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Memo for Cia Re Interrogation Techniques That May Be Used on High Value Al Qaeda Detainee 2005

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U.S. Departmeut of Justlce
Office ofLegal Counsel

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Office orale l'rineipaJ Deputy AsSistllnt.J\I(omey aenml

WcahinfJ"'J!. D.C. JOSlO

May 10.2005

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MEMO!tANnUMFORJ'OlIN A. RIZZO
'. Sli:NIOR Dli:PUTY GENERAL COUNSEL, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY
Re: ApplicatiQnoJ18 u.S.C. §§ 23·(0-23404 iol!l1~f:eililttiqull's
That May Be Used in the Interrogation ojaHigh Vallie al Qcieda: Detainee
You have ~ked us to address whether certailJ. specified interrogation teclmiques designed
to be ooed. on a high value al Qaeda detainee in the War\JO Terror COUlply with the federal
prohibition on torture, codified at IS U.S.C. §§ 234Q-2340A. Otlr analysis of this 9uestion is
contj"olled by this Office's ~ntly published opinionintefpreting the anti-tor!llre statute. See
.Memorandum for James, R Comey, DeP\3t)tAttorney General, from Daniel Levin, Acting
Assistant Attorney General, Offlc¢ of Legal Counsel.Re~ Legal Su:mdards Appllcable Under 18
U.S.C. §§ 2340-2340A (Dec. 30. 2004) ("2004 Legal Standards Oplnloll"), available at
'IVWW.usdoj.gov. (JIe provided a copy of that opi:nion to you at the time it was issued.) Much of
the analysis from our 2004 Legal Slanda:rds Opinion is reproduced below; all of it is
incQrporated by reference herein. Because you have asked us to address the application of·
sections 2340-2340A to speclGc interrogation techliiques. the present memorandum necessarily
. in¢ludes additional disCUssion of the applicable legal standards and their application to particular
facts. We stress, howev.et, that thci legal standards we apply in this memorandum are fully
consisten.t with the interpretation ofthe statute set forih in our 2004 Legal Standards Opinion
and ~titmeour autlwritative view oft~e legal standards applicable und<;r sections 2340'
2340A. Our task is to explicate those standardsin order to assist you in complying with the law.
A paramount recognition emphasized in Qur 2:004 Legal Standards Opinion merits reo .
emphasis at the outset and guides Our analysis: Torture is abholTel1t botli to American law and
values and to intematiomi.l normS. The universal repUdiation of torture is reflected not ollly in
our criminal law. see, e.g., !'8 U.S.C. §§ 2340-2340A, but also in international agreements,' in
I

See. e.g.• Unit~ Na!ioll$ Convention Aga,lhSl 'J'oIfure and OtiJerCI\!el,lnhuman Or Degradiltg Treaunent

orPunlShnt~t, Dec.

10, 1984,.8. TreatrDoc. No: 100-20, 1465 U.N.T.S. 85 (enl¢t1;dinlOforcefor U.S. Nov. 20.

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centuries of Anglo-American law, see,· e.g., John H. Langbein, Torture and the Law o/Proof
Europe and Englaiul In the Ancien Regime (1971) C'Torture and the Law ofProo!,), and in the
longstanding policy.ofthe United States, repeatedly and recently reaffinn¢ by the President'
Consistent wiih these·nonns, the President has directed uneq~ivooall y that the United States is
not to engage in torture.'
The task ofinterptetinglUid applying sectiollS 2340-Z34QA is complicated by the lack of
precision in,the statutory terms and the lack ofrelevant ease law. Iii defining the federal crime of
'torture, Congress required that a defendant "specijically intend[] to inflict severe physieal or
mental pai!! or suffering," ana CO!l8fess narrowly defined "severe mental pain or suffering" to
. mean "the prolOflged mental harm caused by" enumerated predicate acts, including "the threat of
'Imminent death" and "procedures calculated to disruptpro/oundiy the senses or personality," 18
U.S.C. § 2340 (emphases added), These statutory requirements are con.sistentwith U.S,
obligations under the United Nations Convention Against Torture, the treaty that obligates the
United States to ensure thattol'tUr(;\ is acrime under U.S. law and that is implemented by sections
2340"2340A. The requirements in sections 2:l40-2340A closely track the understandings and
reservations required by the Senate when it gave its. advice and consentto ratification ofthe
Convention A,gai.nst Torture, .They reflect a clear intent by Congr.ess to limit the scope ofthe
prohitiition on torture under U.S. law. However; many oithe key terms used in the statuto (for
oJlample,"severe," "prolonge<;l," "SUffering") are inlprecise and necessarily bring a degree of
uncertainty to addressing tlie reach ofsectiOlls 2340-2340A. Moreover, relevant judicial
decisions in this area providc only limjt~ guidance' This imprecision and lack ofjudicial
guida nee, coupled with the President's ,:lear directive that the United States does not condone or
engage in torture, t;QUDsel great care in applying the statute ta specific conduct. We have
,attempted to exercise such nare throughout this memorandum.
With t\lese considerations in mind, we tum to.the particular question before us: whether
certain specified interrogation techniques may be used by the Central fntelligenoc Agency
("CIA") on ahigh value al Qaeda detainee conSistent with the federal statutory prohibition an
1994) ("Convention Against Torttlri:" or "C),T'); Intelt¢llonal Covenant os CivilllJ1d PoUUcalltights, Dec. 16,
196il,a>t. 7, 999U,N.r-S.171.
,
,
, See,e.g., St~emel)! on Unite.! Na(ioll$lnternauonaJDaj'in SuppOrlofVictimsofTOrlute, 40 Weeldy
. COm~~ .1167 (Iuo/ 5, 200')("I'~0Il1Jr~l}Ilorture i~ an inaJiena'* h~ right ....n), S!acemeruon
. United Nations Interitadonal nay in Support of Victims ofTorture, 39 Weekly Comp. Ptes.Doq, &24 (June 30,
2003) (''Torture anYwhere is an lllfront to hW!lall wgnilyevel)'Whece."); s~ea/so acrer o/TransmUlo/from
Presidenl Rona/dReagan la Ihe SenGle(May 20, (988),'in Messagefrem th.Presidenl o/the Uniled$lales

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torture, 18 U.S,C. §§ 2340-2340A.' Forthe reasons disClIssed below, and based on the
representation, we have received from you (or officials OfyOUf Agency) about the particular .
techniques in question,the circumstanees in Which they are autliorizoo fOf use, and the physical
and psychologicai assessments made ofthe detainee to be interrogated, we concIude that the
separate authorized use ofeach (lfthe specific techniques at issue, subjeci to the limitations and
safeguards described herein, would not violate seclions 2340·2~40A.' Our conclusion is .
straightforward with respect to all Wt two ofthe techniques discussed herein. As discussed
below, use (Ifsleep deprivation as an enhanced technique and use ofthe waterblJard involve
more substantial questions, with the waterboard preseilting the most substantial question.
We base our conclusions on the statutory language enacted by Congress in Sections 23402340A. We do not rely on any consideration ofthe President's authority as Commander in Chier
under tM Constitution, any application ofthe principIe ofconstitutional avoidance (or any
conclusion about constitutional issues), or any argumentS based on possible defenses of
.. "necessity' or self-defense.'
.

, We have previously 'Sd~lsed you Utal1l1e use by lbe QA ofthe techniques ofinterrogalion dlscuSscd
herein is «Insistent with the Consti!Utlon and applicablestltules and tteaties. lit thepr=nt memol1U1dum, yoo Ime
asked us to adClress only the requirements oflg U.S.C. §§ 2340-2J40A. NOlhingin thismemorandunt or in oor
prior advice to lbe CIA ihouJd bere.'ld to suggest ~t the useofthese tc¢hniq~ would «Imom to lb.e requiremellts
ofllie Unifonn Code ofMilitary Justice that governs members of the Anned Forces Or!/} Unite4 States abUgalions
under'the Geneva Con,....lions in oircumslances wh~.those CoovehtionS would apply. We do not addr..s !he
J'OSsibJe appUc;uionof mele 160flbe CAT, nOr do we address any qu~on relating to wnditionsofcQn.fincment
or detention, as distinct from the Interrogation ofdetaiJlees. We stress that our advice "n the application of s«dOllS
2340.2340A does not represent the p<>licy views of the Dep;u1lncnt ofJustice concerning interrogation practices,
Finally, we notetilat section 6057(a) ofHR. 1268 (109th Cong. lit Bess.), ifit becorneslaw, woll1d foroid
expending or oblig.~ funds made.available byiliat bill "to subject any person in lbe custody or undcr tile pl'Ysipal
contt1l1 of the Ulllted States to torture/' but because lbe biUwould defil!e "to~n to have "the meaning given that
tem in section 2340(1) bftille 18, United Stat.. Code: §6057<bXI),the provision (to the extent it iuight apply
here at all) would merely rea1lirmthe preexisting pi1lItibilions ontorture in sections 2340-234Q!,.
.

• The p_nt ll1emol1U1dumaddrelSeSonly the sep3ratetise ofeach inctlvidllal technique, not the CQrnblned
use tl'H'lfctm'iiji.os-os fl'U1 ohn lntegiated iegimen ofJnterrogation. You have informed oS that most of ti,e CIA's
authorized techniques are designed to be used with panlcular detain"" in an interrelated or combined mann",as
.part of an overall interrogation prognlm, and you have provided us with a description of a t)1'ical scell3Iio for the
.:....-----.--1C3l1Ns-ecmbl~f-{eohniques. &, l!a<Ifiround.p"pe~~b1noJ..rJ&e-<Jflm~"'Sio"Uhlr
...
eo""'m"I'Fql",fPt'-----(Dec. 30,2004) {'Background Paper"). Afull'ss¢ssment ofwhether titeuse ofinterrogation techniques is
co.nslsten1witit sectio~s 2340-234.0A shouldtake.in1o a.ceount the IXit~nliaJ CQmbi~ed eJfects ofusin~multiple
techniques on a given doWnee, ellber simultaneously or sequentially within a short tiJIle. We will address in a
sepal1tle memorandum whetiler the combined use of certain lechniques, as reflected in tile BackgroUnd Paper, is
consistent with fuelegal requirements of5<';00n'2340-23401\.
.
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lit preparing the presentmemOraMUffi, we have reviewed and carefully «Insid¢.\'ed the report prepared by

the efA Inspectot General, Counter1errori"" Detentia • I' . ... • • A clivlties (September ZOOf-Oct.ber

2003), Nn. 2003.7123-IG(May 7,2(04) \,IGRepoft'
addressed below.
.

Various aspects ofthe IGReport·are

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A.
In asking us to consider certain specific techniques to be used in the interrogation of a
particular al Qaeda operative. you have provided background Information common to the use of
all o.fthe techniques. You have adviSed t!Jat these techniques would be used only on an
individual who is determined to be a "High Value Detainee," defined as: .
a detainee who, until time of capture, we have reason to believe: (I) is.a senior
member of aI-Qai' dll or an al-Qai'da associated terrorist group (Jemiah
Islarniyyah, Eqyptian Islamic Iihad, al·Z;l.rqawi Group, etc.); (2) has knowledge
of imminent terrorist threats against the USA, Its military forces, Its citizens and
organizations, or.lts allies; or that has/had direct Involvement in planning and
preparing terrorist aetioffi against the USA or its allies, orassisiingthe al.Qai'da
leadership in planning and preparing such terrorist actions; and (3) if released,
.constitutes a clear and continuing threat to the USA or its allies.
ax

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Acting Assistant Attorney General, Office ofLegal Counsel, from
sistant General Counsel, CIA, at3 (Jan. 4, 200S) ("January 4_ax").
or convenience, below we will generaUy refer to such individuals simply as detainees.
fi

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You have also explained that, prior to interrogation, each detainee is evaluated by.
medical and psychological professionals from the CIA's Office·ofMedical Services ("OMS") to
ensure tbat he is not likely to suffer any severe physical or mental pain or suffering as a result of
interrogation.
.,
[T]ecIulique.specific advanced approval is required for all "enhanced" measures
and is 'conditional on on-site medical and psychological personnel confirming
from direct detainee examination that the enhanced teclmique(s) is not e1\Pected to
produce "severe physical or mental pain or suffering.'" As a practical.matter, the
detainee's physical cendition must be such thatthese interventions will not have'
lasting effect, and his psychological state streng enough that no severe
psychological harm will result.
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OMS Guidelines on Medical andPsychological Support toDetainee Rendition, In/erroga(;on
and De/en/ion at 9 (Dec. 2004) ("OMS Guidelines") (footnote omitted). New detainees are also
---'--~-S'subject~i5f$lWRIH{lJak~xalllinlltien;-wJ!ieMn~4l1etwgh-initial-mOOica:!-a~~~l\Rit--_·

... with a complete, documented history and physical addressing in depth any chronic or
previousmedicalproblem.s. Tlli. assessment should especially alIena to· cardio-vascular,
pulmonary, neurological and musculoskeletal findings.. ,. Vital signs and weight shoUld be
recorded; anej blood work drawn.. ,." lei. at .6. In addition, "subsequent medical rechecks
during the interrogation period'should be performed on a regular basis." ld. As an additional
precaution, and to ensure the objectivity (lftheir medical anll psychological assessments, OMS
personnel do not participate in administering interrogation techniques; their function is to
monitor interrogations and the health ofthe detainee.

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.
The detainee is then interviewed by trained and·certified interrogators to determine'
whether he is actively attempting to withhold or distort information. If SQ, the on-scene
.
interrpgation team develops an interrogation plan, which may include only those techniques for
whieb. there is no medical or psychological Contraindication. You haveinrorrned us that the
initial OMS assessments have ruled out the Use ofsomer-or all-<:lfthe interrogation techniques
aHo certain detainees.. I£the plan calls for the use ofany ofthe interrogatioll techniques
discussed hereill, it is subll1itted to CIA Headquarters, which must review the plan and approve
the use orany of these interrogation techniques before they may be applied. See George J.
Tene DirectorofCentraUntetli nee Guidelin .
er 0 mlo s ondue/cd Pursuant /0 the
(Jan. 28,1003)
n errogi;l on til e me . TlO~ Wlittenapprova
om t e frector, DCI Counterterrorist
Center, with the concurrertce of the Chie~ CrCLegal Group," is required for the use orany
. ~anced interrogation techniques. Id. We understand that, as to the detainee here, this written
approval has been given for each ofthe techniques we discuss, eKcejJt the wateruoard.

W~ understand that, when approved, interrogation techniques are generally used in an
escalating fashion, with milder techniques used first. Use ofthe teclmiqucs is not continuous.
Rather, onc ot mllre techniques may be,applied-during or between interrogation sessionsbased on tbejudgment ofthe interrogators and other team membersalldsubj~ always to the
monitoring oflbe on-scene medical and psychological personnel. Use oftha techniques maybe
<::ontinued ifthe detainee is still believed to have and to be wiihholdingactionable intelligence. .
The use ofthese techniques may not be continued for more than 39 days withoutadditiona1
. approval from CrAHeadquarters. See generally Interrogation Gllidelines at 1-2 (deserilring
. approval procedures required for 1,lse of enllanced lnt¢rrogation techniqu~s)., Moreover, even
within that 30-day period, any further use of these interrogation techniques is discontinued If the ,
detainee is judged to be consistently providing accurate intelligence or if he is no longer lrelieved
to have actionable intelligence. This memorandum addresses the use orihese teehniques during .
no more than one 30-day period. We do not address whether the use of these techniques beyond
.the initial30-day period would violate the statute.

-"'-

. Medical and psychological personnel are on-scene throughout (and, as detailed below,
physically present or otherwise observing during the applicatlon of many techniques; including
all techniques involving physical contact with detllinees), and "[d)aily phYsioal and
psyChological evaluations are continued throughout the period !if[enhilnccdillterrogation
teclUml\JeFrse:" IG R.eporlat 30 n.3~; see also Georg'e J. Tenet, Director "f Central Intelligence,
Guidelines on Confinement Conditionsfor CIA Delllinees, at 1 (Jan. 28,2003) ("Confinemef1/
.:....JGi.iru1f~I!9"d[fellLilt15le.,f)("Medical and as a ro date,. s cholo ieal personnelshaIl be physically present
at, or reasonably available to, each Detention Facility. Medical personne s a ·e ec e
physical condition of each detainee at intervals appropriate to the circumstances and shall keep
appropriate records."); IG R~port at 2.8-29.' In additio~ "[i]o each interrogation session in .
which an Enhanced Technique is employed, a contemporaneous recotd shall be created setting
forth the nature and duration of each such" technique employed." Interroga/km Guidelines at 3.
• 10 add'lion to moruloriog the application and elrecls ofenhanbed interrogation techniques, OMS
personnel are inslruetoo mon: generally (0 el)SUte that "[ajdeqoate med,ca1 C<lre shall be prOVided tl> detainees, even
lhose undergoing enhanq:d interrogation." OMSGuidelines at 10.

