Captain's Quarters Blog

« Have They Gone Mad? | Main | A Young Protestor's Story »

June 22, 2004
Memos: Rumsfeld Disapproved "Waterboarding", Other Coercive Techniques

CNN reports that internal memos about to be released by the Pentagon regarding interrogation methods will show that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld specifically denied approval to such techniques as "waterboarding" and other strongly coercive physical measures, and in fact only approved light, noninjurious physical contact:

The White House and Pentagon are expected to release a series of memos Tuesday related to U.S. military policy on prisoner interrogation and the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal.

The release of the Pentagon memos will show that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld never approved a controversial interrogation technique called "water boarding," according to a source who had told CNN the opposite on Monday.

The senior defense official who provided the original information to CNN now says Rumsfeld only approved "mild, noninjurious physical contact" with a high-level al Qaeda detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and specifically did not approve a request to use water boarding.

CNN's source apparently has changed its story on Rumsfeld. The media has held Rumsfeld personally responsible for the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal, in part because Pentagon sources such as CNN's had implicated Rumsfeld in the approval of harshly coercive techniques under controlled conditions. Instead, the same source now says that Rumsfeld received requests to approve four different techniques on high-ranking al-Qaeda detainees, and only approved the mildest:

The list of requested aggressive tactics included:

* Use of scenario to convince the detainee that death or severe pain could be imminent for him or his family

* Exposure to cold weather or water

* Use of a wet towel or dripping water to induce a perception of suffocating.

* And mild noninjurious physical contact such as grabbing someone's arm, poking them in the chest or light shoving.

Only tactic number four, mild noninjurious physical contact, was approved.

Expect to see the memos roundly ignored by a national media that has invested too much effort and ink into the notion that Rumsfeld and Bush intended a full-scale rollback of the Geneva Conventions. While I am sure they will cover the story, I suspect you'll need to look in the back end of the news sections to read much about it, and the broadcast news services will avoid it as much as possible.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers! I've also cross-posted this at Oh, That Liberal Media, a group blog dedicated to media bias and malpractice. Be sure to check it out.

UPDATE II: Rocket Man from Power Line notes that the media may be missing an opportunity to paint the administration as soft on terror:

I hate to disillusion liberals, but as a trial lawyer, I routinely use two of those four techniques in cross-examining witnesses, and I use at least one of the other two on my children. Frankly, I find it appalling that those in charge of terrorist prisoners may only "reward or remove privileges from detainees" with the permission of the Secretary of Defense. If the Democrats had any sense, they would argue that these documents indict the administration as soft on terrorists.

Hmmm ... I recall using the first on numerous occasions with my son ... should I expect a call from the World Court sometime soon?

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 22, 2004 12:23 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry is

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Memos: Rumsfeld Disapproved "Waterboarding", Other Coercive Techniques:

» More Truth to Light from dangerous liberty
Over at Captain's Quarters, a great post pointing to what appears to be a bit of exhonorating information regarding Secretary Rumsfeld and the interrogation methods he approved. It would be nice if the mainstream media would stop being so damn lazy and... [Read More]

Tracked on June 22, 2004 9:16 PM

Design & Skinning by:
m2 web studios

blog advertising


Proud Ex-Pat Member of the Bear Flag League!