Intelligence interrogation, U.S.

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For more information, see: Interrogation.
See also: Intelligence interrogation, U.S., George W. Bush Administration

U.S. intelligence interrogation first formalized, at least at the major field command level, in the Spanish-American War at the beginning of the 20th century. In the Philippines, the U.S. replaced Spain as a colonial power. Contrary to popular belief that dealing with non-state actors is new, the situation there was also dealing with insurgents. The issue of how to deal with enemies of the state that were not soldiers from another nation did not suddenly become a problem on 11 September 2001, and has never been simple. If there are differences, they are related to technology on both sides: on the damage that can be done by the non-national actors, and on the techniques of interrogation.

Interrogation is a subset of human-source intelligence, which, in turn, is a subset of eduction. Complementary human-source techniques included debriefing and elicitation, as well as analysis of documents. Interrogation may be noncoercive or coercive; some coercive interrogation has used torture. Some interrogations take place in conditions of extrajudicial detention.

It must be remembered that human-source intelligence is only one part of all-source intelligence, and interrogation is only a subset of HUMINT. Persons designated as interrogators, especially qualified as foreign linguists, also participate in other aspects of intelligence collection, including analyzing captured documents and foreign broadcasts and publications.

As a result of the policies of the George W. Bush Administration in its war on terror, the issues of interrogation there are sufficiently lengthy to need a subarticle, Intelligence interrogation, U.S., George W. Bush Administration


Mackey wrote of torture being used by the Union in the American Civil War, but found to be useless: either prisoners resisted successfully or became "a perfect lunatic". Water tortures were used in the Philippines counterinsurgency with some success, but was generally not the approach of the Civilian intelligence agencies. Sleep deprivation and refusal to provide pain medication to wounded prisoners, however, were used. [1]

To give a civilian and judicial perspective, in 1931, the American Bar Association issued the Report on Lawlessness in Law Enforcement, often known as the Wickersham Report after its chairman. It identified torture as a distinct pattern in both urban and rural areas, finding it a common but not universal pattern.[2] Various local governments to an activist role in preventing it, while others tolerated it. [3]

Much more complex issues, at the national level and with a systematic approach, began to emerge in the Second World War. In many of the WWII cases, the issue was less that of U.S. interrogation, but more the standards that would be applied to interrogation by enemies. There were, however, early experiments in the obtaining of information, in military and intelligence situations outside a judicial process. Some techniques were considered too coercive for use on citizens, whether or not they would meet the definition(s) of torture. Many, however, grew out of conventional law enforcement, and that, in turn, from European practice, going back to the Inquisition. Newer work involved the use of "truth drugs", which eventually were determined not to exist.

As the Cold War began, the situation grew more complex, both in the legal and official framework, as well as the use of specialists, Unquestionably, there were abuses during the Cold War, but, due in part to differences in culture, journalism, government secrecy and view of human rights, they did not become as much a political issue as they did with the increase of non-national terrorism. The challenges of interrogation-related matters definitely did not begin with the George W. Bush Administration or the 9-11 Attacks.

Nevertheless, there were difficult moral and political aspects involving such things as U.S. cooperation with international military and police organizations, especially in Southeast Asia and the Americas, the latter including experiments in interrogation and the interrogation of Cold War defectors.

As serious methodology developed in U.S. intelligence, a doctrine evolved of keeping separate the roles of interrogator and jailer/military police. Intelligence interrogation, above all else, is intended to gather accurate information on things external to the subject. This is often different than police or ideological interrogation, which is focused on getting confessions — which may or may not be accurate. [4] U.S. intelligence does recognize a special case of interrogation, still intended to gather information, but sometimes blurred between the roles assigned to intelligence and military police personnel. What variously is called counterintelligence force protection source operations (now in classified documents, but an earlier version is available [5]), or [military] police intelligence operations [6] are intended to help a field commander secure his forces against terrorist operations. This particular aspect of interrogation, which can be associated with military police functions, is quite different than the strategic intelligence collection process directed at detained suspects.