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At.any thue, anyon-scene personnel (including the medical Qr psychological personnel, the chief
of base, substantive experts, seeurltyofficers, and ot!ierinterrogators) can intervene to itopthe
use of any technique if it appears'that the techrtique is,lieing used improperly, and on7scene
medical personnel can intervene ifthe detainee has developed a condition making the use ofthe
,technique uruiafe. More generally, medical pen;onnel watch for signs ofphysical distress or
mental harm so significant as possibly to amount to the "severe physicalor .mental pain or
suffering" that is prohibiWd by sections 2340-2340A. Aslne OMS Guidelines explain,
"[m]edicaf officers must remain cognizant at all times of their obligw<m to prevent 'severe
physical or meDtat pain or suffering.'" OMS Guidelines a( 10. Additional restrictions On certain
techniques are described below.
.
These techniques have all been ImjXlrted from military Survival, Evasion, Resistance,
Escape ("SERE") training, where they,have been used foryears on U.S. military Personnel,
although with some significant differenCes deseribed below: See fGReport at 13-14. AlthOUgll
we refer to the SERE experience below, we no.te at the outset an important limitation on reliance
on that experienee. Individuals undergoing SERE training are obviously in a very different
Situation from detainees undergoing Interrogation; SERE trainees know it is part of a training
'program, not a real-life interrogation regime, they presumably know it will last only a short time,
and they presumably have assurances that they will not be significantly harmed by the tralhi?g.
B.

You have described the specific techriques at issue as,follows:'

•
' The descriptions of th~ teclutiqu~ ar.sot out in a numbercf documents inCIUdinG;MI!!-'
' d,eline,S; Interrog,alians Gu,'i!ldiNCSo' ConjinemeIJ',Guid,elines: BOck,gro,und,paper; uI(edro
"
. • Associate GeneralOlunsel, C'.l _
' .,CilngAssistantAI(Orney GenoIlll, O!ficeof g •• ounsel •
(,"QLC'') (l'uly 30, 200+) ('Ju(Y JO, ,
' , ;t..e\tef.fr,O,b\}OM,.• A,!Uzzo,Acjjng Ge,'Deral (:OtiDSO,I,CIA, (0
. .'
'., .·stan,•tA(~rney· eneta '.', C (Aug. 2,2004) ('XUgtltl lRf;;opeltef'); L<:lter·from
ASSOCUl.·
te
aI Counsel, erA, to
.
.
.
Attorney General, OLe
, .
ug. .
,ugu
,1l
. litt"); Letter fro
•
eral CouDsd, CIA,
.
,
. . , . ' omey GeDeta~ OLe (A.ilg. z. ZOe41("AugtlSI 2
, lIer"); Letter from
·a
'Cotinse!, C l A , t
" o "sttntMlornoy
_n
Genelll!, Ole
. etc> er12/fef');Le!t<1fro
Associ.!e Genelll! Counsel, CIA,
tQ Dan Levin, Acting Assistan
orner
OLC (Oci: , c i a or 2"-"lIer 'J. Severa! of
the techniqlies are described and disrussod in an earlier memorandum (0 you. See M~.ror.John Ri=,
,

Gener.i~

.Acting·Gen ernlCo!uL5CI .Cen[ljll TntelUgence.Agenq,JromJayS. Byhet,

A5S!st3m~·Attomey General·

OOjceQf

Legal Counso~ R" Interrogation ofal Qaeda Operative (Aug. 1, ~()()~) llnterrogar/an Memorandum") (TS). We
bave separately reanalyzed aU techniques in the prese11t m~1llQrandum, and we "il111ote beiow where aspects of
particular tecltniques differ troIli t1i6Se ad~Ssejl in the Interrogation Memorandum. Hi oroefloavoitl·an1
,
confusion in this extrell1ely sensitive and important area, the discussions or Ute statUte in the )004 Legal Standards
Opfhionand this memorandum supersede that in the Interrogotion Memarondum; howe",r,thismemornldum
confirms the conclusion oflnierrogaliOff MemorOl1aum that 1I1e use ofthese techniques on a particular high v4iue al
QaC<;Ja detainee, ~bjecl to the limitations iJnpoSed herein, would pol violate sections 2~4Q.2HeA. In some caseo
additi01"'1 facts set f6Mbelow ~ve been provided to us in communications with CIA persorineI. The CIA has
reviewed this memorandumand cooJlll1led the aCC\lnlC)' ofllie descriptions andlirnitlUons. Our analysis assum<;S
, adherence to theSe descriplionsand liruitatiOllS.
.

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1. DietarjlllrJilip!ilalion.· T4J5 technique ilivo[ves thesubslitution ofcommercialljquid
meal.repla~ments for normal food, presenting detainees with abland, unappetizing, but
nutrWonally coIDt;lete diet. .You have info:me? us thattheC~ believes dietary
ulation

m_ni
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makes other techmques, such as sleep depnvatlon, more effective. See August ~5
.leifer at 4. Detainees on dietary manipulation
permitted as !!luch water asthey want. .In
general, minimtjro daily fluid and nutritional requirements are estimated using the following
formula:

are

•

Fluid requirement: 35 mllkgfdlly. This· may be increased depending on. ambient
temperaiure, body tel!lperamre, and level of activity. Medical officers must monitor
fluid intake, and although detainees are allowed as lnuch water as they wan~
.
monitoring ofuriIl.eo\ltput may beneq:s$aIy in the unlikely event that the officers·
suspect that the detllinee is becoming dehydrated. •

• CalOrie requirement: The CIA generally follows as a guideline a calorie require~ent
of900 kcaVday + 10 kcaJJkglday. This quantity is multiplied by 1:2 for a sedentary
activity level orJ.4·:fon moderateacliVity level. Regardless of this formula, the
recommended minimum calorie intake is 1500 k<;alJday, and in no event is the
detainee Illiowed to receive less than 1000 kcalJday." Calories are provided using
commercial liquid diets (such asEl1S\l(e Plus), which also supply other essential
nutrients and make for nutritionally complete meals:"

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Medical officers are required to ensure adequate fluid and nutritional intake, and frequent.
inedicalmonitodng takes place while any detahlee 1> undergoing dietary manipulation. All
detairtees ar~ weighed weekly, and in the unli~ely event that a.detainee Were to lose more than I 0
percent pfhis body weight, .the restricted diet y;ould bediscontinued...

2: NUdity. This techniqueis used to cause. psychological discomfort, particularlyifa
detainee,for cultural or otherrea.sofl$,is especially modest When the technique is emplpyed,
clotbing can be provided as antnstantTewatdforCOQ~rati9n. During and \letween interrogation
sessions, a detainee may be kept nude. provided thatambient temperatures and the· health otthe
detainee pera:niLForthisteCi!lnlqueto be employed, ambienttemperaiure must be at least0a"F."
No sexual abuse or threatsors\lwal.abuselire~rmitted. Althoughescll detentioneelLhasfulltime clQs«!::.circuit yjdeomonit.orlng,ithe detainee is not intentionally exposed to other detainees
or u~y eiqio·sed to tile detention:filcility staff. W(understand tha:finreITogators "are tramed to
.......~----.,..~--J.OI!)w'ft_rls:-rjs"lii11ie"'ud_OJrnie"lrP111equirel:ni;1lC fOI ItLal~re-crA ptesently haS nO ferna:1e detaiIl~. - - - - - - - - - " While detaineos subject to dietaiy manipoJ~tion are obviously situated differently from individuals who
voluiltatily ellgagdll ctiffime·rcialwelg!it-lbSS progt;(iiis, we note tl13fWid¢ly available COl1U1lercial Weight-loss
prognuns in the United States employ diets of 1000 kcal/day for sustained peOOO.s ofweel;s orjonger without
requiring liledical supervision_ While we do nol equate coounelcial weightloss programs and this interrogation
technique, the fact that these calorie levels are used in the weight-loss programs, in our view, is instructive in
evaluatingthemedical safely ofilie intarogation t"'lu<jque.
12 You lurve inf<i~it is very ~nfikely that n~djly would be eJUllloYed at ambient t,rnperature5
below 75'F. See Ocro••r 1~l1eratL Forpl!iporesofour onalysis, however, we will assume Utat

ambienttemperatures, rrta.ybeas
. ,lowaS6"SOF.
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al innuendo or any acts of implicit or explicit sexual degradation." October 12
Irer at 2. Nevertheless, interrogators can exploit the detainee's fear ofbeing seen
,n
. n addition, female officers involved in the interrogation process may s~e the detainees
naked; and for purposes of our analysis, we wi!! assume tfuit detainees subjected to nudity as an
,interrogation teoltnique are aware that they may be seen naked by females.

M

'J. AttentiOn grasp. This technique consists ofgrasping the individual with both hands,
one hand on each side oftne collar opening, in a controlled and quick motion. Intlie same
motion as the grasp, the individual is drawn toward the interrogator.

4. Walling. This technique involves the useofa.flexible, false wall.' The individual is
placed with his heels touching the flelcible walt. The interrogator pull£,thCindividual forward
and then quickly and firmly pushes the individual into the wall. Ids the indlviduil-l's shoulder
blades that hit the wan. During this motion, the head and neckaresupported with a rolled hood
or towel that provides a C~l1ar effect to help prevent Whiplash. To reduce.further the risk of
injury, the individual is allowed to rebound from the flexible wall. You have infonned us that
the false wall is also constructed to create aloud noise when the In<jividual hits it in order to
incr..,ase,the shook or surprise ufthe technique. Weurtderstand that walling may be used when
the detainee is uncooperative or unresponsive to questions from interiogators.,' Depending on the
eXtent ofthe detainee's lack of cooperation; he may be v.'a1ledone time dUring an interrogation .
session (one imp~et with the wall) or many times (perhaps 20 or 30 times) consecutively. We
understand that this teclmique is not designed to, and does no~ cause severe pain, even when
used repeatedly as you have described; Rather" it is designed to wear down the detainee and to
shock or surprise the detainee and alter his expectations about the treatment he believes he will
, receive. In particular, wespeciftcally understand that the, repetitive use ofthe waIling technique
is intended, to contribute to the shockand drama of theexpenence,to dispel a detainee's
expectations that interrogators will not use increasing levels offorce, and to wear down his
resistance. It is not intended tlX-and based on experience you have informed us that it does
not-:-inflict any injury or' cause severe pain, Medical and psycholollical Personnel are physically
presel)t or otherwise observing wher;teverthts technique is applied (as they are with any .
interrogation technique inVOlving physicillcontact with the detainee).
'
5. Facial hold. This technique is used to hold the head immobile duting interrogation.
One open palm is placed on either side ofthe individual's mce. The fingertips are kept well
away from the individual's eyes.

'~~-'FC!ctal slap orfnsulf slap; Withthisteehriique, the interr<5gatorslaps the individual'~
face with fingers slightly spread, The hand m,akescontact wi.ththe area directly betweell the tip
..,...-~-~"~' ='.' ef-the-iild~-llncl-thebetteffi ef-theeeffesp<>~diflg-eaf!ebe. The iR-tefregatBHll\ll&s-~"",,-­
"invades" the individual's "personal space." We un(1erstand that the goal of the facial slap is not
to inflict physical pain that is sev;:r<lor lastin~. Instesd,thepurpose ofthe facialslapi~toinduce
shock, ~rprise, or humiliation. Medical and psychological pers<:innel are.physically present or
otherwise obserVing whenever this .technique js applied.
7. Abdominal slap. In this technique,the interroga.tor strikes the abdomen of the
detainee with the back ofhis open liand. The interrogator musthave no rings or other jewelry on

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his hand. TheinterrogatodsPosition~d directly in front of the detainee; genernIJyno more t~
18 inches from the detainee. With his frngers held tightly together and fully extended, and with
his palm toward the interrogator's own body, using !lise/bow as a fIXed pivot point, the
.
~nterrogator slaps the detainee in the detainee's abdomen. The interrogator maynot use a fist,
and the slap must be delivered above the navel and below the sternum. This technique is used to
wndition a detainee to pay attention to the interrogator's questionS and to dislodge expectations
that the detainee will not be touched. It is not intended to-:-and based on experience you have
informed us that it does not-infliet any injury or cause any significant pain. Medical and
psychological personnel are physically present or otherwise observing whenever this technique is
applied.
.

.
8.. Cramped confinement, This leohnillue involves placing the individual in.aconfined
space, the dimensions Ofwhieh teWict theiildividual's movement. The confined space is
usually dark. The duration ofconfinemenrvaries based upon the site ofthe container. For the
largerconlined space, thldndividua! can stand liP or sit down; the smaller space is large enough
for the subject to sit down. Confinement iii the larger spare may last no more than 8 hours ata
tim.e for no more tlta,n 18hour~ aday; for the smaller space, confinement may lastilo more tlta,n
t\Yo hours. Limits'ottthe duration ofcramped Confinement are based on considerationsofthe
detainee's size and weight,. how he respcndsto the technique, and Continuing consultation
· betWeen the interrogators and OMS officers,"
.

9. Wall stanJihg. This t~nique is used only to induce temporary musele fatigue. The
inllividuaJ stands about fOur to five feet from a wall, with his feet spreall approximately to
shoulder width. His arms are stretched out in fronl of him, with .his fingers resting on the wall
and supporting his body weight. The individual is not permitted to move or reposition his hands
or feet.
'
10. Stress positions. There are three stress positions that may be used. You have
informed us thatthese positions .are nqt designed to produce the pain associated with qontortions
or twisting ofthe body. Rather, like wall standing, t&eyare designed toproducethephysical
discomfort associated with temporary musqlefatigue. The three stress positions are OJ sitting on
the floor with legs extended straight out in front and arms raised above the head. (2) kneeling on
the floor while leaning back at;t 45 \!egtee angle, and(J) leaning against a wall generally about
· thr~ feet aWaY from the detainee's feet, with only the detainee's headtouching the wall, while
his.~ts arelian,dcuffM in front ofliiro od'iehind his back, and white an interrogator stands
next to him to preven.t injury ifhe loses his balance. A$ with wall standing, we understand that
these positions are used only to induce tem(!QI.llQ'.Jl1ll",seillle,,"!illl•.uti~gtJ.lle'c.
. 1J. Water dousing. Cold water is poured on the detainee either.frorna container or from
a hose without a nozzle: This technique is intended to weaken t~e det~inee's resistance and
persuade him to cooperate with interrogators, The water poured on the detainee must be potable,
I'lnJnferrogaljo~ Memorandum. weafso~dd=edlhe USe QfharmJess in= placed in a confinement
box and concluded th.11 itdid not violale lheSlalule. Wcundetdand that-for reasons unrelated to any j:Qncern that
· it might Violate 1M statutc-lhe CIA. never used that technique and has removed itfrom the list of aulhQrized
interrogation t~qu~; accordingly, we do not addre$ it agam here.
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and the interrogators must ensure that water does not enter the detainee's nose, mouth, or eyes.
A medical officer must observe and monitor the detainee throughout application ofthis
teehnique, including for signs ofhypotherrnia. Ambienttemperaturos must remsin above 64°P.
lfthe detainee is lying on the floor, his head is to remain vertical, and a poncho, mat, or other
material must be placed between him and lhefloorlo minimiZll theloss ofbody heat. At the
conclusion of the Water dousing session, the detainee must be. moved to a heated room if
. n~sary to petrilit his body temperature to return to nonnaJ ina safe manner. To ensure an
adequate margin ofsafety, the maximum period Oftin)e tbat a detainee may be permitted to
remain wet has been set at twQ-thirMthe lime at Which, based6n extensive medicallitetaltJre
·and experience, hypothermia could be expected to develop in healthy individuals who are
submerged in water of the same temperature. For example, in employing this technique:
• For water temperarure of41°F, tot.al duration of exposure may not exceed 20 minutes
without drying and rewarming.
• For water temperarure of50°F, total duration ofexposure may not exceed 40 minutes
without drying and rewarming..
• ·For water tempetarure of 59°P, total d~ration ofexposure may not exceed 60 minutes
without drying and rewarming.
The minimunrpermissibletemp<:rature ofthe water used in water dousing is 41°F,
though you have informed us that in practice the water temperature is generally not below 50"F,
since tap water ratberthan refrigerated water is generally used, We understand that a version o!
water dousing routindy·used in SERE training is much more extreme inthatifinvolves complete
immersion ofthe i.ndividual in cold water (where water temperatures may be below 40°F) and is
usually performed outdoors where ambient air tefi)peratures maybe as low as WOP. Thus, the
. SERE training version involves a far greater impact on body temperature; SERE training alsO
. involves a situation where the water may enter the trainee's nose and mouth."

