Apparently it’s not actually torture unless the one doing the interrogation intends to cause severe pain or suffering. And if it “accidentally” happens over the course of months or years, well…you can’t make an omelet…
So how do I know this? Well, the ACLU requested the following memos under the Freedom of Information Act and pieces of them were released.
“Because specific intent is an element of the offense, the absence of specific intent negates the charge of torture,” Jay Bybee, then the assistant attorney general, wrote in the memo.
The 18-page memo is heavily redacted, with 10 of its 18 pages completely blacked out and only a few paragraphs legible on the others.
Another memo released Thursday advises that “the waterboard,” or simulated drowning, does “not violate the Torture Statute.”
It also cites a number of warnings against torture, including statements by President Bush and a then-new Supreme Court ruling “which raises possible concerns about future U.S. judicial review of the [interrogation] Program.”
A third memo instructs interrogators to keep records of sessions in which “enhanced interrogation techniques” are used. The memo is signed by then-CIA director George Tenet and dated January 28, 2003.
So when Bush was saying “we do not torture”, I guess what he was really saying was “we do not intend to inflict severe pain or suffering.”
How did they think they’d get away with this?