Second World War

Pressures of the Second World War, as well as more knowledge of the human mind, led to more formal methods by U.S. personnel. These methods tended to reflect more of the British psychological methods than the "third degree". The MIS-Y program was strategic but "offensive", intended to educe information from senior German officials, officers, and scientists in U.S. custody, prescreened to be likely to have important information. The operation was conducted at Fort Hunt, Virginia.[7]

There were numerous uses of psychological techniques by U.S. intelligence agencies in the Second World War, an early set concerned with assessing whether Office of Strategic Services (OSS) personnel were prepared for the rigors they might encounter behind enemy lines. This was less an attempt to develop interrogation techniques and more an effort to understand resistance to them.[8] A much more detailed account was provided by the postwar OSS book, Assessment of Men.[9] A humorous but informative autobiography by Roger Hall, an OSS officer who went through the "Station S" evaluation program, also provides direct experience and also how one might resist; Hall would make whimsical observations such as thinking that "Station S" had been given that name because the letter "S" appeared so many times in "assess."[10] Hall, incidentally,operationally deployed under the command of a later Director of Central Intelligence, William Colby. He also wrote of observing unsuccessful trials of drugs for interrogation.

Cold War


A series of experiments began in the early 1950s, at least, to some extent, initiated by U.S. observations of the results of North Korean actions with U.S. prisoners, producing coerced confessions. Some researchers, principally in the Central Intelligence Agency, believed the North Koreans had developed new methods, and wanted to rediscover them.

While certain experiments, such as Hebb's, were done with volunteers, others, such as the MKULTRA program in which Frank Olson died, violated ethical guidelines that had resulted from Western reactions to Nazi medical experiments on unwilling subjects, the Nuremberg Code that was produced from the tribunal, and then the worldwide work that led to the informed consent criteria set forth in the Declaration of Helsinki.

Unethical experiments had, to the regret of the United States, not all been initiated by the Nazis, such as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Other experiments, which would not be approved by today's ethical standards but fell within ethical guidelines at the time they were done included Stanley Milgram#Experiments on obedience and the Stanford Prison Experiment. The latter, conducted by Philip Zimbardo, was terminated within days of Zimbardo realizing the hazard that guards, not closely supervised, tend to brutalize. It has been a continued warning about certain things that are very unwise in interrogation program. Zimbardo has written that the actions at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq could reasonably have been predicted by professionals familiar with his research.

A worldwide advocacy movement has gained momentum, convinced that a large part of the effort was focused on children.[11] The question must be asked: given the objectives of CIA research, the most often cited as doing such work in any kind of scientific context, what would be the Occam's razor explanation of why they would experiment on children? The specific and immediate interests were understanding how North Korean "brainwashing" might have been achieved, and how the U.S. might use derived versions of those methods in extracting intelligence information. The question needs to be answered, in more than anecdotal claims that individual victims were experimented upon: what would be the purpose of such experiments? Were they under as little oversight as the Nazi experiments, or was there some documentation that the programs had to be justified and budgeted? Even before their disclosure, and even after the destruction of some documents, it appears that a number of programs were terminated by CIA officials, simply because they produced no useful results.

Sensory deprivation

Hebb's work on sensory deprivation, and that of others such as that of Maitland Baldwin, had been of interest to the CIA. Baldwin, however, did not let the subject stop the experiment. Lilly, according to Rejali, found there was considerable CIA interest in whether belief systems or personalities could, involuntarily, be altered. [12]

Rejali cites the KUBARK[13] and HREX[14] manuals as mentioning Lilly's tank, but "one would expect, then, that these boxes would exist worldwide, if not in squeamish democratic states, then at least in authoritarian ones. The evidence is otherwise." He cites other sensory environments, which, rather than depriving senses, would apply intolerable noise and heat, which did constitute torture but had little role in changing personality. If the experience was involuntary, it was no more or less destructive of personality than sleep deprivation, which can indeed cause hallucinations. [15]


CIA activities used drugs and caused at least one suicide as well as long-term damage. [16] The programs, variously code-named ARTICHOKE, BLUEBIRD, and MKULTRA, emphasized the use of drugs and other methods in interrogation. They appear to have been abandoned not due to moral reasons, but because they did not achieve the desired goal. While some claim to have been subjects of these programs as children,[11] it is not at all apparent why even successful use of the techniques, on children, would produce any result useful in intelligence or clandestine operations.