You. have also desc~ibed a variation ofwater dousing involving much smaller quantities
6fwater; this variation is known as "flicking." Flicking ofwater is achieved by the interrogator
-Wetting his fingers and then flicking them at the detainee, propelling droplets at the detainee.
Flicking ofwater is done "in an effon to create a distracting effect, to a M•tartle,
'
to
irritate, to instill humiliation: Or to cause temporary insult." October 22
• Iler at 2,
The_eMed in the '~icking" variation o.fWater dousing also mus(.bep<>ta e and within the
water and I\l1lbient air. temperature ranges for water dOllsing desCiibed .above. Although water
_.~.~~ .., .-,;mr.:a~y;;-bT.e;",fl;:;-i;:;c;;::;ked-;;·-;i:,;n;;:to:::,t~he:-;d;;:e-;:ta:-i~nee::~'s;-f;",ac::ce",w,,::-ithf':·",thi;::·s:"v±a:;.,fi:;.at:::io:.:n±,::th""e",fl",ic:::k:iin:::g",o",f.w.",a;:-te;r;r:;:;a;rt;;:al;;:lt:-il1l,.;;cs;;-i,;;s,-_
done in such a manner as to avoid the inhalation or ingestion ofWater by the detainee. see fa

" See October 12_lt<1 at 2·,. Olmparl'on of the time limits for water dOU$ing with those used
in SERE !mining is samew . t . cult as we understand !hat H,e SERE training time limits are based on the ambient
air tClUpeI1lturerather tiM water temperature.
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1.2. Sleep deprivation (more tlKm 48 hours). This technique subjects a detainee to an
extended period without sleep. You have infoimed us that the primary purpose oftms technique
is to weaken the sUbject and wear down his resistance.
The primary method of sleep deprivation involves the Use ofshac1ding to keep the
detainee awake. In this method, the detainee is standing and is handcuffed, and the handcuffs.are
attached by a length ofchain to the ceiling. The detainee's hands are shickled in front ofhis
· body, so thatthe detainee hasapproximately a two- to three-foot. diameterof movement. The
detainee's feet are shackled 'to a bolt iMhe. floor. Due .care is taken to ensure that the shackles
. are neither too lQose nor toO tight for physical sa:fety. We understand from disCtlssions with
OMS that the shaCkling does not result in any significant physical pain for me subject. The .
detainee's hands are generally between the level oflus heart and· his chin. In some cases, the .
detainee'shands.may be raised 'abOve the level ofms· head', but only for a period ofup to two
hours. A1I' ofthe detainee's weight is borne by his legs and. feet during standing sleep
deprivation. You have informed \IS mat the.de(ainee is not allowed to han'g from 'or 'support his
.. body weight with the shackles. Rather, We understand that me shackles are only used asa
passi\Ce means to'keepthc detainee standing and thus to prevent him from falling asleep; should
the detainee begin to faU asleep, he will lose his balance and awaken, either because of the
sensation of losing his balanpe or because oithe restraining tension ofthe shackles. The use of
this passive means for kecplng me detainee awake avoids the need for using means that would
require interaction with the detalnee and might pose a danger ofphysical harm.
We understand from you that no detainee subjected to this technique by the CIA has
· suffercd any harm or injury, either by falling down and forcing the handcuffs to bear his weIght
or in any other way" You have assured ustbat detainees are continuously monitored by closed.' oircuit television, so that if a detainee were unable-to stand, he would immediately be removed
.from the standing position and would not be permitted to danile by his 'wrists. We understand
that standing sleep deprivation may cause edema, or swelling, in the lower extremities because it
· forces detainees to stand for an extended period oHime, OMS has advised us that this condition
· is no.t painful, and that the .conditIon disappears quickly once the detainee is permitted to lie
down, Medical personnel carefi.JUy monitor any d~ainee being subj$lcled to standing sleep
deprivation for indications ofedcma or other physical or psychological conditions. The OMS
GUideltnes include extensiVe discussion 0V medical monitoring ofdctainees being subjected to
shackling and sleep deprivation, and mey include specific instructions for medical personnel to
req~ altwlative, non-standing positions or to take other actions, including ordering the
cessatIon of sleep depnvation, in order to r¢lieve or avoid serious edema or other significant
medical cond.itioTls, See OMSGuicklinesaJ.14·16.
rnlieu of standing sle<;p deprivation, a detainee may instead be seated onalJd shackled to
". ·a·small··steaL ,r-he-stool-sllpport8{hedetain~w¢ifl'htj··out-ls-too-small.tG.pernlit..th~suoje-ct.to. ....
balance himself sumciently to be able to go to sleep, Qnrare occasions, a detainee may also be
restrained in a horizontal position when necessary to enable recovery from edema without
interrupting me course of sleep deprivation,15 We understand that these alternative restraints,
'(

" SI*'ifiC1llty, you haye informed us Uu(l on !hree occasions early in the program. ille interrogation team
and'the attendant nv;dical offi~rs identified the p¢lenlialfor unaeteplable edema in the lower fimbsaf detainees

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alth~ugh uncomfortable, are not significantly painful, according to the experience and
judgment ofOMS and other personnel.

ptof~sional

We under$tand that a detainee undergoing sleep deprivation is generally fed by hand by
'CIA personnel so that he need !lOt be unshackled; however, "[iJfprogI'ess is made during
!nterrogation, the intCITo_tors
may unshackle the detain.ee and let, him feed himself as a pO.$itive
incentive," October 12
tter at 4. If the detainee is clothed, he wears an adult diaper
under his pants. Detainees su 1ect to sleep deprivation who are also subject to nudity as a '
separate interrogation technique will at times be nude and wearing a diaper. If the detainee is
wearing a diaper, it is checked regularly and c~anged as necessary, The use of the diaper is for
sanltlll)' and health purpose,s of the detainee; it is not u$Cd for the: purpose of humiliating the
detainee, and it is not considered to be an intenogation technique. The detainee's skin condition
'is monitored, and diapers ,are changed as needed so that the detainee does not remain in a,soiled
diaper, You have informed us that to date no detainee has experienced any skin problems
r~ulting from use of diapers,
'
The maximum all<;>wable duration for sleep qeprivation authorized by,the CIA is 180
hours, after which the detainee must be permitted to sleep without interrup(ion for at least eight
hours. You have inforlned us that to date, more than a dozen detainees have b,eeo subjected to
sleep deprivation of more·than 48 hours, and three detainees have been subjected to sleep
deprivation of moie than 96 hours; the longest period \Jftime for which any detainee has been
deprived of sleep by the CIA is 180 hours. Under ,tl)e CIA's guidelines, sleep deprivation could
, be resumed after a period of eight hourS ofuninterrupted sleep, but onlyjfOMS personnel
, specifically determined that there are' no medical or psychological contra!ndications based on the
detainee's condition at that time. As discussed below, however, in this memorandum we will
evaluate only One application ofup to 180 hours of sieep deprivatlonY

undergoing .landing sleep deprivation, lID:! in orderto~rmitthe limbs to r~ver.wi!ltOlltjmpa)ring interrogation
requirwents,lhe subj~ underwenth_"
. ~tio:LF.xfor Steven G. llradbury, Prinelwl)eputy
AssiSlanIM'.Generll~OLC,li'o
$Si$iantGeneral Co~nsel, CIA, at Z(Apr. ZZ, Z005)
C'Apri12i
Qx"), In bOrizon~$leep epnvauol1, e taln~is placed prone on lhetlooron tOp ofalJJlck
towel orb et(aprccaution d%igncdtp pre\'ent reiluClion ofbody t¢ll!p¢ralUrethro~ dit'¢etconlaCl willi the cell
floor), The detain..,'s handsilTemanac1<:d tog¢tberand the lU1I1S placed in, an Oulstretch<dpositioll~lilier extenderl
beyo~lW3iH>T e><lendt'i toeilhotsiM oflhebody-and anchored to a[arpoint on the floor in such a nlal)l\<:r
Iilat the ant)S cannotbe bent or US<;d for balan'" or wmfort, AJ lhe same time, tile ankles are shackled toged",r and
the legs are extended in a straight line with the body and also anchored to afar point on fi,e JlOOt in such ~ maMer
--~---~' -'tll1lH:heicgs camrot be benl-orusedfof-bal""", olcomfu!Hd:--'filti"!",,,e speeif108l~ ...s,lh.l.{.t1",·....m"'Wl.iIw.acc""le",s- - - 5\ld sllJlekles are anchored \\ithoot llI:!ditioMl strels on any .of tile arm or legjoi nts tllat.miglrt force tile limbs beyond
oa.tu.rJll.e.XlensiQn.l>,=I~=yjQjl!!.JdJAAposition is sufficic1!1!Y uncomfortable t~ detain~ to__
deprive them of unbroken sleep, while allowing their lower limbs to recover from the effects'ofstanding sleep
deprivation,. We understand th3t all standard preq!uiions and procedures for Shaclding llfe observe<! for bOth hands
and feel while iilthis positi01l. Id. You 4ave infonned Us tllathorizontal Sleep deprivation has been used until tlte
d<la,inee's affected limbs have demoaslrnted sufficient reo:lvery to return to sittihg or standing steep deprivation
mode; as warranted by the req,uire~ts of (he interrogation team, ""d subje«t to adetermination by the medical
Officer th3t there is no eontraindication to resuming other sleep deprivation modes. Id.
" We express no view on whether anyfurt!ler use of s~, deprivation foUowing a 180'hour appHcaHon of
the teehniquellltd 8hollIS ofsJeep would v!olate~ons.2340·1340A
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You have informe,tuB that detainees are closely monitored by the interrogatiM team at .
all times (either directly orby C1osed.-cirwit video camera) while being subjected to sleep
deprivation, and that these personnel will intervene and the technique will be discontinued if
.there are medical orpsychologicalcontraindications. Furtharmore, as with all interrogation
. tecl\niques' used by the.CIA, sleep deprivation 'will not be used on any detainee if the prior
medical and psycbological asseasment reveals any contraindications.
13. The "waterbOqrd." lil this techniqlle, t!Ie detainee is lying on a gurney that is
.inclined at an angle of! 0 to I5 degrees to the honzontal, with the detainee on his back a1ld his
head toward the lower end oftheglll1ley. A clotn is placed over the detainee's face, and cold
water is poured on tbe cloth from a height otapproximately § to 18 inchei,. The wet cloth creates
a barrier through which it is difficiJlt-<lr in some cases not pcssible-to breathe. A single
"application" ofwater may not last for more than 40 seconds, with the duration of an
"application" measured from the moment when water-,Qfwhatever quantity-js first poured
'~loth until the moment0e ct?t~ i~ removed from the .subJect's fac,e, ,See A~gusl J9
~tler at 1. When ilietime hmlt is reached, the pounng ofwater is ImmedIately
, discontinued and the cloth is removed. We understand that inbe detainee makes an effQft to
'defeat the teclmique (e,g" by twisting his head to the side and breathing out of the comer of~is
mouth); ihe interrogator may cup his hands around the detainee's nose and mouth to dllll1 ilie
runoff, in' which.case it would not be possible for ilie detainee to breailie duril)g the application
.ofthe water. In addition, you have infonned mthat ilie technique may be applied in a manner to
defeat,efforts by the detainee to hold his breath by, for Cl>ample, beginning an application of
water as the detainee is exhaling, Either in the normal application, or where countermeasures are
, used, we understand that water may enter-and may accumulate in-the detainee's mouth and
nasal cavity, preventing him from breathing," In addition, yOu have indicated that the detainee
asa countermeasure may swallow WIIter, possibly in significant q1;1antities. For that reasoO;
based on advice of medical personnel, the CIA requires that saline solution be used instead of
plain water to reduce the possibility of hyponatretnia (Le., reduced concentration ofsodium in
.the blood) ifiliedetainee drinks the water.

We ullderstand that ilieeffect ofilie waterboard is to induce a sensation ofdrowning,
This sensation is based on adeeplpoo,ted physiological response, Th",s, the detainee
el<Periences this sensation even ifhe is awarethat he Is not actuaUy droWlJing, We are, informed
, tha~n.extensi1(.e expericnce,ilie processis n9t physkany painMbut that it usually does
cause fear and panic, The waterboard !las been used many thousands oftimes in SEB.E training
..
, provided to American military personnel, though in that context it is usually limited to one or
-------·-twd applicauons of no mot¢ thlU14iT:rei;;urtds-s.1l<eaIt,,;hIL:"i''------"~-----------11 In llIost applications ofthis techniqae,including as it is asedin SERE training, itawoars tiJalthe
individual1J!ldergolng the technlqu~is nol in fact comPletely prevented from b~thing, bulhis airflow is restrIcted
by ilie ivetdoth, creating asensation ofdrownillg, &~ JG Report atl5 ("Airflow is restrIcted, . , and the lechnique
pl)lduces the sensation of drowning and sull'oca.tion."), for pwposes ofour anatysis, however, we wilt'aSsu!ne that
Ute individual is unable to brealhe during the entire period of any application of water during Ute watetboan! .
teclmique,
" The!Jlspector General wss. Qiticalof tile relian", on the SERE' experience mill Ihe waterooard in light
of l!Hise and other differences in ilie applieaUoll ofilie technique. We oiscuss the Inspector Generill'~criticisms

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You have explained that the waterboard technique is used onlyif: (1) the CIA has
credible intelligence that a terrorist attack is imminent; there are "substantial and credible
indicators the sUbject has actionable intelligence that ~n prevent, disrupt or delay this attack";
and (3) other interrogation methods have'failed or are unlikely to yield actionable intelligence in
time to prevent the attack. See Attaclunentto August 2 Rizzo.tetter. You have also infortned us
that the waterboard may be approved for use with a given detainee only during, at most, pne
single 30-day period, and that during that period, the waterboard technique may be used on no
rnorethan five days. We further understand that .in anY 24.hour period, interrogators may use no
. more than two 'sessions" ofilie waterboard on a subject-with a "session" defined to mean the
time that the detainee is strapped to the waterboard-and thaI no session may last more than two
.hours, Moreover, during any session, the number of individual applications ofwaterlasting 10
's~nds or longer may not exceed six. As noted above, the rnaxilllllm length of any application
ofwater is 40 s~nds (you have informed us that this maximum has rarely been reached).
. ' F.inaIlY, the total cumulative time ofal.·.·ons of whatever length in a 24-hOU.r .periOd may
. not exceed 12rninutes. See August 19 .
• tterat 1·2, We understand that these.
limitations ha~e been estabHshedwith extensive input from OMS, based on experience to'date
with tbis technique and OMS's professionsljul:lgment thst use ofthe waterboard ona healthy
individual subject to these limitations would be "medically acceptable," See OMS Gttidelines at
18·19.
.

m

During the use of the waterboard, a physician and a psychologist are present at all times.
The detainee is monitored to ensure that he does not develo>, respiratory distress. If the detainee
is not br~thing freely after the cloth is removed from his face,he is immediately moved to a
vertical position in 9rder to clear the water ftom bis mouth, nose, and nasopharynx. The gurney
tlsedfor administering this technique is specially designed so that tWs can be accomplis4ed ver';
quickly if necessary.. Your medical personnel have explained that the use ofthe waterboard does
pose.A small risk of certain potentially significant medic;al problems and tbat certain measures are
taken to avoid or address such problems. Fjrs~ a detaineeniight voinit and then aspirate the
emesis. To reduce this risk, any detainee On whom this te;mmque will be used is first placed on a
. liquid diet. Second, lhe detainee might aspirate some of the water, and the resulting water. in the
lungs might lcadlo pneumonia. To Illitigatethis risk, a potable saline solution is used in the
.procedure. Third, it is conceiv~ble (though, we understand from OMS, highlyunlikell') that a
detainee could suffer SpaSlt\S ofthe larynx that w()!,lld prevent him from breathing even when t\le .
ap~ioll,,ofwater iSJ)topped and the detainee is returned to an upr.ight position. In the event of
such Spasms, a qualified physician would iirtmediately intervene to -aadress the problem, and, if
necessary, the intervening physician would perform a tracheotomy. Although the risk ofsuch
-~~--~'515pmatsSlrnll,,",s-iS"COnsidered-r~titpJl~~ever-oc-{;\lFFed
in tll()lJ5~f4nstances of SERE
training), we are informed that the necessary emergency medical equipment is always present"-altbough·notvisible·to th~detf.inee-<luring·any-appjjoation.of.the.waterb(lard, ..see..gel1erallyid.
at 17-20."
.
further belQW. MOte<lver, as noted above, theyery ((ifferent situations of detainees undergoing interrogation and
milillDy I"'l'Oooel undergoi"l> lnining.C<JUllSe!. against undue rwance On the experience in SERE training. That
experience isne~rtheless of some valUe in evaluating thelechni'lU~.
19 OMS identified other p<>tential risks:

16

.•

•••

~.~

... _ . . . . . . .

~n'V.

"'''''''''<:>3'11;1

t'

1 (

T~T~q,roRN·

,
f

We understand that ill many years ofUs+ on tho\lsands of participants in SERE training, . .
tlie watcrboard technique (although used in aSUibstantially mor~ limited way) has not resulted in
any cases ofseriousphysica1 psinor prolonged ~enta1 harm. In addition, we understandtbat the
. waterhoard has been used by the CIA on three "gh level at Qaedadctainees, two ofwhom were
subjected to the technique numeroustiines, and acoording to OMS, none ofthese three . . .
imlividuals has shown any evidence of physical pain or suffering or mental harm in the more
than 25 months since the"techniq\lc was used 0 them. As noted, we understand that OMS has
been involved in imposing strict limits on the u e ofthewaterboard, limits that, when oombined
wite. careful monitoring, in their professional ju gmentshould preven'! physical pain or suffering
or mental harm to a detainee, In addition, we u derstand that any detainee is closely monitored
by medical aoo psychological personnel whene er the waterbOard is applied, and that there are
additional reporting requirements beyond the n nual reporting requirements in place when other
interrogation toohniques are used. See OMS a"[dellnes at.

I
I
I
I
I

20:

· r ·

As noted, all ofthe interrogation techniques described above are subject to numerous
. restrictions, mitnybased on input frbrn OMS. ciur advice in this memorandum is based on our
. understanding that there will b~ careful adheren· to all ofthese guidelines, restrictions, and
. safeguards, and that ther" will be ongoing mom rlngand reporting by the team, including OMS
medical arid psychol<lgical personne~ as well as prompt interventiou by a teammem~er; as
necessary, to prevent physical distress or mental harm so significant as possibly to amount to the
'~severe physical or mental p~in or suffering"
tis prollibited by seCtions 2340-2340A. Our
.advice is also based 00 our llndersfanding that ,interrogators who will use these techniques are
adequately trained to understand that the authon d use ofthe toohniques is not designed or
intended to cause severe physical or mental pain or suffering, and also to understand and respect
the medical judgment of OMS and the impertan role tbat OMS personnel play in the program.

