With statements such as “if the detainee dies, you’re doing it wrong” guiding our government’s thinking during the formation and implementation of interrogation techniques, it’s no wonder Carl Levin and others were outraged in the Senate on Tuesday.

According to the Armed Services Committee chairman, “The truth is that senior officials in the United States government sought information on aggressive techniques, twisted the law to create the appearance of their legality and authorized their use against detainees.”


The committee also released details from previously classified minutes of a meeting in October 2002 in which a top military lawyer at Guantanamo said previously banned techniques such as sleep deprivation were being used secretly.

“Officially it is not happening,” Lt Col Diane Beaver told the meeting, adding that commanders feared the Red Cross might find out.

John Fredman, then chief counsel to the CIA’s counter-terrorism centre, argued during the meeting that torture “is basically subject to perception”.

“If the detainee dies, you’re doing it wrong,” he said.

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