Other extreme measures including the strict detention of Yuri Nosenko, which, after several years, did not shake his story that he, not Anatoliy Golitsyn, was an authentic KGB defector.[17]

Latin America

See also: U.S. Intelligence and terrorism in the 1970s
See also: U.S. government training of foreign police

U.S. relations with Latin American governments, especially after the Second World War, were complex. A very large part of U.S. policy was driven by Cold War considerations, to which human rights considerations were secondary. Dan Mitrione, a U.S. police trainer associated with coercive interrogation, was killed, by Tupumaro guerrillas in Uruguay, in 1970. Operation Condor, principally an indigenous cooperation among military dictatorships in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, [18] still interacted with U.S. human intelligence. [19]

According to Senator Alan Cranston Congress had banned a good deal of U.S. police training to Latin America, which could be considered a form of proxy interrogation when focused on terrorism or illicit drug trade. [20] especially those with narcotics or terrorism problems. Cranston cited six reasons why the Congress, in 1974, banned police training, after learning of training and equipping "police in Iran, Vietnam, Brazil, and other countries were involved in torture, murder, and the suppression of legitimate political activity":

  1. training was provided to so-called friendly anti-Communist regimes, without regard to whether they were dictatorships or not.
  2. law enforcement efforts were subordinated to U.S. counterinsurgency goals. As the GAO noted, U.S. training included such topics as counterinsurgency techniques, weapons use, and Communist ideology. This also meant, in practice, reinforcing the control of recipient countries' militaries over the police.
  3. and this is clearly borne out in the Langguth book,[21]U.S. trainers were not always the best America had to offer.
  4. U.S. intelligence agencies were given an important role in the development and execution of these programs.
  5. police training was not placed in the broader context of administration of justice, with its emphasis on judicial and prison reform.
  6. finally, human rights was rarely a factor in policy considerations at the time.

Training documents before 1974 did include much on interrogation, both coercive and noncoercive, which might well have not met U.S. standards for judicial oversight and human rights. Nevertheless, it is also not correct to say that these were handbooks for torture. A 1963 manual on the KUBARK program makes the observation, consistent with Biderman, it is often the threat of acts that are more effective than the acts themselves. [22] The 1983 HREX manual derived from KUBARK certainly speaks of disorienting the subject,[23], but in the context of "subjects [making] confessions or admissions because they are in a state of mind that leads them to believe that cooperation is their best course of manipulating him psychologically until his resistance is sapped and his urge to resist is fortified."[24] Observe that these goals are framed in terms of overcoming conscious resistance and inducing cooperation as a choice, not as the result of unconscious control.

Major Victor Tise, who, in 1982, had been charged with developing counterintelligence training at the School of the Americas, said that such training had been suspended, between 1966 and 1976, after a review by a Congressional Panel. It was then formally stopped by the Carter Administration "for fear training would contribute to Human Rights violations in other countries," but the program was restored by the Reagan administration in 1982.[25] Tise, pressured for time, obtained information from the Army archives of the Vietnam-era "Project X" program. From these, he drafted a "training package to provide counterinsurgency techniques learned in Vietnam to Latin American countries." The course materials he put together, including the manuals that became the subject of the investigations, were sent to Defense Department headquarters "for clearance" in 1982 and "came back approved but UNCHANGED."

Cranston to describe how training for police, as opposed to military and intelligence organizations, changed in 1985:

This ban remained virtually ironclad until 1985, when Congress authorized the President to support `programs to enhance investigative capabilities conducted under judicial or prosecutorial control' in functioning democracies in the Western hemisphere.

Vietnam War

During the Vietnam War, the U.S. was in a variety of situations involving interrogation. There was tactical interrogation by U.S. field units, longer-term interrogation by military intelligence personnel, U.S. personnel observing or consulting in interrogation by South Vietnamese forces and long-term interrogation by Central Intelligence Agency personnel.

Given that there was intense journalistic activity, as well as strong domestic political dissent, there were sentiments for and against extreme interrogation. Rajali is of the opinion that, as opposed to the French policy in the Algerian War, the U.S. did not have a policy of torture in the Vietnam War.[26] Both Vietnamese sides almost certainly tortured as means of interrogation, and, in the case of the North, also used it to coerce confessions.

It is generally accepted that the military police of the Ninth Infantry Division, the 172nd Intelligence Detachment of the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and other units tortured. In contrast, some of the more detailed analyses of professional interrogation, such as Tourison, emphasized noncoercive interviewing, backed by extensive biographical records and intelligence analysis.

Project X

Classified U.S. Army interrogation methods during the Vietnam War were documented in FM 30-18. Available information is somewhat indirect. [25] It comes from Major Victor Tise, who, in 1982 as a counterintelligence instructor at the School of the Americas.

Tise said that while the Project X material was unclassified, he recognized it as verbatim material from FM 30-18.