. . You asked for our advice concernlnl! th~e interTo~ques in conneetion with
their use ona spooific high value.al Qaeda detal· eo nam~Youjnformed us.that the
. In our limJted exporience, exlensive ~ of the waterlx>atd can inlrOdue<: new risks.
.Most seriously, for re;,sollS of physical fatigue 0 psyChological resignation, U,e ,ubject lUay
.
silJ!J1!y give up, alloWing excessivefiUing of !he . ys and losso! consciousness. An
""""tliir~p6risivesubfectshould' tie righted iinnlOOia~' Ir, and the intctrogatorShould deliver a sub·
xyphoid dllUSl to expel dIe water. If this fails 10 estore normal breathing, aggressive medical
intervention is roqulred. Any subject who has ched this de . ofcompromise is not .
.

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& ~ e d & 's plans to launch an attllCk within the United .
States. Aceoidingt~dextensive conneciions to various al Qaeda .

~~~e:~:~s::~t~:I_d~CU:~~~~:~;:~'"

Letter at 2.3. You advised liS that medical and psychological assessments~ere
. com~l~ed by a CIA p~d psychologist, and that based o~ this exa~tn~tlo~ t~e
physIcian concluded ~edlcally stable'and has no medical <:ontramdlcatlons to
interrogation, including the use oHntetTo'
.qucsn addressed in this memorandum."
Medical andPsychological Assessm
ached to August 2 Rizzo Leiter at I."
The psychological assessment found
w8.Salert and oriented~centration and
attention were appropriate." Id alZ. The psychologist further foun~tllolight
processes were clear and logical; there was no evidenee of a thought disorder, delusions, or .
hallucinations[, and tJhere were not Significa.n~f depression, aniiety or other mental
disturbance:' Id. The psycholoJl;ist evaluated_'psychologically stable, reserved and
defensive," and "opined'thatthere was no. evidenlle that the use ofthe ap~terrogation
methodS would caus;any severe or prolonged psychological disturban~ iii. at Z. Our
conclusions depend on these assessments, Before using the techniques.onother detainees, the
CIA would need to ensure, in each case, that all medical and psychological assessments indicate
that the detainee is fit to undergo the use of the interrogation techniques.
II.

Section 2340A provides that ,,[wJhoever outside the United States commits or attempts to
commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and
ifdeath results to any. person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by
death or imprisoned for any tenn of years or for life,"'; Section 2340(1) defines "torture" as "an

.
'" YOu bave advised us that lhew~tclboatd has not been ~c understand that there may bave
. been medical rc;aoollS agai!1st'usingthat teolllllquem his ~S¢. lJf oourse,ouradvice ~ssumes thatthewatelWard .
(;WId be used only in the absence ofmedical C<lnttaindlcations.
.~L-me··medical examlnationreported-"as obese, ~dthat he reponed ~ "5-6 ~r history. ofnon·
nnes
exertlonal chest pressurCli, whiCh are intonuittent, a~mpanied by nausea and deprossionan_
~_~ __~. .Jlw\h'''. Medical and P')'ChologicalAssessmenl 0J.-ttl, attached to Augusn Ri,w Uftr.
.
":-~<;1"", I"",el CiJIC>ulWd~QHhisproblem;"-and"WSS"unablCilNll\wiHing-te-W'mo,*p¢
I~ ut - - - - the frequency or intellSi1Y of the aforemen~onedsymptol11S." Id. He also reported suffering "long-term medical and
mentaLproblelUS~.fro1lla.mqtJlr X¢lJig.H~detlt~llllI!l.YY!<il~.aj;Q," .;m4~~JJ.\!!\ h~J""k1U~.i.ca.~~ as~!~ult of
thai accident until ten years ago. Id. He stated tllJlt he was not currently taking My medication,
aloo reported
secing 3 hysician lor 1d~.r.LlClllS that caused minto urinate.rnquently and co.m.Plained of a tootbache, ld.
The medical examinati0rlllllhoWed a rash on his cheS! and shouldm Md tliat "hi. nose~t were Cleat,
[and] his heart sounds were not'lilAl with no mupnUlSon~allops." ld, Tho ph~ician opin. . . . . .'likely has
some reflux esophagitis and mild check folliculitis, but doul>t[ed] iliat he has any coronary pathology." Id.·

B'

p.

22

Sectio~ 2J40A.prO'Vides in filII:
(a) Offinse.-Whoever outside tile United Stales commits or al\emjJlS t(l COlltmlt torture shall
befined.under this title or imprisoned not more llum 20 years, or buth,and if death results to any

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act oommitt1ld by a person acting under color of la,ws~iflcally intf!llded to inflict severe
physical or ment~l pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions)
upon another person within his roStody or physical control.""
Congress enact1ld sections 2340-234,OA to carry out the obligations oftbe United ~tates
under the CAT. See H.R. Coof Rep. No. 103·482, at 229 (1994). The CAT, amo!lg other
things, requires the United States, a state party, toel1SJlre that acts oftorture, alongwith
attempts and complicity to commit such acts, are crimes under U.S..Iaw. See CAT arts. 2, 4·5.
Sections 2340·2340A satisfy that requirement with respect to acts committed outside the United
Stnes," Conduct constituting "torture" within the United Slates already was-and remainsprohibited by various other federal and state~minal stafutes~

as

person from conduct prol.bited by Ihis ~on, shalIl>e punished by death. 0< imprisoned fur
any lena ofyears Or for life.
..
(b) ]urlsdlcdon.-There is jurisdlction over lhe activity prolu"bited in subsection (a) if(1) the alleged offender is a national ofthe Uniled Stales; or
, (2) '!he alleged offender!s preient In the United States, irrespective ofthe. rottonallty of
tbe victim or allegedotrender.

(c) Conspilaey.-'A person who conspires to oommitan offense undenhis section shall be
subject to U>e same penaIlies (otherlhen!he ~lty of dealh) as the penalties prescribed for the
offense, the commission of whicll was U", object of the COlli;jliraq.
1& U.S.C. § 2340A.
" Section 2340 provides in full:
As used in this chapt<t-

(1) "torturo" means an act committe<! by apersonacting1lllder color oflaw specifically
intended to inflict severe physical or menW pain or BUffering (other tfum pairl or suffering
incidental to laWftlJ Slllictions)'upon another person within his cusledy or physical control;
(2) "severe lnenul.p;lln or suffering" means the prolonged mentat harm caused by or resulring
from- .
(A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or sufferil:1g;

_-"7- . -(13) theadnlinislr;ltlon or application, or threatened admlnistration or application, of
--r"--·--__

--------~'-..

.

mirid-alteting substances or other procedures calC1Jlatedtb disrupt profoundly the senses or
the perSonality;
.
-·-----'(e]-the1hreaboHrominent-dealh;-or------·----- - - - - - (0) the lbreat!hat another person will inunlnent1y be subjected to destl!, severe plljsical.
pairlQ[~rl.n.g, 9(!J!p-,}!j,1!!WiMl,i9~ Q(lJIlP~<;atj£n ?f!'Jin~""I(eringSlJbstances or other
procedoro:s ealculated to disrupt profoundly the sensos or personality; and

(3) "United States" means the several States ofilie Unite<! States, the District of Columbia,
and Ute commonwealths, territories, and posseSsions ofthe UniteiJ Slates.
1&U.S.C. § 2340 (as amended by Pub. L. No. 108-375; 118 Sial 18t1 (2004».
" Congress limited the lemlotial teach of the federal torture statute by providing that Ille prohibition applies
only to conduct occurring "outside !he Unite(States," 1& U.S.C. § 2340A(a), whlch i,currently defined in the .

statule to mean outside "the several Stat~ ofthe UnitCi! Stalis,lhe Disttiet of Columbia, and the conunonwealths,
tenitories, and possessions oftbeQnited States" /d.§ 2340(3) (as amended by Pub. L. No. 108·375, 118 Stat. 1811

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The CAT defines "tdrl1.1re" so as to require the intentional infliCtion of"severe pain or
suffering, whether physical or menta!." Article 1(1) ofthe CAT provides:
·Forthe lJUrpllSe$Qfthis Convention, thetenn "torl1.1re" means any act by which
severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a
person for such purposes aswtaining from him or a third person infomiation or a
'confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person haS colJll11itted or is
suspe¢ted of!iavingcoOlmltted,or intimidating or coercing him or a third persoll,
or for'any reason based. on discrimination ofany kind, when such painor
suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the ~nsent or acquiescence
of II public official or other person acting in an Qfficial capacity, It does not
include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful
sanctions,
The Sellate included the following understanding!n its resolution of advice and consent
, to ratification of the CAT;
The United States understands that, in order to constitute torture, an act must be
spevifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering and that
mental pain or suffering refers to prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting
from (1) tlleintentional infliction.or threatened infliction of severe physical pain
. or suffering; (2) th,i"administration or application, or threatened administration or
application, of mind altering substances or otherpr®¢dure$ calculated to disrupt
profoundly the senses or the personali~; (3) tlle threatof'imrninentdeath; or
(4) thethreatthat another .person will imminently besubjec(edtodeatb,seYcre
physical pain or suffering, or theadminlstrat.ion or application of mind altering
substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or
personality,

. S, Exec. Rep. No. 101·30, at 36 (1990). This untlerstandingwas deposited with the,U,S,
instrument of ratification, see 18.30 U.N,T,S. 320(001. 21, 1994), and thus defines the scope of
. United States obligations under the treaty, See Relevance a/Senate Ratification History to .
Treaty II/terpretation, 11 Op. O.L.C. 28, 32-33 (1987), The criminal probibitionagalnst torture
tha;~es~.codifie<l.in 18 U.S,g, §§ 234~.2340AI~enerally tracks the CAT's definition of
torture, subject to the U.S,. understanding.. ' . .
,~

--_.
•• 1,.••••

~-'--'

-,.

--B-.. - . - . - - - - - - - - - - . - - -

Under the-language·ad0pted.by~ngress. in sections 234Qc2340.A, t90;0.ns~itut~ "!?rtur~,"
conduct must be "specifically intended to inflict Severe physical or mental pain or suffering," In
the discussion that follows, we will separately consider each ofthe principal components of this
key phrase: (I) the meaning of "severe"; (:l)the meaning of"severe physical pain or suffering";

(2.004)). You haVe advised US thallhe OA's use or \he t¢clmlqu~ ad~ in lhis melllQrandum would OCWT
~outside the United States" as defined in sections 2340·2340A.' .

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(3) the meaning of"severe mental pai~ or suffenng"; ~nd (4) the meaning of"specifically
intended."
.

(1) The meaning of "severe. "
Because the statute does not define "severe," "we consque [the} term in accordance with
its ordinary or natural meaning." FDIC v. Me~, 510 U.S. 411, 476 (1994). The common
understanding of the term "torture" and th¢context in which the statute was enacted also 'inform
our analysis. Dictionaries define "severe"(offen conjoined with "pain") to mean "extremely
violent or intense: severe]JaJn.n American Heritage Dictionary afthe English J..a1lguage 1653
(3d ed. 1992); see also XV OifardEnglish Dictionary 101(2d ed.1989) f'Ofpain, suffering,
loss, or the like: Grievous, m:treme" and "Ofcircumstances ... : Hard to sustain or endure.").
The common understanding of"toltl,lre" further suppOrts the statutory concept that the pain or
suffering m~st be severe. See Black's Li:rw Diclionary 1528 (8th ed. 2004) (defining "torture" as
"[tJh6 infliction of intense pain to the body or mind to punish, to extract a confession or
information,or to obtain sadistic pleasure") (emphasis added); Webster's Third New .
lntenmtionali)ictianary ofthe J!:ngllsh Language Unabridged 2414 (2002) (defining "torture" as
"t4e infliction of intense pain (as from bl,lmirig, crushine-, woundi'1g) to punish or coerce
someone") (emphasis added); Oiford rimer/can Dictionary and J..a1lguage Guide 1064(1999)
· (defining "lotJ:Ure"as"the infliction ofsevere:bodilypain, esp: as a punishment or a mea.ns of
pero\lasioo") (emphasis added). Thus, t!)euseofthe word "severe" ill the statutory prohibition
· on torture clearly denotes a seosaticm or coOdition that is extreme in intensity an<! difficult to
· ell.dure,

I

This interpretation is also consistent with the historical understanding oftorturo, wbich
has gonerally involved the' use of procedures and devices designed to inflict intense or extreme
pain. The devices. a!'ld procedures historically used were generally intended to cause extreme
· pain while notkillingtheperson being questioned (or at least. not doing soquiclcly) so tha.l
questioning could continue. Descriptions in Lor<1 Hope's lecture, "Torture," University of
Essex/Clifford Chance Lectuteat 7·8 (Jan. 28, ~004) (describing the "boot;" which involved
ClUsbing of the victim's legs and feet; repeated pricking with long needles; and thumhscrews),
and in Professor Langbein's·book, Torture and the Law ofProof. cited supra p. 2, make this
clear. As Professor Langbein summarized:
~~":'''''':::'"..

~•.•_.• , ~

~

..

,-,

The commonest torture devices-sti-appado; 'rack, thumbscrews, legscrewsworked upon tbe extremities of the body, either by distending or compressing
them, We may suppose tllat'lnes-e'1llt,-ol5nlf'torture-were'preferred-beeause·tBey--·." '" -..:._
were somewhat less likely to maim or kill than coercL9n directed to tbe trunk of
theoodY,afid'becaiJs"e1nejrWou1dlre·quiekiyadj\lsted·to take acco\lntofthe
victim's (esponses during the examination.
.

'TOP~T

.

TO~Tr~~
Torture and the Law ofProofat 15 (footnote omitted)."
The statute, moreover, was intendedio implement United ~tates obligations under the
CAT,which, as quoted above, defines "torture" as aets that intentionaUyinflict "severe pain or
suffering." CAT art. 1(1). & the S.enate Foreign Relations Committee explained in its report
recommending that the Senate consimt to ratification ofthe CAT:
The [CA.T] seeks to define "torture"in a relatively limited fashion, corresponding
. to tlle common understanding of torture as an extreme practice which is
universally condemned....

. . . The term "torture,". in United States and international usage, is usually
reserved for extreme, deliberate and unusually cruel practices, for example,
Sustained systematic beating, application ofelectric currents to sensitive parts of
the body" and tying up or hanging in positions that calise extreme pain.
S. Exec. Rep. No. iOl-30atIJ-14; See also Davit!P. Stewart, 11le torture Convention arid the
. Reception ofInternational CrimlMl Law Within Ihe United Slates, 15 Nova L, Rev, 449, 455
(1991) ("By stressing the extiemenature oftorture, . , , [the] defmition Iqftorturein the CAT]
describes a reiati"elylimitcd set ofcircull1stances likeiyto'beillega:tunder most, lfna! all,
domestic legal systems.").

Drawing distinctions among gradations of pain is obviously not an easy task, especially
given the lackof any precise, objective scientific criteria for measuring pain." We are given
some aid in this taskby judicial interpretations of the Tortuni Victims Protection Act ("TVP N'),
28.U.S.C, § 1350 note (2000). The TVPA, also enacted to implement the CAT, provides a civil
. remedy to victims oftorture. TheTVPA defines "torture" to include:
any act, directedagalnst an individual in the offender's custody or physical
control, by which severe pain or suf!erirlg (other \han pain or suffenng arising
1$ Weell1phatioally are not saying thatonly such histoiioal t~ques~rSim.l1ar ones--ean=titute
"torture" under sections 234~2340A. Bullhehistorica1u1\OOtsl2J1dingortorture is relevant l!i interpreting
CongresS's intwt in prohibiting'Ih~'Crlnie or':tortUre." Cf,MoriSselie v. United Stales,3.42 U.S. 246, 263 (1952).

•.......l.!..-Qtspitc ex1cnsii'e ~1fotts to dev~Jop obj<;ptiveCrltC£ia for measuring Min, there is no cleat, objective,
consistent measuremenL k; one publication explains:
.
Pain is a complex, subjectlve, pon:cptual phenomenon willi anumber ofdimensions-intCll$i(y, .
quality, tUtiecourse, Impact, andpersonat meaning' tJiMare U1ilqcrety'e~nd:diiy'eactrindivid""~- - - - arid, thus, can only beas'essed indirectly. Pain is a sUbjecti\'< experi,nce and {here is no way {e
.
objeclively -qtIanlify·il. ·ConseqU<l\dy,.assessmenlof-a{l'ltienes{l'lin deponds. Oll.~p;ttient: •.Qve[t
almmunicatiQns, \xJth vernal and behaviornl. Given pam's complexity, one must assess not only its
somatic (sensory) oomPonent but also patiO<\ts' moodS, attillJdes, coping efforts, resources, resPonses
offamily members, and the impact orpain on their lives.
. Dennis C. Turk, Assess the Person, Nor J~sllhe Pain, Pain: Clinical Updates, Sepl1993 (emphasis added). This
laCK of clarity further complicates the elfurt to define "severe" pain or suffering.

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only fromorinherent in, or incidental to, lawful ~anctions), whether physicalor
mental, is intentionally inflicted on that individual for sucft purposes as obtaining
from tftat individual or a third person information or a Confession, punishing tftat
individual for an act that individual or a third pe~on bas committed or is.
.
suspected ofhaving committed, intimidating or coercing tbat individual or athird
person, or for any reaSOn .based on discrimination of any kind ....
28 U.S.C. § 1350.note, § 3(bXl)(emphases added). The emphasized language is similar to
seotion 2340's phrase "severe pbysical or mental pain or suffering."" AJ; the Court of Appesls
for the District of Columbia Circuit has explained:
The severity requirement is <;IUcial to ensuring that the conduct proscribed by the
rCATJ and the TVPA is sufficiently extreme and outrageous to warrant the
universal condemnation that the tQrm ''torture'''b()th connotes and invokes. The
. dl1l,ft~rs ofthe [CAT], as well as the Reagan Administrlltion that signedi~t~e
Bush Administration that submitted it to Congress, and the Senate that ultimately
