Ah, good intentions, with which that famous path was paved: According to Justice Department documents obtained and released by the ACLU on Thursday—albeit heavily redacted—CIA interrogators were authorized to use waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” that they believed “in good faith” would not “have the specific intent to inflict severe pain or suffering.”
The interrogator’s “good faith” and “honest belief” that the interrogation will not cause such suffering protects the interrogator, the memo adds.
“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.”