There was no single Central Intelligence Agency interrogation program in South Vietnam. There were national-level joint programs with the South Vietnamese. There certainly were U.S. only cooperative sources, and there may have been interrogation under the Saigon Station alone. Field programs such as Provincial Reconnaissance Units had their own intelligence capabilities.

Perhaps the longest, most concentrated effort attempted to break Nguyen Tai, and failed after several years of effort. Tai had originally been captured by the South Vietnamese, and unquestionably had been torturer. As part of a prisoner exchange, he was transferred to American custody, which certainly used sweating and sensory deprivation, but was still focused on formal psychological interrogation, building communication where possible. [27]

The Phoenix Program was not exclusively CIA, as were its predecessor Provisional Reconnaissance Units. It is generally agreed that a wide range of noncoercive and coercive methods were used, as well as direct action. Moyar, generally a supporter of U.S. participation, wrote that most torture was performed by South Vietnamese personnel. [28]

Threats in the 1980s

See also: U.S. Intelligence and terrorism in the 1980s

It must not be forgotten that U.S. intelligence collection on terrorism did not start on 9/11 and did not start in the George W. Bush Administration. Terrorist threats were a reality in the 1980s, after the April 1983 bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut, followed by the 1983 Beirut barracks bombing. This was also a period of "drug wars", with international efforts in interrogating persons involved in the drug trade, sometimes outside the United States. Significantly, there was a nexus between drug trade and terrorism, with terrorist group obtaining funds from drug traffic.

Drug trade

A 1992 edition of the intelligence interrogation manual of 8 May 1987 mentions "In counter-drug operations, commanders may use interrogators to exploit documents and to train US and foreign agents in interrogation techniques." [29]

In 2003 testimony, an official of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration mentioned the intersection of drugs and terror. Pablo Escobar, a leader of the Medellin cartel in Colombia, was associated, in the 1980s, with assassinations, and bombings of increasing threat up to an Avianca commercial airliner in 1989. He eventually died n 1994, but shutting down his activities, across multiple borders, involved international intelligence cooperation. The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), a designated terrorist group with some affiliations to al-Qaeda, formed as an Afghan group in the mid 1980s, and then moved to the Philippines in 1989. [30] In cases such as these, the U.S. would cooperate with Colombian and Filipino security forces on a variety of levels. These could include training interrogators and having access to the result of third-country interrogation. Such interrogation might or might not be within prevailing U.S. law enforcement rules, but, if used at a sufficiently isolated manner to investigate U.S. parts of the operation, need not meet U.S. judicial oversight.

Force protection

Investigations of these attacks involved different agencies with different interrogation styles. The military Long Commission was a high-level evaluation panel that drew on intelligence information from the field. The Commission determined that while the Marine unit commander received much general intelligence,

(a) ...he was not provided with the timely intelligence, tailored to his specific operational needs, that was necessary to defend against the broad spectrum of threats he faced. The Commission further concludes that the HUMINT support to the USMNF Commander was ineffective, being neither precise nor tailored to his needs. The Commission believes that the paucity of U.S. controlled HUMINT provided to the USMNF Commander is in large part due to policy decision which have resulted in a U.S. [[HUMINT capability commensurate with the resources and time that have been spent to acquire it. The Commission recommends that the Secretary of Defense establish an all-source fusion center, which would tailor and focus all-source intelligence support to U.S. military commanders involved in military operations in areas of high threat, conflict or crisis. The Commission further recommends that the Secretary of Defense take steps to establish a joint CIA/DOD examination of policy and resource alternatives to immediately improve HUMINT support to the USMNF contingent in Lebanon and other areas of potential conflict which would involve U.S. military operating forces. [31]

When adequate information was gathered on some, actions taken included both criminal prosecution and civil lawsuits. Rules for force protection for military units in the field changed, based on intelligence information from all sources.

Force protection

In the case of the Beirut embassy and barracks bombings, for example, interrogation was not the only answer for the future. Indeed might not even be applicable when a unit moved suddenly into a new geographic area, where there were no human contacts and an assignment such as peace operations did not provide captives. Embassies certainly would not be capturing people for interrogation, although they could well debrief local police and other government sources, and elicit information from people they met in normal business. In rare cases, there might be clandestine information from local or regional Central Intelligence Agency human sources, but there had to be such operations, with all their diplomatic risk, and the information normally went up the CIA "stovepipe"; information might not be immediately shared in the field but that which went to force protection had to be a CIA headquarters decision to share with State or Military.