ratified it, therefore air sought to ensure that "only acts ofa certain gravity shall .
be considered to constitute torture."
The crlticld issue is the degree of paln and suffering that the alleged
torturer intended to, and actually did, inflict upon the victim. The more intense,
lasting, or heinous the agonY,the more likely it is to be torture.

,

Price v. Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahtrtya;294 FJd 82, 92-93 (D,C. Clr. 2002)
(citations omitted). The D.C. Circuit io Price concluded that a complaint that alleged beatings at
the h~nds ofpolic¢ but thiltdid not provide details concerning "the severity of plaintiffs' alleged
beatings,including thetrfrequency, duratk'o, the parts ofthe body at which they were aimed, and
the weapons used to carry them out," did not suffice "to ensure that [it] satisfl.ied] the TVPA's
·rigorous'definition of torture." Ide at 93. .
.
.
..

. ,

In Simpson v. Socialist People'S [,ibyan Arab Jamahiriya, 326FJdZJO(D,C.Cir. 2003),
.the D.C. Circuit again considered the types of acts that c·onstitute torture under the TVPA
definition. The plaintiff alleged, arnong othertbings, that Libyan authorities had held her
incommunicado and threatened to kill her If she tried to leave. See tel at 2n, 234. The court
aclcl1l\lil~ed that "these alleged acts certafiily reflect it bent toward cruelty on the pllrt of their
perpetrators," but, reversing the district court, went on to hold that "they are not in themselves so
_ _ _•

.l.lUD!m~ISiUJlUal1.¥-cOleI Of

s.ufficiently eKtrerUeand O!)ttageOllS asto constitntetortHre within tbe meaning:_.~ _ _

ofthe [TVPA]." IeL at 234. Cases in which .courts have found torture illustrate the extreme
.n:ature of c<:ludllct th.at falls witl:\ltl. the.statutQrydefinltion. Sec, e.g., Hilao v. &tgle o!Mwcos.,
103 F.:M 789, 790-91, 795 (9th elr. 1996) (collcluding that a course of conduct that included,
among other things, severe beatings ofplaintiff, repeated threats ofdeath and electric shock,
sleep deprivation, ~tendedshackUngtoa cot (attinies with a towel over his nose and mouth and
water poured down his nostrils), seven months o~ confinement in a "suffocatingly hot" and
" Sp:(iQn 3(\»(2) of Ute TVPA defilles "mental pain or suffering" usin~ sul1stantially identict\[langua~e to
section ZHQ{2)'S deftnltion of"srn~ mental pain orsuftering,"

TOP~RET~~~

I

•

(

cramped cell, and eight years ofsolitary or near-solitary collfinement, constituted torture);
Mehinovic v. Vuckovic, 198 F. Supp. 2d 1322, 1332-40, t345-46 (N.D, Ga, 2002)(concluding
UllIl a course of~nduCt that included,·ampng other things, severe beatings to the genitals, head,
and· other parts ofthe body with metal pipes, brass knuckles, batol1s, a baseball bat, and various
other items; removal of teeth with pliers; kicking in the face and ribs; breaking ofbones and ribs
and dislocation of fingers; cutting a figure into the victim's forehead; hangingthe victim and
beating him; extreme limitations of food and water; and subjection to games of"Russian
roulette," constituted torture); Dalil>erfi v. Republic a/Iraq, 146 F. Supp. 2d 19,22·23 (D.D.C.
ZOOl) (entering default judgment against Iraq where plaintiffs alleged, among other things,
threats of"physiC1l1 torture, such as cutting off•.. fingers, pulUng out ... fingernails," and
electric shocks to the testicles); CicippiO v. lslamie Republic ojlran, J1l F. Supp. 2d 62, 64~66
(p.D.C. -1998) (concluding that a course of conduct that included frequent beatings, pistol
.whipping, threats ofimminent death, electric shocks, and attempts to force confessions by
.playingRussian roulette and pulling the trigger at each denial, constituted tocture).
fl} T1re meaning oj "severe physical pain or suffering."

The statute provides a specific definition of"severe·mental pain o~sufferirig," sec 18
U.RC.§ 2340(2), but does not detlnethe term "severe physical patn or suffering," The meaning
of"severe physical Pain" is relatively straightforward; it denotes physical paln that is e1'!reme in
. intensity and difficult to endure. In'our 2004 Legal Standards Opinion, we concluded that under
S9me circumStances, Conduct intended.lQ inflict "severe physical suffering" may constitute
torture·even if it is not intended to inflict "severe physical pain," Id at 10, That conclusion
follows. from thepJain language ofsections 2:l40--2340A. The inclusion of the words "or
SUffering" in the phrase "seVere physical pain or suffe~(lg" suggests that the statutory category of
physical torture is not limited to "severe physical pain." See, ·e.g., Dun(XX1l v. Walker, 533 U.S.
167. 174 (2001) (explaini\lg presumption agai\lst surplusage).
"Severe physical suffering," however, is difficult to define with precision, ' A!s we have
previously noted, the text oCthe statute and the CAT, and their history, provide little concrete
guidance as to what Congress intended by the concept of"severe physical suffering;" See 2004
Legal Standards Opinion at 11. We interpretthe phrase in a statutory context whefe Congress
'expressly distinguished "~vere physical pain or suffering" from "severe mental pain or
SUffering." Conseq\lently, we believe it a reasonable inference that "physical suffering" was
intended by Congress to mean something distinct from "mental pain or suffering,"" We.
presume that where Congress uses different words in a statuie, tbose words are intended to have
diff~nings. Se~, e.g., Bames;v. United Slale" 199 FJd 386>,~g9 (7th Cir. 1999)
C'Ilifferent language in separate clauses in a'statuteindicates Congress int~nded distinct
.meanin s.' . Moreover, .ven that Congress recisely defined "mental pain or suffering" in
sections 2340-2340A, it is unlikely to have intende to"iilioemune that careful dcfiiiltlon by"-"---

..

" Cornmondictionary definitions of "physical" $t1ppol1 reading "physical suffering" to me;m ",m~g

Merem from ment\! pain or suffering. &e, e,g" Ameriean Heritage Dielionary ofthe english LanguO/fe at 1166
(''Of orrelating 10 Uie body as distingulshooJromthenJind Of spirir); Oxj'ordAmericO!! Dictionary and Language
G~jde at 748 ("of or concerning ille body (phySical erercise;physical education)").

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including essentially mental distress within the separate category of"physical suffering.""
In our 2004 LegalStandards Opillion, we concluded, based on the understanding that
"suffering" denotes II "state", 01 "condition" that must be "endured~' over time, that there Is "an
,extended temporal elemenl, or at least an element ofpersistence" to the concept of physical
suffering In ~etjons 2340-2340A. J<1. at 12 & n.22.Conslstent with this analysis in our 2004
Legal Standards Opilliol1., and in light ofstllJ1dard dictionary definitions, we read the word
, "suffering," whenused in reference to physical or bodily sensations, to mean a state or conditio,n
of physical distress, misery, affliction, or torment (us\laUy associated with physical pain) that
persists for a significant period oftime. see, e.g., Webster's Third New International Dictionary
at 2284 (detlntng "suffering" as "tlte"state or eXPerience of one Who suffers: the endurance of or
submission to 8ffllction, pain, loss"; "a pain endUred or a distress, loss, or injury incurred");
. Random House DiCtionaryofthe English Language 572, 1229, 1998 (2d ed. unabridged 1987)
(giving "distress," "misery," and "torment" as synonyms of"suffei-ing"). Physical distress or
discomfort fuat is merely transitory and that decsnot persist over time does not ,constitute
"pnysical suffedng" within the nleanlng of the statute. Furthermore, in our 2004 J,egal
Standards Opillion, We concluded that "severe physiCal sufferi)lg" for purposes ofsections 23402340A requires "a cci)ditlon ofso l11 e extended duration or persistence as well as intensity" and
"is reserVed for physical distress that is 'severe' considering its intensity and duration or
'persistence; rather than merely mild or transitory." Ill. at 12:
We therefore believe that "severe physical suffering"undet the statute means a state or
condition of physical distress,'misery, affliction, or torment, usually involving physioal pain, that
is bQth extreme in intensity and significantly protracted in duration or perststentover time.
Accordingly, judging whether a particular state or condition may amount to "severe physical
suffering" requires a weighing ofboth its intensity and its duration. The more painful or intense
is the physical distress involved.....:i.e.• the closet it approaches the level ofsevere physical pain
separately proscribed by the statute--the lesssignificatit would be the element of duration or
,persistence over time. On the other hand; qepQl1ding on the circumstances, a level of physical'
,. This t<lnclllSion Is ~inforo<d by lbe expressions of concern at the time the Senate gave.its advice and
consent to the CAT a\loutlhe potential for vagueness in including UlC concept<Ifmental paiit or sutJ'ering as a
def"l~lIle!'t in any~inal prohi1;itj!lU on t~ .. Se~ e.g., Convennon ~$.ainsl Torlure: Hearing Before
the Senale Comm. On Foreign Refallons. tOlst Coot, 8, [0 (1~90) (prepared statement ofAbraham Somer, Legal
AdViser,Deparjnlcnt of Sl.ate: "The Con~enti~n's wording ... is not in·a11 respeas as precise as We believe
---,w,~~_._.--n.=Ij'............ecause-Ith~n]..requi=estatilishnienlofcriniliJall'l'"altj"'f
1ID4erQur domestie law, we
m\lSl pay p3l1icutar attention to 'the meaning1ll1q iuterpreta'tion ofits provisi~ns,especiallyconcemingthe stitrl<Wds
by which the Convention vd[l be applied as a malier oms. law...• [W]e,prepared a cQdifiedproposal whiCh, ..
'C13iifi'es't!ie tlimruuol1'oTftlenlAl'pam'affil SUJl\;fiitg."): iiI. ,illS:1'6'(j)repar'elfSUt18111el!t-l5t~iticfuifd :'1"hll'b.sic
problem vdth the Torture Convention-<ine U",tpell1leates all our "'Incems-is its impreciSil delinitiolloftortute,
especially as ihat teno is apWedioaC!iollS which result solely ilIl!l<lntaianguish. This definitiOnal va~eness
makeirit verydoublfullhal U,e United Stales'can, cOIisistent with Constilulional due process consuaints, fulfill its
obligation Wldet1he Convention to adequatelyengralt'the definltionoftOrture into the domestie cri.ntinaltaw of the
United States. n); f<i at 17 (p!epared statementofMarie Richard: •Accordingly, the Tonure Conventian's Ya~e
defmition concerning the mental suffering aspOet oftortuIe<annot be resolved by reference to established principles
, of intemalioliallaw. In an effort 10 overcome this U!!l!cceptablc elementofvagueness in Article I of the Convention,
we have proposed an understallding which defines severe mental pain constituting torture with sufficient specificity
to, .. moot Constillltlonal due process requirements.").
'

distress or discomfort that is lacking in extreme intensity may not constitute ~severe physical
suffering" regardless onts duration-Le., evenifitlasts for a very long period Qf time. In
defining conduct proscribed by sections 2340-2340A,Congress estllblishe;l a high bar. ,The
ultimate question is whether the conduct "is sufficiently extr'emeancl outrageous to warrant the
universal condemnation that the term 't()rture' both COl1llOtcs and invokes}', See Price v. Socialisl
People's Libyan kal) Jamahiriya, 294 F.3d at 92 (inteJPreting t1ieTVPA); if. Mehi/lovic v.
Vuckovic, 198 F. Supp.2d at 13n-4lJ, 1345-46 (standard met under the TVPA by a course of
conduct that ,included severe beatings to the genilals, head, and other parts of the body with metal '
pi~and various other items; removal ofteelh with pliers; kicking in the face and ribs; breaking
of bones and ribs and dislocation offingers; cutting a figure into the victim's forehead; hanging
'the victim and beating him; extreme limitations of fwd and water; and subjection to games of
"Russian roulette"),

(3) The meaHing of "severe mental pain or suffering. "
Section 2340 defines "severe mental pail) or suffering" to mean:
, the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from(A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction ofsevere
physical pai Ii or suffering;
(B) the administration or application, or threatene;l
administration orapplicatiol1, ofmind-altering substances or other
procedures calcUlated t() disrupt profoundly the senses or the
personality;
,
(C) the threat of imminent death; or
(D) the threat that another person will imminently be SUbjected to
death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or
application of mind-altering substances onllher procedures caJculated
to disrupt profoundly the senses orpersonality[.]
18U.S.C. § 2340(2). Torture is defined under the statute to include an act specifically intended
to inmct severe me,ntal paln or suffering. See id. § 2340(1),

An important preliminary question with' respect to this definition is whether the statutory
, list ofthe four "predicate aets"il\ section 23~0(2}(A.)-(D) is ex:clllsive. We have concluded that
COf)U!lj~e!1ded thelist ofpredicatf' acts \p. be exclusive-that is, iR satisfy the definition of
"severe mental pain or suffering" under the'Statute, the prolonged mental harm must be callsed
by actsfalHng within one ofthe four statutory categories of predicate acts, 2004 Legal
SwldardsiJpinivTrat1"J-;-"We [cathell.lids c~ttclu$lollbaSed 011 tlwclea:rlarrguage"oftheitatute;·· ...-which proVides a detailed definition that iilcludes four categories of predicate acts joined by the
disjunctive anddoesnotC1lntain a catchall provlsitmor anyotherlimguagesllggesting that
additional acts.might qualify (for example, langllage such as "incl11ding" or "such acts as"). ld'"
;0 •These foutcategorie$ of predicate acts "are members of lUi 'associate<! grollp or series, , jus\ifying the
infetenceUlatitems nonnentioned were ~xclu4ejl by deliberate <;\Joice, notmadvertcacc." Barnhart v. Peabody
CoaI9c., 531 U,S. '149, 168 (2003) (quoting Unfled Slales v.Von", 535'U.S. 55, 65 (2002». see also, e.g.,

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Congress plainly considered very specific predicate acts, and this definition track$ the Senate's
understanding coflceI'!lingmental pain or SlJffering on which itS advice and consent to ratification
ofthe CAT Was conditioned. The conclusion that the list ofpredicare acts is exclusive is
consistent with both the text Qfthe Senate's understanding, a)ld with the factthllt the. .
,undersWndingwas requit¥ out ofCQncern thaUhe CAT's deiWtidn oflorrure would not
.otherWise meet the constitutional req\liremenl for y1arity in defining crimes. See 20tH Legal
Standards Oplnfon atl3. Adopting aninterptetation ofthe statute that explU1ds the listof
predicate ncts for "severe mental pain or suffering'" would constitute an impermissible rewriting
onhe statute and would introduce the very imprecision that prompted the Senate to require this
understanding as a condition orits advice and consent to ratification of the CAT'
.
.

Another question is whether the requirement of"prolonged mental harm" caused by or
Jesulting from one onhe enumerated predieateacts isa separate requirement, or whether such
"prolonged mental harm" is to'be presumed any time one ofthe predicate acts occurs. Although
it is possible to read the statute's reference to "the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting
from" the predicate acts.s creatinli a.stalutory.presumption that each ofthe pn:dicate acts will.
always caUse prolonged mental harm, we Concluded in Our 2004 Legal Srandards Opfnion that
that was not Congress's intent, since the statutory definition of~severe mental pain or suffering"
was meant to track the understanding that the Senate required .as a condition to its advice and
consent to ratification of the CAT:
.
.
in order toconslitute torture, an act must bespecificall y intended to inflict severe
physical or mental pain or suffering and that mental pain or suffering refers to
prolonged mental harm cau.sed by or resulting from (1) theintentlonalinlliction or
threatened infliction ofsevere physical pain'orsuffering; (2} the administration or
aPi?llcation, or threatened administration or application, of mihd altering
substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the
personality; (3) the threat of imminent death; or (4) the threatthat another person
will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the
a~ministration or application of mind altering substances or other procedures
CalCulated todisrujlt profoundly the senses or personality.

s: ~xec. Jkp. No. 101·30 at 36.. As ,ve. previously stated, "(w]e do not b.elieve that simply by

ad~e'woid 'the' i5efore 'prolonged haffu,' Congress intended amaterial change in the
definition of mental pain or suffering as articulated in the Senate's understanding to the CAT."

- -.• ~---' -!t004.f,ega1-Statldards-Gpillien-aH.a-l~-he-definiti\ln'of-t\lrtwe-emanates.il irectly..from..~._ ....._- '-.•,
article 1 ofthe [CAT]. The definition for •severe mental pain alid SlJffering' incorporates the
[above mentionedJunderstanding;'" S; RepoNo; lOa·l 07·, ·at.58.59{1993j(emphasis.added).

This understanding, embodied in the statute; defines the obligation undertaken by the United
States. Given this understanding, the legislative history, and the fact that section 2340(2) defines
"severe mental pain or SUf!'erlng" carefully in language very similar to the understanding, we
he1ieve that Congress did not intend to create a presumption that any time one of the'predicate
[.../hennan •. TalTont County /{arcalics [nreiligenee« Coordinofion Unit, 507 U.S. 163, 168 (1993); 2A NOllMn

.J. Singer, Stalriles aN.d Statutory Constl1lclion § 47.23 (6th cd. 2(J()()). Nor do we see any 'conttalyinaicatiollS" !hat
would rebut this inference. Vonn, 535 U.S, at65.

acts occurs, prolonged mental harm is automaticaUydeemed to result. See 2004l,egal Standards
Opinion at 13·14. At the same time: it is Conceivable that the ()ccurrenceofone ofthe prediCate
acts alonecoul<l;odepending on the circumstances ofa·particular case; give rise to an infereoCe of
intent to cause prolonged, menW harm, as required ·by the statute.
