homepages.stmartin.edu/fac_staff/dprice/Price-AT-HEF2.pdf

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