After September 11, 2001, U.S. officials authorized the cruel treatment and torture of prisoners held in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo, and the CIA's secret prisons overseas.

This database documents the U.S. government's official experiment with torture. At present, the database contains well over 100,000 pages of government documents obtained primarily through Freedom of Information Act litigation and requests filed by the ACLU, and through litigation of Salim v. Mitchell, a lawsuit brought by the ACLU on behalf of the survivors and the family of a dead victim of the CIA torture program. To learn more about the database, please read the About and Search Help pages. If you're a developer, you can also access this data through our API.

Search Result (37)

This document was originally released on June 1, 2005 (ACLU-RDI 3547).  This OLC memo supercedes the August 2002 memo interpreting the anti-torture statute. The memo disagrees with the previous memo's conclusions that torture is ...

Aug. 24, 2009
Legal Memo
Daniel B. Levin
James B. Comey
Daniel B. Levin, James B. Comey, George W. Bush

This draft memo addresses the application of the Geneva Conventions to the conflicts with al Qaeda and the Taliban, in Afghanistan and in Iraq. The memo primarily analyzes which prisoners qualify as prisoners of war. The document concludes ...

This document is a letter from the US Army trial counsel responsible for prosecuting Specialist [redacted] and Sergeant [redacted] "in connection with detainee abuse at the Baghdad Central Confinement Facility." The letter mentions a New York ...

The memo discusses whether a change to the FISA law would render it unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment. Specifically it considers and concludes that changing the law from requiring that foreign intelligence gathering be “the ...

Mar. 02, 2009
Legal Memo
John C. Yoo
David S. Kris
John C. Yoo, David S. Kris

An OLC memo concluding that Congress cannot interfere with the President's exercise of his authority as Commander in Chief to control the conduct of operations during war, including his authority to promulgate rules to regulate military ...

Mar. 02, 2009
Legal Memo
Patrick Philbin
Daniel J. Bryant
Patrick Philbin, Daniel J. Bryant, John C. Yoo

An OLC memo concluding that “the military has the legal authority to detain [Jose Padilla] as a prisoner captured during an international armed conflict,” and that the Posse Comitatus Act poses no bar.

An OLC memo concluding that the “the President’s authority to detain enemy combatants, including U.S. citizens, is based on his constitutional authority as Commander in Chief” and that the Non-Detention Act cannot interfere ...

An OLC memo advising “that caution should be exercised before relying in any respect” on John C. Yoo’s October 23, 2001 memo, Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities Within the United States. ...

Mar. 02, 2009
Legal Memo
Steven G. Bradbury
Steven G. Bradbury, John C. Yoo, Alberto R. Gonzales, William J. Haynes, II, Robert J. Delahunty

An OLC memo stating that "the purpose of this memorandum is to confirm that certain propositions stated in several opinions issued by the Office of Legal Counsel in 2001-2003 respecting the allocation of authorities between the President ...

(A CIA affidavit states that this was a 1-page memo dated Aug. 4, 2004 from CIA to OLC and that it contained "communications from the CIA to OLC on a matter in which the CIA requested legal advice from OLC.")  The document ...

July 24, 2008
Legal Memo
Richard J. Durbin
EIT, Waterboarding, Use of water