Turning to the question ofwhat constitutes "prolonged mwtaJ hafm ¢a.used by or
resulting from" a predicate act, we have concluded that Congress intended thispfuase to require
mental "harm" that has some lasting duration. Id. at 14. There is little guidance to· draw upon in .
'interpreting the phrase "prolonged mental harm, n which dtles not appear in the relevant medical
Hterature. Nevertheless. oudnterpretation is consistent with the ordinary meaning of the
statutory terms. First, the use of the word "harm"-as opposed to simply repeating "pain or
suffering"-suggests some menIal damage or injury. Ordinary dictionary definitions of "harm,"
such as "physical or mental damage: injury," Webster's Third NI!lfI Intemational Dictionary at
.1 034 (emphasis added), or "[P]hysical or psychological injury or damage," Amenccm Heritage
Dieticmary ojthe English Language at 825 (emphasis added), support this interpretation.
Second, to "prolong" meanS to "lengthen in ti.lIle," "extend in duratioo," or "draw ou!,"
Webster's Third Nw. International Dictionary at 1815, further suggesting that to be "prolonged,"
.themental damage must extend for some period oftime.. This damage need not be permanent,
but it must be intended tocontinue for a "prolonged" period oftillle.>l Moreover, under section
2.340(2), the "prolonged mental har.m" must.be "caused by" or "resUlting from" ane of the
enumerated predicate acts.. As we painted out in 2004 Legal StaJtdards Opinion, this conclusion
is nol meant to suggest that, Ifthe predicate act or acts continue for an extended period, ..
"prolonged lIlental harm" cannot ciccur until after they are completed. ld at 14-15 8.26. Early
occurrences of the predicate act could cause mental harm that could eOntinuc-c-and becOme
prolonged-during the extended period the predicate acts continued to OCcur.. See, e.g" Sackie v.
Ashcroft, 270 F. Supp. 2d 596, 601-02 (E.D.l'a. 2003) (finding thatpreclicate acts had continued
over a three-to-four-year period and concluding that "prcilonged mental haren' had occurred
during that time).
AlthougiI there are few judicial opinions discussing the question of "prolonged mental
harm," those caS.es that have addressed the issue are consistent with our view. For example, in
.the TVPA case of Mehindvic v. Vuckovic, the district court explained that:
" A1fuougl1we do not suggest lhatu,e slatuteis llmlted 1" Sllc4~s, development ofa mentaldisoroersuch aspost-traumatie stress disordet or peiliIpschronic depresslon-oluldcoostitute"prolongalmental b.anu."
S<e MJsjct!JJJ'sychiatric Association, Di~gn~slie and SIaNsli<:aiMan"~1 ofMenial Drsorders369-76. 463-6& (4th
ed. 2000) C'DS}.{:JV-mn )7 Set also. e.g;~ Reporl ofthe Spedar Rapportturon fSrlure qnd Other Cnie~ Inhuman
or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; U.N. Doc, AJ59/314, at 14 (2004) ("The most common dl~gnosisof
psyohiaJdQ§Jll!ptoms among torture suaivo[S is said!9 bel'Qst~traumaticstress disot\k:r.")~also Molin Basoglu
et~l., Torture and Uenl~1 Heallh: A Researm Overview; /n Ellen G¢lrity et al. eds., TlreMental Healih .
Crmsequenceso!Torlure 4849 (2001) (refciring to findings of higher rates ofpost-traumatio stress dioordcr in
..stUdi or iillllilVtfil( toftilt-esurvwon);'MtIl1irplJi(et e[ a1:,PJjf1ilJ/{jfJciirEffarf~f1)JfIQ"t: lltrEmpll1e1JNiM/Y of
Tortured and Non~TorturedNoH ..Poli(jcr.1l Prisoners, in Metin BasQglued., Torture and.!ls Consequences: CfJrTe:rrt
Trealment Approaches 77 (1992) (referring to findings ofpost-traumatie sll'ess dioorderin torture suaiVQrs). OMS
has advised that-although llie ability to predict is impert'~-diey WOlIld object 10 the initial or continued use of
aI\Y technique .ifilicir PSY<ohological assessmentof the detainee suggestal th;lt theuse ofthe l!'Chnique might result
in PTSD, chronic lleprCSSion; or other conllition that could oonstl!Ute prolonged menial hann.

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[Th~ defendant] also caused or participated

in the plaintiffs' mental torture.
Meotal to.wee consists of"proionged mental harm caused by or resulting ftorn:
the intentional illfliction or threaten':d infliction of severe physical pain or
SUffering; ... the threat ofimminent death ...." As set out above, plaintiffs
noted in their testimony that they feared that they would be kil led by [the .
defendant] during the beatings he inflicted or dUring games of"Russian roulette."
Each plaintiffeoniimJes to suffer long-term p~o[Ogical harm as a result o/the
ordeals they suffered at the hands ofde/en4ant and others.

I

198 F. Supp. 2d at 1346 (emphasis added,; first ellipsis in original). In reaching its conclusion,
the court noted that each of the plaintiffs were continuing to suffer serious mental harm even ten·
yeats after the eyents in question. See id. at 1334-40. In each cas<:, these mentlll effects were
.c:ontinuingyears after the infliction ofthe predicate acts. See also Sac!de v. Ashcrdft, 270
F.Supp. 2dat 5Q7~98, 601·02 (victim was kidnapped and "forcibly recruited" aU child soldier
at the agc of 14, and, over a perlodofthrce to four years, was.repeatedly forced to take narootics
and threatened with imminent death, all ofwhich produced "prolonged mental harm" during that
time). Conversely, in Villeda Aldana v. Fresh Del Monle Pfoduce,]nc., 305 F..supp. 24 12~5
(S.D. Fla. 2003), the court rejected a claim under the TVPA brought by individua1~ who had
~en held it gunpoillt overnight and repeatedly threatened with death. While recognizlng that
the plaintiffs had experienced an "ordeal," the ¢9urt concluded that they had failed to show that
their experience caused lasting damage, noting that "there is simply no allegation that Plaintiffs
have suffered any prolonged mental harm or physical injury as a result of their alleged
intimidation." ld. at 1294-95.
(4) The tt)eaning of "specifically Intended. "

'.

It is well recognized that the term "specific intent" has no clear, settled definition, and
that the courts do. not use it consistently, See 1 WayneR LaFave, SUbstantive Crimt/uii Law
'§ 5.2(e), lIt 355 & n.79 (2ded. 2003). "Specific intent" is most commonly understood, however,
."to desigflatea special mental element which is required above and beyond any-mental state . .
requ!rt.ld with respect to the CIctus reus ofthe crime." ld. at 354; see also Carter v. Uliited Siates,
. ,530 U.S, 255, 268 (2000) (explaining that general inten!, as opposed tospeclf!c intent, requires
"that tne defendant possessed k!lpwledge [only] with respect to theactus reusofthe cril!\e").
So~ suggest t1.\,at only it .;onsclous d~sire to produoethe proscribt.ld result constitutes
specific intent; others suggest that even rea's<mable foresecabilityrnaysufflce. In United States
v. Bailey, 444 U.S. 394 (1980), for example; the Court suggested that, at least "[i]n a general

~--·~-sense,"T<t.ar41JJ,«~tent~requlres'that"Olle-consei(llls1y~esife-thfH.ulllt......ld.-at

.

403.05

The Court compared the common law's mens rea COl\Cepts ofsp.eciflc intent and general intent to
.iTiii"!i1oaerpenal"Coae'SmWSnll1:Oncepts ~facting:purposefuHy,·and-aGt{ng,knGwing1;y •.. See id.
at 404-05. "tA] person who causes a particular result is said to act purposefully," wrote the
~oi.trt, "if 'he consciously desires that resUlt, whatever the likelihood ofthat result happening
from his conduct'" Id at 404 (internal quotation marks omitted). Aperson "is said to act
knowingly," in contrast, "ifhe is aware 'thatthat result ispraeticall)',certain to follow from his
conduct, whatever his desire may be as to that result. '" ld. (intet}lalquotation marks omitted).
Th~ Court then stated: "In a general sense, 'purpose' corresponds loosely with the Common-law
concept ofspecifrciI)tent,while 'knoWledge' CQrtesponds
.
. loosely with the..;oncept
. of general
.

.

,

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I
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I-

intent." Id at 405. In contrast, cases such as United States v. Neiswender, 590 F.2d 1269 (4th
Cir. 1979), suggest that to prove specific intent it is enough that the defendant simply have
"knowledge or·notice" that his act ~Quld have likely resulted in" the proscribed outcome. Id. at
1;1.73. "Notice," the court held, "is provided by the reasonable fot~eeability ofthe na\Ural and
probable consequences of one's acts." Id

As in 2004 Legal Standards Opinion, we will not attempt to ascertairi the precise
.
meaning of"sp.ecific intent" in sections 2340-2340A. See id.:at 16-[7. It is clear, hqwever, that
the necessary specific intent would be present if an individual perfonned an act and "consciously
desire[df that act to inflict severe physical or mentll! pain or sUffering. [LaFave,.Substa1ltive
Criminal Law § 5.2(a), at 341. Conversely, ifan individual acted in good faith, and.only after
.. reasonable investigation establishing that his conduct would not be expectoo toinllict severe
physical or mental pain or suffering, he would not have. the specific intent necessary to violate
..sections 2340·2340A. Such an individual could beS<tid neither consciously to'desire the
proscribed result, see, e.g., Bailey; 444 U,s. at405; nor to have "knowloos;e or notice" that his
, act ~'would likely have resulted in" the prosCribed outcome, Neiswender, 590 F.2d at 1273.
As we did in 2004 Legal Stdlldatds Opillioll, we stress two additional points res;arding
specific intent; First, specific intent is distinguished from motive., A s;ood motive, such as to
protect national security, does not excuse conduct that is specifically intended to inflict severe
physical or mental pain or sUff~ns;, as proscribed:by the statute. 'Second, specifip intent to take
a given action can he found even ifthe actor would take the action only upon certain conditions.
, C/, e,g., Hollaway v. UllitedStates, S26 U,S. I: 1.1 (1999) (''[A}.defendant may not nes;ate a
proscribed intenl' by requinns; the victim'to comply with a condition the defendant has no right to
impose,"), See also id. at 10·11 & no, 9-12; ModelPenal Code§ 2.02(6). Thus, fOr example,
the fact thatavictim might have avoided beins;tortured by cooperating with the perpetrator
would not render pennissible the, resort to conduct that would otherwise constitute torture under'
the statute. 2004 Leg¢ Standards Opinion at [7.'"

m.
In the discussion that follows, we will address each oftbe specific interrogation
. techniques you have described. Subject to the understandings, limitations, and S<tf1iguards,
disCiussed herein, indud ing ongoing medical and psycholoS;ical monitorins; and team intervention
as necessary, we conclude that the authorized use ofeach ofthese techniques, considered
individually, would not violate the. prohibition that Congress has adopted in sections 234023~'fl!!s.90nclusi9"n is straightfor:ward~ith resp~t to all but tw~. ofthe tecluiiques. Use of
sleep deprivation as an enhanced technique'and use oCthe waterboard, however, involve more
substantial questions, with the waterboard present.ing the most suQst;ll1t!a1 question. Although we
-,-'""~-~- '''·conClmleihahl1e''me"Oftl'rese'tecIUliqueS' as we ufidmtmRftMlJ\ ~lld-subj'ecttb-tlreiitl(11[tiUI(S
you have described-would not'violate the statute, the issues raised bythese two techniques
counsel' gmt C1ltltilm' in thetr use;·Tflclmlll\jfbtltli. Weftl1'il'dhefeuct5l1:l tl1~ill'llitath:ms'and .
" The Criminal Division ofthe Dcp:utm¢llt of Justice has r";'iewed this memorandum and is satisfied !hat
our geneml interpretation of tile legal standards under sections,234u-2340A is consistent willi its ",,"currence in the
2004 I.e;;al Standards Opinion.

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restrictions you have described and also close' and continuing llledical and psychological
monitoring.
,
Before addressing the application of sections 2340.2340;'\ to the specific techniques in
question, we nOle certain overall features of the CIA's approach that are significantto our
conclusions. Interrogators are trained and certified ina course that you have informed us
currently lasts approximately four w~ks. Interrogators (and other personnel ~eployed a.s part of
this program) are required 10 review and acknowledge the applicableinterrogation guidelines,
See Confinement Guidelines at 2; Interrogation Guidelines at i ("The Director, ,DC! •
Counterterrorist Center shall eOS\lre that all personnel .
• heinterro alion of
persons detained pursuant to the authorities setfoM in
have been appropriately'screened (from the medical, psyc 0 ogtcaan secul1tystan pomts,
naVe reviewed tnese Guidelines, have received ;lppropri;lte !r;lining in tneir ,1lT\plementation, and
nave completed the atlllched Acknowledgement."), We IlSsumeth;\t all interrogators are
adequately trained, that they understand the design and purpose of the interrogation techniques,
and that they will apply the techniques in accordance with their authorize,<! and intended use.
In addition, the involvement of medical and psychological personnel in the adaptation
and application ofthe established SERE techniques is particularly noteworthy for purposes of
our analysis." Medical personnelhave been involved in imposing limitations on-and requiring
changes to---certain procedures, particularly the use ofthew;lterboard.'< We have h;ld extensive
" As note<!aoove, each of th~lechniquesh;ls ~adap!ec!(althollJlhin~ltte cases with signifieartl
'modifications) from SEREiIainirig. Through your consultation witltvarious indivi¢l3lsresponsible for ~h
training, you haYe learned factsrelatlng loex~enrewithMm, wmell yoo bavereported to n&. Again, fully
rOC¢gniting the limitations ofreJianC<1 on thJ& experkncc, youllave advi&«!us thatthese techniques ""ye\>een used
aselemeotsof a courseoftralningwi!4but any reponedinctdents OfprOIOn_~.
.
•.
e'
physical paln, injury, o<suffering, With tespectto thepsycliologicaUmpa
. . .
E\he
SERB school advised thaI durlnghisthr<:<: and a balfyearsinthal posltiQtl,'he ned 10,OOO5ludents, on y tWo of
'whom dropped oul following use oflhe techniques. Although on me=sions sltldents temporarily postponedlhe
rer:wndeiof Ihe.traU;ing and re:ei~ed .psy.chological counseling,we underswlil..lliIJI.~~.1Ulldllill!tsp$ere able 10
:lim&h tlle progtaIn mlhOilt any tndicauon ofsubSC<tuent mental he3lthelfects.~to has·had over
ten yom experience wltlt SERE lniiniilg, told you thaI he was not aware of any individuals who,completed Ute
.program sutrering any adverse mental health effecls (though he advised of oMJl«¥'l'who did nOl cOlllplete \he
training who bad an adverse monla1 hcillth rea.ttioo Ihallasted IWO hours and~
~entand with nofurtllef symptoms reported). lnaddition, th~
~no bas bad experience with all ofthe techhiques discus&«! h",ein, ha.saclvised that the uSe ofllies<
procedures ha.s not resulted in any reported instane>:;i of prolonged mental 'hann and very few insmnees of illlmediate

~-._. __
. analempoIWr"j'<lV~ytlWlo~ ll$j;j(j=tn1ht1Iaint~6;8~9cstudenl$iIrldr-Force-8l3l',E'training.fr<lm----­
1992 Uuouglj 2001, onlyO.! 4% wore puned from the program far psychological reasons (~ifically, although

·.4,3r.IUld,sofneGOnL1Gl.,withi'SY~101ogy~~~scw1tl.'-'ltcl1mQlac!Jt\1i,ctwi$~w
from the program), We understmd Ulal th~xpressed conlldence-based on
deb~ellng of students and other information-lhat thetrainlt1&'did nOI Cause any (ong-term PliYch<Jlogical harm and
tlUlt iEthere are any long-term psycho!ogie3l effects of Ute training at aU, they "arc e<:r1JlJnty mnla!."

,. We note that this involvement ofmedical personnel in designing S2fegusrds far, and in motUtoring
implementation ot; the procedtlteS is • significant dilferene<: from eadier uses ofthe teclIDiques catalogued in the
Inspector General's RepOrt. ,&e fa Report at 2l11,U ("OMS was neither Consulted nor involVed in the tnitial
analysis ofthe risk and benefits af[enhanc<d tnierrogation leclmiq=). nor provide<! wilh,1he CIS rep<irtoiledin
the OLe opinion [thelntmogaliM Memorandum]."). Since tilllt time, based an comments from OMS, additional
CQllStraints nave been im~ on use oftlte teclmique5,
.

meetings with the mooicalpersonnel involved ill monitoring the use ofthese techniques. It is
clear that they have carefully.worked to ensure that the techniques do not result in severe
physical or mental pain or suffering to the detaineeS." ~edicar and psychological personnel
evaluate each detainee before the use of these techniques on the detainee is approved. and they
continue to monitor each detainee throUghout his interrogatioll and detentiolL Moroowr,
medical personnel are physically. present throughout application ofthe waterboard (and present
· or otherwise observing the use orall techniques that involve physical contact, as disCllSsed more
fully above), and they carefully monitor detainees who are undergoing sleep deprivation .or
dietary manipulation. In addition, they regularly assess both the medical literature and the
experience with detainees.'" OMS has specifically declared·t~at '![m)edical officers must remain
'Cllgn~nt at all times oftneir obligation to prevent 'severe physieator mental pain or suffering.'''
'. OMS Guidelines at 10. In fact, we understand that medical and psychological personnel have.
discontinued the use oftechniques as. to a partiClllar detainee when they believed he might suffer
· such pain or suffering, and in certain instances•.OMS medical personnel have not cleared certain
detainees for some--<Jr any-techniques based on the illitial medical and psychological
aSsessments. They have also imposed additional restrictions on the use oftechniques (such as
· the waterboard) in order to protect the safety of deta:inees. thus reducing fUrther the risk ofsevere
pain or suffering. You have iilformed.us that they will continue to have tws role and authority.
We assume that all iilterrogatorsunderstand the impOrtant role and autnority of OMS personnel
and will cooperate with OMS in the exercise ofthese duties.
. Finally. in sharp contrast to those practices universally coniiemned as torture over the