Force protection, in these circumstances, had to draw on all types of intelligence information, not just human-source intelligence, but also communications intelligence, imagery intelligence, and intelligence analysis. Intelligence information needed to flow from national-level agencies to field operations. People trained as interrogators, however, often have useful skills for analyzing foreign broadcasts and publications, intercepted communications, and captured documents. Indeed, "document exploitation" often pulls qualified interrogators away from direct interrogation.

To avoid the vulnerability of an urban base without adequate rules of engagement as in Beirut, in an admittedly very different mission, the U.S. used a very different kind of basing in the Tanker War of 1987. One of the pieces of Operation EARNEST WILL, under the command of United States Central Command, put observation, and military reaction forces, aboard leased barges in the Persian Gulf. Nevertheless, another disaster could have occurred for the same reasons s the Beirut bombing; there was little or no human intelligence that came from U.S. or third-country interrogation.

First, the U.S. military underestimated the Muslim fundamentalist militants’ capability to assess a critical vulnerability within the U.S. operational theater; and they further underestimated their ability to follow through with their assessment by planning and executing an operation designed specifically to thwart U.S. strategy. Second, [the U.S.] underestimated their moral will to attack superior U.S. forces. [32] A open-source intelligence report, from a human source, did not reach the forces on the sea bases. "... Thursday, before the shooting, an Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander said Tehran was planning a surprise attack against the United States and its allies.”[33]

This information was certainly available at national level, probably at theater command level, but never made it to the forces in harm's way.

On a "gut feeling", the seabase commanders, on October 7, put out reconnaissance patrol boats and sea-based helicopters. The helicopters, equipped with night vision devices, saw approaching Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps attack boats and engaged in a firefight when fired upon, with the patrol boats arriving afterwards to take prisoners. These prisoners were evacuated to a higher headquarters and not interrogated at the base level; at the time, the bases had no dedicated intelligence personnel of any type. Nine months later, an Air Force intelligence specialist was assigned, but had no specific training on the Iranian naval threat. Several weeks later, the bases did receive signals intelligence capability, but the incident remained a strong example of how isolated units needed to be in the information flow of all human-source intelligence.

1990s terrorism focus

See also: U.S. Intelligence and terrorism in the 1990s

Even greater attention to terrorism, long before 9/11, came from the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, which involved Islamic radicals but was not an operation of al-Qaeda. There was the great complexity of "blowback" from encouraging radical Islamic fighters against the Soviets in the Afghanistan War (1978-92). Later, there was the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing and the 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Africa

1993 World Trade Center bombing

After the February 23, 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the FBI took control of the investigation and began arresting suspects within days, including Mohammed Salameh, Nidal Ayyad and Mahmoud Abouhalima, the 9/11 Commission Report suggested that the excellent FBI performance led to a conclusion, incorrect in their opinion, that law enforcement was adequate against terrorism.

Al-Qaeda targeted

Al-Qaeda was becoming much more of a target by the mid-1990s. In January 1996, President Bill Clinton issued a Presidential Finding that "declared war on bin Laden, and he directed all U.S. intelligence assets, including the FBI, to go after bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri and the Al Qaeda network." [34]

1998 Bombings of U.S. Embassies in Africa

Especially with respect to the User: Howard C. Berkowitz/1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa, FBI human intelligence was not limited to interrogation of detainees, but also involved interviewing cooperative "walk-ins". When dealing with prisoners, however, the emphasis was rapport-building, not coercion. These methods were significant in investigating the embassy bombings.

Cloonan spoke of the methods used with L'Houssaine Kherchtou, nicknamed "Joe the Moroccan", a member of the cell that attacked the embassies, providing the safehouse apartment used to develop their targeting photographs. [35] There is little question that there are differences between interrogating a hostile prisoner and, as in the case of Kherchtou, an individual who had his freedom and was less and less tied to al-Qaeda. The FBI, who learned of Kherchtou through the British Secret Intelligence Service and the Moroccan intelligence service, was extremely close to his family. Al-Qaeda refused his request for money for a family medical emergency, and he moved to Morocco, away from bin Ladin in Sudan. Back in Khartoum, Cloonan arranged for the Moroccans to tell Kherchtou there were immigration problems with his family. He returned to Morocco, where he was met by a U.S. team, including Cloonan and Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. They spent days talking in a luxurious safehouse. After advising him of his rights, Cloonan said "we told him he could have a lawyer anytime, and that he could pray at any time he wanted. We were letting the Moroccans sit in on this, and they were dumbfounded."

