Intelligence interrogation, U.S., George W. Bush Administration/Catalogs

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More information relevant to Intelligence interrogation, U.S., George W. Bush Administration.

Details of the interrogation techniques are in specific articles. This Catalog principally stays at the level of "name of technique", as the details may be disturbing to some readers; none of the acts described were intended to cause death or permanent injury.

This section catalogs the interrogation techniques that have been used in the U.S. programs under this Administration. Somewhat different models were used by the military and by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).


As is discussed in the main article, the initial military techniques, in the field in Afghanistan, were at first from the existing manuals, but there was a practical issue with a lack of experienced interrogators. Ad hoc measures went into field use there, as well as by CIA personnel, another organization that lacked a core of experienced interrogators. The main U.S. expertise in interrogation, on 9/11, was in law enforcement, both civilian and military. It now appears that lacking intelligence interrogation support, special operations personnel in Afghanistan turned to their SERE training, not fully understanding that SERE taught resistance to methods used to coerce confessions, rather than obtain actionable intelligence.

See the main article for discussion of the legalities of the techniques; this Catalog is meant to organize the list of techniques used, on a case-by-case basis, in forming an interrogation approach.

As the war evolved, the idea of using Guantanamo as a long-term interrogator evolved, and, in 2002, top-level guidance began to evolve on dealing with prisoners considered resistant to interrogation. Rumsfeld's 2004 doctrinal statements codified 2002 guidance to Guantanamo interrogators and 2003 guidance for Iraq. [1] In the table below, the first letter refers to guidance in Rumsfeld's directive of April 2004; the number is a related description in Mackay's Appendix on Interrogating Approaches.[2] Those marked Rumsfeld 2002 required the USSOUTHCOM commander to determine that military necessity existed for their use, and to notify the Secretary of Defense prior to their use. Those techniques in the Guidance existed were discussed in FM 34-52; Rumsfeld said guidance needed to be developed for the other methods (R-Z). FM 34-52 is one of the documents that has been called the "U.S. Army Field Manual on Interrogation", but it is neither the only Field Manual that dealt with these issues, nor were all techniques listed in any version of the Army document.

The third field (e.g., I-2b) refers to the list in the October 11, 2002 memorandum from LTC Jerald Phifer, staff intelligence director for JTF 170.[3]. The Roman numeral represents the intensity of the technique, from I as mildly to III as strongly coercive. The number (and letter) following denotes the specific technique.

  • Category I: The process begins generally comfortable environment, starting with direct interrogation techniques, and using rewards such as cookies and cigarettes if appropriate. Category I methods are preauthorized if the detainee is uncooperative.
  • Category II: These require the permission of the Officer-in-Charge, Interrogation Section
  • Category III: May be used only with prior approval by the JTF Commanding General, with legal review and information (although not preapproval) by the Commander, USSOUTHCOM. They also can include "other aversive techniques, such as use in military interrogation resistance training (i.e., SERE) or by other U.S. government agencies)". "Other government agency (OGA)" is a common military euphemism for the Central Intelligence Agency, but it is uncertain if Phifer was referring to the CIA-only techniques.

Phifer does list, as Category III-3, a technique that meets at least some definitions of the waterboarding interrogation technique. His description is somewhat different than the CIA method described by ABC News,[4] and may actually be more dangerous; see the technique subarticle.

It may be inferred, but is not definitely known, if all these techniques, with the approval and guidance caveats, were approved for use at facilities other than Guantanamo, but the existence of guidance strongly suggests that A-Q were approved. The Befuddled Interrogator is not in Rumsfeld's memo, but, since listed by Mackay, was probably a standard and approved method. In no guidance, however, do the humiliation methods used by guards at Abu Ghraib prison appear. The techniques used on Abed Hamed Mowhoush, which resulted in his death, do not appear in either military or CIA guidance.