· centuries. the techniques we consider here have veen carefully eVJlluatedto avoid causing severe
pain or suffering tei the detainees. Ail OMS 'has described these techniques as a group:
In all instances the general goal ofthe.se techniques is a psychological impact, and
not some phy'sical effect. wlth a spectfic goal of"dislocat[ing] [the detainee's]
expectations regarding the treatment he believes he will receive...." The more
physical techniques are delivered in a manner carefully limited to avoid serious
.pain. The slaps. for example. are designed "to induro shock, surprise. and/or
humiliation" and "not to inflict physical pain that is severe or lasting."

Id. at 8'9.

.
'.

'-~-we areli1indlilblhal. hJstoncsUy,.me<!icakpersoM!'l have sometimes.!><:cn u~lo eullan"", not prevent,
.tortwe-for example. by k~plng. torture victimallveartd COllSGloUS so as. to extend his sUffering. It is absolutely
clear, as you bave irlfonned us and as our owndealingswilh OMS personnel )lave confirmed, fllatlhe involvement

.

-~._.~~.~--oroMSisintemled~ihe-dettinces-arnl1tOti<rextend1lrin=sep;UltOr-su!ferfug'1\~-the-eM8------·

GulddlN<s explain, "OMS is l'I'$pOnsible for assessing and lt1Qnitoring the health ofall Agen<)' detainees subject 10
'eMim~Jl\\~qg!ti9Jit\'£.~.a.f~r~ng.tbil.lh~!UJ!w.~.<l.~~9!l,llfJl\~,l$&MJJlU~.
would not be expected (0 cause serious or permanent 1lanIt" .OMS Guidelines at9 (footnote omitted).

'" To assist in monitoring experienccwilb Ul< deLlinees, we Understand thatthere is regular rcpocting on

.medical and psychological experience with the use of th~ techniques on detainees and fllat there are special
instructions on documenting cxperience willi sleep deprivation and the watet1x>ard. See OMS Guidelines at 6-7, 16,
20.

.

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This technique presents no issue of"severe men.tal pain or suffering" within .the meaning
of sections 2340·2340A,because the use oHllis technique would involve noqUlilifying predicate
act.. The .technique.does not, for example, involve "the intentional il\flietion or threatened
infliction ofsevere physical pain or suffering," 18U.S.C. § 2340(2){A), or the "application
, .. of .. , procedures'calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality," id,
§ 2340(2)(B). Moreover, there is no basis to believe that dietary mal\ipulation co~ld cause
"prolonged mental harm." Therefore, we .conclude that the authorized useofthis technique by
an adequately train,edinterrogator coutdnol reasonably be cOnsidered specifically intended to
cause
such harm."
.
'..
:.~.,...-ry:"

.

.r:.'

2, Nudity, We understand that nudity is used as at~que to create psychological

~-----disoomfert,-RGt-to-intliet-al+l'-Phy

.. i~al..pain.or,.suffetittg-You.h=Jnfoaned us that during the
. use ofthis technique, detainees are kept in locations with ambient temperatures that ensure there
is··n(j..f;~reat,t(j4heir,heallh,· .Speciflcllll¥.,..this.techniqu.e~w.o)lld.,llll1_\l!}.llJJ1ll1g'yJlr.lJl1,KI1)'p-ergmres
below 68'F (and is unlikely 10 be employed below 75'F). Even if this technique involves some

physical discomfort, il cannot be said to cause "suffering" (as We have explained the term
31 In Irelandv, United Kingdom, 25 Eur. Ct. RR. (ser. A) .(1918), ~ European Court of Human Rights
Concluded by a vote ofl3-4 that a reducod met, even in conjunction with a number of othertec!Uliques, did not
amount to '1otlllre," as defined in ~ European Convention on Human Rights, 'l'he reduced diet U,ere consisted of
one "round" ofbread and a pint ofwater every six hOUlS, see {d., separate opiniOll of Judge Zclda, Part A. The

duration of the redu~ diet in that= is not clear,

.

p 33

above), let alone "severe physical pain or suffering," and we therefore·conclude that its
authorized use Dy an adequately trained interrogator could not reasonably be considered
specifically intended to do so. Although some detainees might be humiliated by this technique,
eSpecially given possible cultural sensitivities.and the posslbility-ofbeing
by female
· officers, it cannot Constitute "severe meittal pain or suffering" under the statute because it does
· not involve any ofthe predicate acts specified Dy Congress,

seen

3'. Attention grasp. The attention grasp involVes no physical pain or suffering forthi:
detainee and does not involve
predicate aclfor purposes of severe mental pain or suffering
·under the statute. A.ccordingly, because this technique cannot be expected to cause severe
· physical or mental pain.or sdffering, we conclude that its authorized use by an adequately trained
interrogator could not reasonably be considered specifically intended to do sO.

any

4. Walling. Although the waUing technique involves the use of considerable force to
.. push the detainee against the wall and may involve a large number ofrepetitions incertaincases,
we understand that the false wall that is u.sed is flexible and tbat this teehnique is not designed to,
and does not, cause severe physical pain to the detainee. We understand that there may be some
paln or irritation associated with thecol!ar, wbich is uiiI'd to help;ivoidinjurj such as wltiplaslt
to the detainee, but that any physical pain associated with the use ofthe collar would not
approach the levei ofintensity needed to constitute severe physical pain. Simihrrly, we dO not
believe that the physical distress caused by this technique or tbeduration orits use, even with.
multiple repetitions, could amount to sevcre physical suffering within the meaning ofsections
2340·2340A. We understand that medical.and psychological personnel are present or-observing
during tbeuse oftbis technique (as with aU techniques involving physical contact :with a
de;tainee). and that any member ofthe.tea.m or the medical staff may intercede t6 stop the use of
the technique if it is being used improperly or if it appears that it may cause injury to the
detainee. We also do not believe that the use of this technique would involve a threatof
infliction ofsevere physical pain or SUffering or other predicate act for purposes ofsevere mental
pain or Suffering under the statute, Rather, this technique is designed to sho¢k the detainee and
disrupt his expectations that he will nolbe treated forcefully and to wcar down ltis resistance to
interrogation. Based onthese understandings, we conclude that the authorized use of this
technique by adequately traincd interrogators cOuld not reasonably be considercd specifically
intended to cause severe physical or mental pain or sliffering in vioiation ofsections 2340"

2340A."

5, Fqcial hold. Like the attention grasp, this technique involves no physical pain or
suff<ll1it!t1ffitldoes not -involve any predicate'actfor purposes of severe mental pain or suffering.
· Accordingly, we conclude that its authorized use by adcquately trained interrogators could ncit
It !JI Interrogation Memoronl!um, we did not desmbe the walling technique as involving the number of
··-.···-repetition:s1hat'We"understand=y1Je"applied;·"ooadvice'Witlrrespecl:10'walling"ilrth..iJresent·memomndum·is··
. specifically based on the understanding tM( ti,e repetitive use'ofwalling is intended only to mClease the draIlIa and
· shock of the teclurlque, to wear do\;n the detainee's tCSistanoo, and to disrupt expectations tMt he Will not be treated
withforce, andtM!'ou¢ll use is no\!JItended to, and does not in fuct, cause severe physical pain (0 tl,e detainee,

MOrt:9ver, our advice sp<;¢ifically assumes that the use ofwalling will be stopped !filiele is any mdication UUl the
use of the technique is or may be ""using severe physical pain to • detainee.

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reasonably be considered Specifically llltended to cause severe physical or mental pain or
suffering.

6. Facial slap or insult slap.. Although this t~bnique involves a degree of physical pain;
the pain associated with a slap to the face, as you have described it to us, could not be expected
to constitute severe physical pain. Weundemand that the purpose of this technique is to cause
shock; surp'rise, or humiliation, not to inflict physical pain that is severe or lasting; we assUme' it
will be used accordingly. Similarly, the physical distress that may be caused by an abrupt slap to
the face, even if repeated several times, would not constitute an e>rtended state or condition of
physical sufferiflg and also would not likely involve the level of intensity required for severe
. physical suffering under the statute. Finally, a facial slap would not involve a predicate act for
purposes ofsevere mental'painor suffering. Therefore: the authorized use of this technique by
adequately trained Interrogators could not r.easonably be considered specifically intended to
cause severe 'physicalw mental pain or suffering in violation ofsections Z340·Z340A."
7. Abdominal slap. A1thaugh the abdom.lnalslap teG!mique might involve some minot

physical pain, it cannot, as you have described it to us, be said to involve even moderate, let
alone severe, physical pliinor suffering. Again, because the technique can!1ot be expected to
cause severe.physical pain or.sulfering, we conclude that its authorized use by ;m ad~uately
trained Interrogator could not reasonably be cousideredspecifically Intended to do so. Nor could
it be considered speciflcally intended to cause severe mental pain or Buffering within the
. meaning ofsec\ious 2340.2340A, as none ofthestAlUtory predicate acts would be present.

8. Crampedconftnement. This technique does not involve any significant physical pain
or suffering. It also does not involve a predicate act for purposes ofsevere mental pain or
suffering. Specifically, we do not believe thal placing a detainee.in a dark,cramp.ed space for the
limited periodoftimeinvolved here cOllld reasonably be cO'nsidered a procedure calculated to
. disrupt profoundly the senses so as to cause prolonged mentid harm. Acyordingly, we conclude
that its authorized' use by adequately trained interrogators could not reasonably be considered
specifically intended to caUse severe physical or mental pain or suffering violation of sections

in

2340·2340A.

9. Wall standing. The walt standing technique, as you have described it, would not
physicatpain within-t1iemeafiing ofthe statute. It also·cannot be expected to
cause severe physical. suffering. Even if the physical discomfort of muscle fatigue associated
-=_~ __wjth.Jl.laILsbndjng might be..s.ub.stanti~JJndeu;taod thaUhe duration of the techlli!lue is.selflimited by the individual detainee's abllityto sustain the position;. thus, the short duration ofthe
.......dis.oomfutt~a.ns.thaUhis..t~hnllj!J&W.Qllld_AQt.hMlXP~g~iJ..t!l.!iJlJ1~.?IligguW..QSl.t.J~g.t:I..al'lY ...
be considered specifically intended to cause, severe physical suffering. Our advice also assumes
that the detainee's position is not 'designed to produce severe pain that might result from
contortions or twisting oHhe body, but only temporary muscle fatigue, Nor does wall standing
inv~"Vere

" Our 3<!Vice about botltthe facial slap and the abdominal Slap assumes that the interrogators will appiy
U,Ose techniques as designed and will not strike the deWneo with excessive force or repetition in ancinner that
might result in severe physical pain.

P 35

act

involve any predicate for purposes ofsevere mental pain or suffering. Accordingly, we
.conclude tbatthe authorized use ofth\s technique by.adequately trained interrogators could not
. reasonably be consideredspeeificaUy intended to cause severe physical Of mental pain or
suffering in violation of the statute.
. 10. Stress positions. Forthe same reasons that the use ofwall standing would not violate
the statute, we <:onclude that the authorized use ofstress positions such as those described in
Interrogation Memoraniium, ifemployed by adequately trained lnterr-ogators, could not
reasonably be considered specifically intended to cause severe physical or milntaI pain or
suffering in violation ofseetions 2340·2340A. As with wall standing, we understand that the
duration ofthe technique is self-limited by the individual detainee's ability to sustain the .
position; thus, the short duration ofthe discomfOl1 means that this technique woUld no! be
expected to cause,andcoold not reasonably be considered speeifically intended to Cause, severe
physical suffering; Our ad"Yice alsO assu!Ues thatstr.eSs positions are not designed to produce
severe pain that might result from contortions or twisting ofthe body, but only temporary muscle
fatigue.'" .
.
..
.

11. Water dauslng. As you have described·it to us, water dousing lnvol ves dousing the
detainee with water from a container or a hose without a noZzle, and is intended to wear him
down both physically and psychologically. ¥ouhave informed us that the water might be as
cold as 4\ OF, though you have further.advised us that the water generally IS not refligerated and
therefore is unli.ke1yeto be less than 50°F. (Nevertheless, for pvrposes of our analysis, we will
assume that water as cold as 41°F might be used.) OMS has advised that, based 00 the extenSive
experience in SERE training, the medical literature, and the experience with detainees to date,
wat\:r dousing as authorized is not designed or expected to cause significant physical pain, and
certainty not severe physical pain. Although we understand that prolonged immersion in very
cold water maybe physically painful, as n?ted above, thisinterrogJition technique does not
irivolve ilrimersion and a substantial margin ofsafety is b\lilt into the time limitation on the\lse
of thtl CIA's water dousing techniq\le-useoftbe te'chniquewitnwater of a given temperature
must be limited to no morethan two-thirdsofthe.time inV(liichhypothermia could beexpeeted
:to occur from total immersioh in water ofthe same temperature," While being cold cao involve
physical discomfort, OMS also advises thadn tlieir professional judgment any resulting .
discomfort Is not expected to be intens\:, and the duration is limited by specific times tied to
.. A stress position that involves roch contortion or t1'Iistl11g, as well as one held for so tong that il could
.not ~y at proouclng tempomy·muscle f.tigue, mightralsemore substmttial questions Wlderthe stalute.
Cj Anny Field Manual 34-S2: Int!lIigenu Interrogatian at 1-8 (1992) (indicating·tI1al "[floreing an indlvidualto
SlJInd, sit, or kneel;n abnormalposiUons for prolonged periods of lime" £!lay constitute "torture" within tho meanin""gC---_ _
---.-,of.;he'fbird"'eneva-&nvention'siequi:tellmnt1ltat "~qo p~llrmenCll tortUre, nor any pthet10rm o[ewew!\,
rtUly be inflicted on prlroners oEwar:' but notaddressing 18 U.S.C. §§ 2340·Z340A); United Nations General
_.~~Jt~Ei!:t.ii£WllfFlq1J1,~lIl:PJl:rJ2.J;iYcc.Md.J:ilher_O:u.eJ.lnbuman:or..D.gr<zding..xr.tallUnt.Qr.···

Punishment, U.N. Doc. N5911S0 alo (~pt, 1, 2(04) (S\!ggesting tI1al"holding detainees in painful and/or stressful
positions" might in C<lrtain circumstances be chanlcterized aHorturo).·
.
<I

Moreover, even in the e~trerneiy Unlikely ev~nt that hypotltenni. set in, WIder the circumstances in

which this toollllique isused--iru:\uding clole.medi<:a1 supervision and, ifhecessary, medical attention-we
understand that lhe detainee would be exlX'eted to recOver fully and rapidly.

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water temperature. Any discomfort Cllusedby this. tMhnique, therefore, would not qualifY as
"severe physical suffering" within the meaning ofsections 2340.2346A. Consequently, given
.that there is no elCpectatioll that ollie tecltnique will cause severe pltysiCJll pain or sufferillg when
properly used, we Conclude that the authorized use ofthis technique by Illl adequately trailled
interrogatOf could nQt reasonably be considered specifically intended'to cause these results.
With respect to mental pain or suffering, as you have described the procedure, we do Dot
believe that any oftbe four statutory predicate acts necessary for a possible finding of severe
mental pain or suffering under the statute would be present. Nothi!!g, foreil:ample, leads us to
believe that the detainee would understand the procedure to constitute a threat ofimminent
death, especially given that care is taken to ensure that no \vater will get into the detainee's
.mouth or nose. Nor would a detainee·reasollably understand the prOSpe<lt ofl:>eing doused with
cold water as I!lethreatened infliction or severe pain. 'Furthermore, even were we to conclude
,that there could be a qualifying predicate act,.nothing suggests ,hat tlie, detainee would De
.expected to suffer any prolonged mental harm asa result ofthe procedure. OMS advises that
.there has been no evidence o.fsuch hann in th" SERE training, which utilizes a much more
, extreme techni~ue i.nvolving total immersion., The presence of psychologi~s who monitor the
:detainee's mental condition makes such harm even more unlikely. COnsequently, we conclude
that the authorized USe ofthe technique liy adequately trained interrogators could not reasonably
be considered specifically intended to cauSe severe mental pain or suffering within the m.eaning
of the statute.

I

The fllcking technique, which is subje<lt to the sametemptlrature limitatiol)sas water
dousing but would involve suostantially less w?-ter, a!orMriwould not violate tbestalUte.
. 12. SLeepdeprfvation. In the Interrogation Memorandum, we concluded .that sleep
deprivation did not violate sections Z340m40A. See fd. allOt 14-15. This question warrants
further analysis fQr two reasons.. First; we. did. not cOnsider the potential for physical pain or
suffering resulting from thelihackling used to keep detainees awake or any impact from the
diapering ofthe detainee. Secplld. we did not address the possibility of severe physical suffering
that does not irivolve severe physical pain.
.
.
,

Urtder the limitations adopted by the CIA, 'sleep deprivation may not exceed 180 hours,