Eventually, Fitzgerald made an offer that Cloonan thought would end the discussion: "Here's the deal: You will come to the U.S. voluntarily; you will plead guilty to conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals abroad; your exposure is anywhere from zero to life, no promises." Cloonan broke the seeming impasse by saying, "‘Before you answer, I think you should go pray. After 10 days with us, I think you have a sense of who we are and what we're about -- you know you would not be treated this way by other folks. You may go to prison, but you have the chance to start your life over again, to get rid of this anxiety, to stop running. And I think you should do this for your wife and children.'

According to Cloonan, Kherchtou came back and agreed. He provided information that led to the conviction of four persons involved in the bombing, and produced information including al-Qaeda's interest in the use of aircraft deliberately crashed into buildings.[36] The possibility of suicide attacks was discussed in a report prepared for the National Intelligence Council by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress.[37]


Military, intelligence, and law enforcement organizations all were involved in operations in the Balkans, during the Clinton Administration. Complicating the matter is that there were both ethnic conflicts among the natives of the region, but also from external jihadists fighting with some factions. Interrogation was used for force protection of the peace operations forces, for war crimes investigation, and of possible basing for terrorists who might operate outside the region.

In the early part of the 1990s, Muslims began to go into the former Yugoslavia, to help their Muslim coreligionists in Bosnia against Serbia. According to Richard Clarke, the counterterrorism chief on the National Security Council staff, the U.S. demanded their expulsion. [38]

Extraordinary rendition, possibly to states that used torture, took place during the Clinton Administration and was not unique to the George W. Bush approach to terrorism. The first modern case was of Tal`at Fu'ad Qassim (also known as Abu Talal al-Qasimi and Abu Talal al-Qasimi), captured ib September 22, 1995 in Croatia and later sent to Egypt, where he was executed. Clarke said that he was later determined to be working, along with others, with al-Qaeda, but this was not known to the U.S. at the time.[38]

"The largest pre-9/11 CIA rendition occurred in 1998, when five suspects in Albania and Bulgaria were captured and rendered to Egypt. Two were hanged without trial; all were brutally tortured." These renditions, however, required both individual approval by the President of the United States, and the country to which the subject was rendered had to have a charge against him. [39] An American interrogator in Afghanistan, who distinguished between coercive interrogation, wrote that "the harsher the methods we used — though they never contravened the [Geneva] Conventions, let alone crossed into torture — the better the information we got and the sooner we got it...the reason the United States should not torture prisoners is not because it doesn't work...over the long term, it breeds more enemies of the United States than coercive interrogation methods will ever allow us to capture."[40]

Cloonan said he first encountered extraordinary rendition after being informed that Albanian intelligence, in 1998, working with the CIA, broke up an al-Qaeda cell in Tirana. He said that the intention was to send a suspect to the Egyptian service. "...the way this was going to go was, a plane flies in from Egypt and these guys get put on a plane with a one-way ticket to the Egyptian GIS [intelligence service], we weren't thrilled on a number of levels...The [CIA] people were, to their credit, very adamant that they didn't want people tortured. But I never quite understood how any agency officer, however diligent they might be, could be with someone 24 hours a day to make sure that they weren't tortured."[35]

He posed the problem to FBI Director Robert Mueller, asking for advice in the situation “You have a subject being interviewed who has been advised of his rights, is not a U.S. citizen, and is outside the U.S., but that person has agreed to cooperate, but that person is being forcibly removed from your custody and rendered to a third country where his due process is being denied?" Mueller responded that a non-citizen outside the U.S. was probably not an issue.

Post 9/11

For more information, see: Intelligence interrogation, U.S., George W. Bush Administration.

Policies began to change after 9/11, especially when it became difficult to get actionable intelligence in the Afghanistan War (2001-). As noted above with Clinton Administration actions against al-Qaeda, CIA field operations personnel had been active in Afghanistan, even before United States Army Special Forces preceded regular military troops. They worked with third countries in interrogations prior to 9/11. [41] While military units in Afghanistan first stayed within interrogation guidelines that tried to make a straightforward interpretation of the Geneva Conventions, [42], CIA personnel may have had different authorizations, obtained through the Presidential Finding process. The CIA focus was on specific High Value Detainees. If the CIA and military were operating under different rules, this may explain some discrepancies, reflected in documents that have been declassified, that they may have used enhanced interrogation before the military. Certainly, CIA had used isolation, environmental manipulation and possibly sensory deprivation interrogation techniques with Anatoly Golitsyn, well before 9/11, and apparently with authorization.

