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CIA Memo: Background Paper on CIA's Combined Use of Interrogation Techniques

Dec. 30, 2004 | CIA | ACLU-RDI 4586

A background paper on the CIA's combined use of interrogation techniques, addressed to Daniel Levin, Acting Assistant Attorney General. The document states that "Effective interrogation is based on the concept of using both physical and psychological pressures in a comprehensive, systematic, and cumulative manner to influence HVD behavior, to overcome a detainee's resistance posture." The document walks the reader through a detainee's evolving circumstances, from the moment of capture to the interrogation. The document breaks an HVD's experience down into three larger stages: Initial Capture (which consists of subsections Rendition and Reception at a Black Site), Transitioning to the Interrogation - The Initial Interview, and Interrogation. The Interrogation section is largely redacted, but includes the following subsections: Existing detention conditions (which describes the subject being exposed to white noise not reaching above 79 decibles and constant light); Conditioning Techniques (which include nudity, dietary manipulation, and sleep deprivation for up to 180 hours at a time, which are said to be used in combination with each other and with other techniques to reduce the HVD to a "baseline state" in which "he learns to perceive his personal welfare, comfort, and immediate needs more than the information he is protecting"); Corrective Techniques (which include the insult slap, abdominal slap, facial hold, and attention grasp, and are often used in conjunction with the Conditioning Techniques in order to make the Corrective Techniques harder to bear); and Coercive Techniques (walling - which may be practiced up to 30 times in a session at the discretion of the interrogator, water dousing, stress positions, wall standing, and cramped confinement - up to 18 hours per day in the large box, and up to 2 hours per day in the small one). The document also contains a vivid (although largely redacted) description of a prototypical interrogation over several sessions. This description is stated to be "a fair representation of how these techniques are actually employed." It appears that walling and insult slaps figure prominently in virtually any HVD interrogation, as do sleep deprivation, enforced nudity, and dietary manipulation. [OLC Vaughn Index #97]