The column Sanchez indicates whether the method was addressed in the interrogation rules of engagement defined by LTG Ricardo Sanchez, first commander of the military occupation force in Iraq, Joint Task Force 7 (JTF-7)[5]

Military Interrogation Techniques
Technique Rumsfeld 2004 Guidance Rumsfeld 2002 Sanchez
A, 1 Direct No Yes No
B, 16,[Note 1] Incentive/Removal of Incentive Yes Yes Yes
C, 2 Emotional Love interrogation techniques No Yes
D, 3 Emotional Hate interrogation techniques No Yes
E & F, 13 Fear Up interrogation techniques No Yes
G, 14 Reduced Fear interrogation techniques No Yes
H, 11 Pride and Ego Up interrogation techniques No Yes
I, 12 Pride and Ego Down interrogation techniques Yes Yes
J, 15 Futility interrogation techniques No Yes
K, 2 We Know All interrogation techniques No Yes
L, 5 Establish Your Identity interrogation techniques No Yes
M, - Repetition interrogation techniques No Yes
N, 8, II-b File and Dossier interrogation techniques[Note 2] No Yes
O, 2 Mutt and Jeff interrogation techniques Yes Yes
P, 9 Rapid Fire interrogation techniques No Yes ? ?
Q, 9 Silence interrogation techniques No Yes ? ?
-, 10 Befuddled Interrogator interrogation techniques ? ? ?
R, - Change of Scenery Up interrogation techniques No No ? ?
S, - Rapid Fire interrogation techniques No No
T, -, II-9 Dietary Manipulation interrogation techniques No No No No
U, - Environmental Manipulation interrogation techniques No No
V, - Sleep Adjustment interrogation techniques Yes No Yes [Note 4]
W, -, II-2 False flag interrogation techniques No No Yes
-, -, I-2a Yelling interrogation techniques - - No -
-, -, I-2b Multiple interrogator interrogation techniques - - - -
X, -, II-2 Isolation interrogation techniques Yes No [Note 3a] [Note 3b]
-, -, II-1 Stress positions interrogation techniques - - - Note 4a Yes Note 4b
-, -, II-12 Military working dog interrogation techniques - - Yes Yes
-, -, II-5 Hooding interrogation techniques - - Yes Yes
-, -, III-3 Mild physical contact Note 5 - - Yes -
-, -, III-2 Cold temperature interrogation techniques - - Yes No
-, -, III-3 waterboarding interrogation techniques Note 5 - - Yes No
-, -, II-5 sensory deprivation interrogation techniques - - Yes [Note 3]
-, -, II-7 extended interrogation techniques - - Yes [Note 6]
-, -, II-8 Removal of comfort items interrogation techniques - - Yes -
-, -, II-10 Removal of clothing - - Yes -
-, -, II-11 Forced grooming (e.g., shaving facial hair) - - Yes -
  • Note 1: Category I mentions both gain and loss of incentive; the interview is intended to start with comfortable conditions and the direct interrogation techniques. Incentive gain (i.e., cigarettes and cookies) are mentioned as an add-on.
  • Note 2: Falsified documents are mentioned by Phifer and appear to support this method
  • Note 3a: 30 days with approval of officer-in-charge; 30 day extensions by Commanding General.
  • Note 3b: 30 days with approval of Commanding General.
  • Note 4a: Maximum of 4 hours (Dunlavey)
  • Note 4b: Maximum of 45 minutes (Sanchez)
  • Note 5: See CIA interrogation development
  • Note 6: Interrogation up to 20 hours at a time

Central Intelligence Agency

CIA techniques, originally described in a legal opinion on intensified interrogation for a High Value Detainee, fell into three categories:[6]

  • Conditioning techniques to wear the detainee down to a “dependent state”
  • Corrective techniques are used to “correct, startle, or ... achieve another enabling objective” All of the corrective interrogation techniques involve physical contact between interrogator and prisoner, but were not intended to cause damage or severe pain.
  • Coercive techniques “place the detainee in more physical and psychological stress”


  1. Donald Rumsfeld (April 16, 2004), Memorandum for the Commander, US Southern Command: Counter-Resistance Techniques in the War on Terrorism
  2. Chris Mackey & Greg Miller (2004), The Interrogators: inside the secret war against al Qaeda, Little, Brown & Co., ISBN 0-316-87112-5, pp. 479-483
  3. Jerald Phifer (October 11, 2002), Memorandum for Commander, Joint Task Force 170: Request for Counter-Resistance Strategies, Joint Task Force 170, Department of Defense
  4. Brian Ross and Richard Esposito (November 18, 2005), "CIA's Harsh Interrogation Techniques Described: Sources Say Agency's Tactics Lead to Questionable Confessions, Sometimes to Death", ABC News
  5. "The Torture Question: Rules of Engagement", Frontline, Public Broadcasting System
  6. Steven Bradbury, Office of the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice (May 10, 2005), Memorandum for John A. Rizzo, Senior Deputy General Counsel, Central Intelligence Agency, Re: Application of 18 USC 2340-2340A to Certain Techniques That May Be Used in the Interrogation of a High Value al Qaeda Detainee