During combat in Afghanistan, military commanders, especially in the United States Special Operations Command, became frustrated with the lack of information coming from prisoner interrogation, and sought more effective methods. In mid- to late-2002, partially due to a shortage of skilled interrogators who could use psychological methods, in some desperation, methods used in survival, evasion, rescue and escape training were adopted. These methods were not taught as interrogation techniques, but were hoped to be proven ways of increasing pressure. Unfortunately, some of the people pressing for their use did not fully understand they had been used, by enemies of the U.S., more to coerce confessions than to obtain accurate intelligence.

Some Bush Administration policies, however, were either changed later in his term, and others have been revoked by the Obama administration.


  1. Chris Mackey & Greg Miller (2004), The Interrogators: inside the secret war against al Qaeda, Little, Brown & Co., ISBN 0-316-87112-5, pp. 282-283
  2. Darius M. Rejali (2007), Torture and Democracy, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0691114226, pp. 70-74
  3. George Wickersham (chairman) (1931), National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement, American Bar Association, cited in Rejali 2007, pp. 70-74
  4. Randy Borum (November 2005), Approaching Truth: Behavioral Science Lessons on Educing Information from Human Sources, in Intelligence Science Board, Educing Information—Interrogation: Science and Art, National Defense Intelligence College Press, ISBN 1-932946-17-9, p. 18
  5. US Department of the Army (3 October 1995). Field Manual 34-60: Counterintelligence.
  6. Field Manual FM 3-19.50, Police Intelligence Operations, U.S. Army, July 2006
  7. Robert A. Fein (December 2006), U.S. Experience and Research in Educing Information: A Brief History — MIS-Y Program, in Intelligence Science Board, Educing Information—Interrogation: Science and Art, National Defense Intelligence College Press, ISBN 1-932946-17-9, pp. xi
  8. Sally Kuhlenschmidt, OSS Assessment, Western Kentucky University
  9. OSS Assessment Staff (1948), Assessment of men: Selection of personnel for the Office of Strategic Services
  10. Roger Hall (May 2004), You're stepping on my Cloak and Dagger, US Naval Institute Press, ISBN 1591143535
  11. 11.0 11.1 Carol Rutz (2001), Carol Rutz' '01 Conference Presentation, The Fourth Annual Ritual Abuse, Secretive Organizations and Mind Control Conference
  12. Rejali 2007, pp. 369-370
  13. Central Intelligence Agency (July 1963), KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation (Part 1 of 3), Prisoner Abuse: Patterns from the Past, vol. George Washington University National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 122
  14. Central Intelligence Agency (1983), Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual (Part 1 of 2), Prisoner Abuse: Patterns from the Past, vol. George Washington University National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 122
  15. Rejali, pp. 372-373
  16. , The Testing of Behavior-Influencing Drugs on Unsuspecting Subjects Within the United States of America, Report to the President by the Commission on CIA Activities within the United States ("Rockefeller Commission"), June 1975, pp. 226-228
  17. Warren Richey (January 8, 2008), "A cold-war case of CIA detention still echoes: The Yuri Nosenko affair unveiled US use of extreme isolation to try to 'break' the KGB defector.", Christian Science Monitor
  18. Robert Plummer (8 June 2005), "Condor legacy haunts South America", BBC News
  19. National Intelligence Council (September 18, 2000), CIA Activities in Chile
  20. "U.S. Security", Congressional Record: S2874 [Senate], 5 March 1992
  21. Langguth, A.J. (1978). Hidden Terrors: The Truth About U.S. Police Operations in Latin America. Pantheon. 
  22. KUBARK, p. 91
  23. CIA, HREX, pp. 40-42 (PDF)
  24. CIA, HREX, p. 17 (PDF)
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  35. 35.0 35.1 Jason Vest (June 19, 2005), "Pray and Tell: Jack Cloonan has done his share of terrorism interrogations. Instead of torture, he recommends prayer rugs and figs. Yes, figs.", The American Prospect
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  39. Stephen Grey, "Five Facts and Five Fictions About CIA Rendition", Frontline, Public Broadcasting Service
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