Secret White House memo endorsed waterboarding

A paper trail on the use of waterboarding and other controversial interrogation techniques by the CIA is emerging in the US

The Bush administration sent two secret memos endorsing the use of waterboarding against al-Qaida suspects, according to today’s Washington Post. They were prompted by worries within the CIA that the administration might later distance itself from the way suspects were interrogated, the paper reports.

Officials told the paper that the then CIA director George Tenet asked for written approval for secret interrogations, in June 2003. A few days later he got a “brief memo conveying the administration’s approval for the CIA’s interrogation methods”.

A similar memo was requested and sent in 2004 after the CIA got worried about the public outcry over the mistreatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

The existence of the memos suggest a different version of events from the one put forward by Condoleezza Rice. Last month she confirmed the administration knew about “certain physical and psychological interrogation techniques” but questioned their legality.

Will the Bush administration ever be held to account?

Posted by Matthew Weaver Wednesday October 15 2008 12.38 BST

Source: The Guardian

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