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Lawyer's Letter Counters Torture Report

Lawyer's Letter Counters Torture Report



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Published by rekko98
Lawyer's Letter Counters Torture Report
Lawyer's Letter Counters Torture Report

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Published by: rekko98 on Jun 20, 2009
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Monday, May 4, 2009
EXCLUSIVE: Lawyer's letter counterstorture report
Kara Rowland(Contact)
The top CIA lawyer in charge of overseeing the agency'sinterrogation program after Sept. 11 says his stance oncertain harsh techniques was misrepresented in a Senatehearing and that he actually told Guantanamo Bayofficials to be careful, warning that some tactics couldviolate international protocols.In a Nov. 18 letter to senators on the Armed ServicesCommittee, a copy of which was obtained by TheWashington Times, Jonathan Fredman said he was tryingto tell top Guantanamo officials that legal uncertainties surrounding the word "torture" meant thatinterrogators needed clear and specific guidance rather than having to figure it out themselves inindividual cases.The primary focus of the letter is a record of an October 2002 meeting of defense officials at theGuantanamo Bay prison in which Mr. Fredman was claimed to have said that the definition of tortureis "subject to perception," and that if "the detainee dies, you're doing it wrong."Mr. Fredman, who was chief legal counsel at the CIA's Counterterrorist Center through April 2004,disputes the accuracy of that memo, which became the basis for a harsh rebuke from Sen. Carl Levin,Michigan Democrat and Armed Services Committee chairman, at a June hearing on interrogation policies.
Mr. Levin said of Mr. Fredman, who did not testify at the hearing, "How on earth did we get to the point where a senior U.S. government lawyer would say whether or not an interrogation technique istorture is, quote, 'subject to perception,' and that if, quote, 'the detainee dies, you're doing it wrong'?"Several weeks after Mr. Fredman sent his letter, the panel put out a report that repeated the claims fromthe 2002 meeting record, which a CIA spokesman said "hardly seems fair."In his six-page November letter, Mr. Fredman says the writer of the 2002 memo misconstrued enoughof his points that the memo is unreliable.The document sheds light on U.S. efforts to ensure that its interrogation policies were legally justifiedand describes Mr. Fredman's grappling with unprecedented legal questions "to protect the lives of our  people" in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.Mr. Fredman said that he warned officials that the penalties for violating the U.S. anti-torture statutewere severe and included the death penalty. He also emphasized that techniques in the Army FieldManual - which is currently in use - still may violate a nonbinding U.N. document on torture."I noted that the Istanbul Protocol of 1999 provides that even 'exposure to ambiguous situations or contradictory messages,' the use of 'solitary confinement,' and the use of coercion to induce anindividual 'to betray someone placing them at risk of harm' all constitute torture. Under the IstanbulProtocol, therefore, it is not clear that the techniques described in the U.S. Army Field Manual oninterrogation would be permitted," he wrote in his 2008 memo.But the person taking notes at the 2002 meeting at Guantanamo Bay recorded Mr. Fredman's commentat the time as: "An example of a different perspective on torture is Turkey. In Turkey, they say thatinterrogation at all, or anything you do to[sic] that results in the subject betraying his comrades istorture."Mr. Fredman also challenged the meeting record's conclusion that he was saying that torture is in theeyes of the beholder. Rather, he said, the opposite was the case."I also emphasized that the requirements of the statute are not, and cannot be, a matter for individual perception," Mr. Fredman said in his letter to the panel, referring to the CIA's request for legal guidancefrom Justice. "We did so specifically to avoid having the anti-torture statute misinterpreted as in anyway subject to an individual's particular perception."The Office of Legal Counsel's response to interrogators, declassified last month by President Obama,set off a political firestorm in the debate over enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding,

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