which weunderstlind is approximately two·t\lirds of the muimum recorded time that humans
hav~ne~tliout slee2 for purposes9fme<jjcalstudy, asdiscussedJl~low" Furthermore, any
detainee who has undergone 180 lioursof sleep deprivation must then be allowed to sleep
without interruption for at least eight straight hOUfS. Although we understand that the CIA's

I

.

--:--=c'="''''''''''-cguidelines-wouldilHew-allothet'Session-of'Slref''leprivati'O~egill'aftef'fhe-detainee-has-s<>tten---",.., ... ,

<'

.....

~

....",-.. -.

,.-

~

.. -

The LG Repart describerl the maxirrlum allowable period ofsleep ,deprivationil! thal time as 164 hour. or
, 11 days. See IG Re[XIrt at 15. You have infonned us th:ltyou hive sin", established ,limitof t80 hours, th:l! in
fact no detainee has been subjeqed to more tllaIl. Igo ho\ll's of sl~ d~rivatl,on, and that 61~p depriVation Will
rarely exceed 110 hours. To date, only Utree delJline<s have been subjected tll Sleep deprivation for more than ~6
hours.

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at least eight hours ofuninterrupred sleep following 180 hours ofsleep deprivation, we will
·evaluate onlY one application ofup to 180 hours ofsleep deprivation."
We understand from OMS, and from ourreviewofthe Uterature on the physiology of
·sleep, that even very elltended sleep deprivation does not cause physical pain, let alone severe.
phy~ical pain." "The longest studies ofsleep deprivation in humans, .. [involved) volunteers
[whoJ were deprived ofsleep for g to 11 days" .. Surprisingly, tittle seemed to go wrong with
the llUbjects physically. The main effects l~y with sleeplOess and impaired brain functioning, but
·even these were no great cause for concern." James Horne, Wily We Sleep: TIle Functions oj
Sleep ;11 Humans andOther Mammals 23.24 (1988) ("!l1ty We Sleep") (footnote omitted).. We
note that there are important differences between steep deprivation an interrogation technique .
used by the CIA and·the controlled experiments doourriented in the literature. The subjects ofthe
experiments were free to nlove abOutand CIlgage in nOllllal activities and'often led a "tnmquil
existence" with "plenty oftlme wr relaXation," See iii. at 24, Whereas adetainee in CIt\ custody
wouJd'be shackled and preventedfromnJoving·freely. Moreover, the subjects in theexpedments
often increased their food consumption during. periods ofelctended sleep loss, see Id. at 38;
whereas the detainee undergoing interrogation may be placed on a reduced-calorie diet, as
discussed ab9ve. Nevertheless, we understand that experts who have studied sle~pdeprivatioil
·have cOncluded tJJat "[t)he most plausible reason for the uneventful physical findings with these
human beings is that, , . sleep loss is not particularly harmful." Jd at 24, We understind that
this Conclusion does not depend on the elltenl of physical movement or exercise by the subject or
whether the subject increas<;s his food consumption. OMS medical staff members have also
informed us, based on their experience with detalnees Who have undergone elltended steep
deprivation and their review o(the relevant medica! literature, that extended sleep deprivation
does not caus~ physical pain. Although edema, orswelling, ofthe tower legs may some~mes
develop as aresu!t ofJhe long periods ofstanding associated with sleep deprivation, we
understand from OMS that such edema is not painful and·will quickly dissipate'once the subject
isremoved from the standing position. We also understand that if any ease of significant edema
develops, the team will intercede to ensure.that the detainee is moved from the standing position
And that he re<;eives .any medical.attention necessaiyto relievdhe sWelling and allow the edema
to dissipate. For these reasons, we conclude that the alltllori~ed use ofextended sleep

as

~-~nQtO(! allove-~we are not concludinj; $Itadditiooal use ofsleep dep.dYati~n, ,ubject to ,lose and
careful medical supervision, would violate the >1atute,but at the-presenttimewe express no opinion 0" whether
additioroJ sleep deprivation would be conslS\eri( with sections 2340-2340A.

"Alth<iUgh Sleep aipriv~tion Is not itself physk;jJIYpaii\fu~ we u!!detttand that ~iI1e $Mliesl1ave not&l
that cxtended 10lAt sleep deprivation may have the effect of ieducingtoteran~ to somc fulin' of pain in somc
- ··'SUbjeets,··r;ee;--e:g_;B:-K'Ulld=nn;·ef-al:;--8leep.'i3eprlvaIiOl171fficls'HIennalf'alrrfiJrnholrkbv:l<nol<······
Somatosensory Thresholds in Healthy Volunteers, 66 PsYchosOmatic Me<!. 932.(2004) (finding a significain
decrease inhe:ll pain. thrcsholils and some decrease in cold painthresholils lifter one nighlwitho!it sleep); S.•flakki
On"'" et aI., The Effiets ofratalS/~~p Deprlva.tion, Selecit/ve Sleep InteiTuption andSieep Recovery on Pain
Tol<ran~ Thresfloldsin Healthy Subjeels, ioJ. SI~p ~l1:!l35, 41 (2oot)(findinj; a >1alistlcally significant drop
of 8-9% In totemqccUu¢S!lotds for mechanical or pres.sUre pain aft~ 40 hOOIs); iii. at 35-36 (di,cusslllg oU,er
studies). We will discuss the potential Ut(elactions between oiocp deprivation .and other interrogation re<:hniques in
the separate memorandom, to which we referrO(! Infoolnote 6; addressfus whether the com\>Ined use of t:err;lin
techniques is consistent with the legal requiIements of sections 2340-1340A.

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deprivation by adequately trained interrogators would not be eXpected to cause and could not
reasonably be considered specifically intended to cause severe physical pain.
In addition, OMS personnel have informed us thai the shackling of detainees is not
designed to and-does not result in significant physical pain. A detainee subject to sleep
deprivation'would not be allowed to hang by his wrists, and we Ullderstand that no detainee
,subjected to sleep deprivation to date has been Il1l0wed to hang by his wrists or has otherwise
suffered injury." Ifnecessary, we understand that medical personnel will intercede to prevent
any such injury and would require either that interrogators use ~ different method to keep the
detainee awake (such as through the use ofsitting or horizontal positions), or that the use ofthe
technique be stopped altogether. When the sitting position is used, the detainee is seated on a
small stool to which he is shackled; the stoo(Sltpports his weight but is too small to let the
detainee balance himself and fall asleep. We also specifically understand that the use of
shackling with horizontal sleep deprivation, which has only been used rarely, is done in such a
way as to ensure that there is no additional stress on'the detainee.'s arm odeg joints that might
force the limbs beyond natural extension orereate telision on any joint. Thus, shackling cannot
be expected to result in severe physieal pain, and we conClude that its authorized use by
.adequately trained interrogators could not reasonably be considered specifically intended to do
so. Finally, we believe ,that the use <if a diaper cannot lie expected to-and could not reasonably
be considered intended to-result in any physical pain, let alone severe physica1pain.

Although it is a more substantial qu~ion, particularly given the imprecision.!n the
statutoI}' standard and .the lack ofguidance from the courts, we also conclllde that extended sleep
deprivation, subject to the limitations and conditions described herein, would not be expected to
cause "severe physical suffering." We understand that some individuals who undergo elctended
sleep deprivath:m would likely at some p·oint elCperlence physical discomfort and distress. We
aSSume that some individuals would eventually feel weak physically and may experience other
unp.leasant phySical sensations from prolonged fatigue, inclilding such symptoms as impairment
tocoprdinated body n.tQvement, diffic\jlty with speech, nausea, and blurred vision. See W1o' We
Sleep at 30. In addition, we understand that elCtended.sleepdeprivationwilloften cause a small
drop in body temperat,ure, see id. at 31, and we .assume tha,tsuch a drop inbOdy temperature may
also be. associated with unpleasant physical sensations. W\'alsoassurnethat any phnical
discomfort that might beassoeiatedwith sleep deprivation would likely increase, atleastto a
. poi~fflnger the subJ«t goes without sJeep. T!lQS, on th.eseass)!JPptlons, it may be the case
that afsome point, for some individuals, the degree ofphysical distress experienced in sleep
deprivation rnight be substantial. <Ii .
, .
" On the other nand, we.understand'from OMS, and from the literature we have reviewed
'ontlie iiliyslOlogyofsleep;ttiaffuanftn:lliVIdlrnlslifaytOlUat£'eJttellueds!eep'deprivatkm·well
•
" ~udes a total of mOte than 25 detainees subjected to at least some period of sleep deptivatioo.
&eJanuary '
""at 1-3.
.. The possibility noted above tha.t sleep deprivation might heighten susceptibilitY to pain, see supra note

. 44, ma.gnifies this cpncem

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and with little apparent distress, and that this has been the CIA's ehjlerience." Furthermore, the
principal physical problem asso.ciated with standing is edema,. and in any instance of significant
edema, tbe iltterrogation team will remove the detainee from tbe standing position and will seek
medical assistance. The shackling is uS.ed only as a passive means of keeping the detainee awake
and, in both thetigbtness ofthe shackles and the pOsItioning ofthe hands, is nOt intended to
cause pain. A detainee, for example, will'not ~ allowed to hanS by his wrists. Shackling in the
sitting ppsition involves a stool that is adequate to S\lppprt the detainee's weight In the rare
instances when' horizontalsleep deprivation may be used, a.thick towel or blanket is placed under
the detainee to protect against reduction of body temperature from contact with the floor. and the
manacles and shackles are anchored so as not to cause pain or create tension on any joint If the
detainee is nude and is using an adblt diaper, thediaperis checked regularly to preveotskin
irritation. The conditions of sleep deprivation are tlIus aimed at preventing severe physical
SUffering. Because sleep deprivation does not involve p~ysical pain and would not be Chjlected
to cause extreme physical distress to the detainee, the extendeil duration ofsleep deprivation,
.within the 180-hour limit imposed by the CIA, is not a sufficient factor alone to constitute severe
physical sUffering within the melU\ing of sections 234(j·2340A. We therefore believe that the use
oftlJis technique, under the specified limits and conditions, iSfiot "extreme and outrageous" and
does not reach the high bar set by Congress for a violation"ofsections 2340·2340A. See Price v.
Socialist People '$ LibyallArab Jamahiriya, 294 E.3d at 92 (to be torture under the TVPA,
conduct must be "extreme and oUtrageous"); cf Mehlllovic v. lIuckol'ic, 198 F. Supp. 2d at 1332. 40, 1345-46 (standard rilet under the TVPA.by a coUrse of Conduct that included severe beatings
to the genita.ts, head, and other patta of the body with metal pipes and various other items;
removal of teeth with pliers; kicking in the face and ribs; breaking of bones anddbs and
dislocation of fingers; cutting a figure Into
victim's forehead;. hanging the victim and beating
him;extreme.limitations offood aJ)d water; and subjection to games of"Russian roulette").

*0

Nevertheless, because extended sl.eep deprivation could in some cases result in
substantial physical distress, the safeguan1s adopted by the CIA, including ongoing medical
. monitoring and intervention by the team if needed, are. important to ensure that the CIA's USe of
extended sleep deprivation will not run afoul of the statute. Different individual detainees may
react phYsically to sleep deprivation in different ways. We asSume, therefore, that the team will
separately monitor each individual detainee whO is undergoing sleep deprivation, and that the
applieation ofthis technique wlll be sensitive to the individualized physical condition and
reaea--Qf:'eaoh.detainee. Moreover, we C!lIphasize.Jlur understan<Hng that OMS will intervene
to alter or stop the course ofsleep'deprivation for a detainee if OMS concludes in its medical
judgment·thatthe detainee isorinay be experiencing exttemephysicaldistress." The team, we
=
"~.",.

.." ~~-l.t'lndood,<lldlOugh4t,maY~oSUl'plising-to.those,not.fumiliar~llt.lhe.extensiv.e.roe~,

.....

relating 10 sl<:ej) deprivation, based o' that literature MIl its experience willlllle tecl)nique,in its guidelines, OMS
lists sleep deprivationas less intense than water dousing,sl:ros$ PQsilions, walling, cramPQd confinement, and the
mllerboard. See OMS ifJidefine, at 8.
" For example, any physical pain ersuffering a~ated wilh standing or with s!J:Ickles might berome
more intense with an extended uso of the tOl'!lnique on a particular detlli\eewhose C<!ndition and strength do 'ot
permil him to tolel1lle i~ and we undetSland that persollllel monitoring theilelainee will take this p'ossibility .into
aCC<lunt and, if n~sal)', will ensure that the delaineeis placed into a silling or !lo!i;:OOlal position or will direct
thlllthe sleep deprivation be di@lltiJluedaltOgether. See O~ Guid,lines alI4·16.

understand, will interVene not only ifthe sleep deprivation itself may be having such effects, but
, also if the shackling or other conditions attendant to the technique appear to lx; causing severe
physical suffering, With these precaUtions 'in 'place, and based on the assumption that they will
be followed, we,conclude that the autliorized use 'ofeXteildedsleep deprivation by adequately
, trnlried interrogators would not be expected to ari<l could not reasonably be considered .
.specifically irttended to eRuse severe physical suffering in violation of 18 U.S, C, §§ 234Q-234QA.
Finally, we also conclude that extended sleep deprivation cannot be expeCted to Cause
"severe mental painCr suffering" as defined in sections 2340·2340A, and thaI Its ituthorized use
by adequately trained Interrogators could not reasonably be considered specifically intended to
do so,, First, we do not believe thal,use ofthe sleep deprivation technique, subject to the
conditions in place, would involve one ofthepredicate acts necessary for "severe menta! ,pain or
suffering" under the statUte, There would. be no infliction or thr~enedinfliction ofsevere
physical pain or suffering, Within the,ineariing ofthe statute, and there'wOllld be'no threat of
'imminent desth, It may be questioned whether sleep deprivation, enuldbe chanicterized a~ a
"procedureD calculated to disrupt profoundly the s,enses or the personality" within the fUelUIing ,
ofsection 2340(2)(B), since we understand from OMS and from the scientifi.c literature that· .
extended sleep deprivation might imlucc halIucinatiOJ:ls in some cases. Physicians'from OMS
'. have informed us, however, that they are of the view that, in general, no "profound" disruption
wOllld result from the length ofsleep deprivation contemplated by. the CIA, and again the
scientific literature we have reviewed appears to support this cOnclusion, Moreover, we
. understand that any team member would direct that the technique be immediately discontinued. if
there Vfereaily sign that the detainec is experiencing hallucinauQOS. Thus, it appesrs that the
authorized use of sleep deprivation by the CIA would not'be expected to result in a profound
disruption ofthe senses, and if it did; it WOUld be,discontinued. Even assuming, however, that
.the extended use ofsieep deprivation may result in hallucinations that equld fairly be
,characterized as a "profoun<:f':disrilption ofthe subject's'senses, we do not bel(eveit tellable to
conClude that in such circumstances the use of.leep deprivation wuld be said to be "calculated"
10 cause such profound disruption 10 the senses, as required by the statute, The teml "ciUcil!ated"
denotes something that is -planned or thoullut out beforehand: "Ca1culate," as used in the statute, '
is defined to mean:'to plan the nature ofb~forchand; think ouf'; "to 'design, prepare, or adapt by
forethought or careful plan: fit or prepare by appropriate means;" Webster's Third New
:lntemdtiorla[ Dictionary at 315,(defining".calculate"-"used chiefly [as it is in section
2340(2)(B)] as [a] past part[iciple] with complernentaryjnfinitive <calculCJ!ed to succeed>"),
H~re, it is evident that the potential for any hallucinations on the part of a detainee undergoing
sleep deprivation is not sOmething that would be a "calculated" result ofthe use of this
tec~e; partirularlygiven that the team would intervene immediately to stopihe teclmique if
there were signs the subject was experiencing hallucinations.
.

._-- -

S€&lm:t;even It VWYiele to assume, out crail abundance oi cautlQI~ that ~=st=..;;;ee'fj'prr=====

deprivation could be said to be a "ptocedureD calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the
'persifiliJifj?'oI'ffie suO)CCT WiffiiiiiliefucamngOfSecnonn40(2)(B), we Bo nofbeIieve'fllml'tl'S·.. ,··
technique would be expected to--ilr that its authorized use by adequately trained interrogators
could reasonablylx; considered specilically ihtended to--cause "prolonged mental harm" as
required by the statute, because, as we understand it, anJhallucinatoIy effects of sleep
aeprivation would dissipate rapidly, OMS has inforrttedus, based on th<i scientific. literature and

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on its own experience with' detainees who have been sleep deprived, that any such hallucinatory
effects would not be prolonged, We understand from OMS that Why We 'Sleep provides an
'accurate summary ofthe scientific literatUre on tbis point. As disC\lssed there, the longest
documented period of time for which any human has gone without sleep is 264 hours, See id at
29-34. The longest study with more than One subject involved 205 hour'S ofsleep deprivation.
See id. at 37·42, We undet:stand that these and other studies constituting a significant body of
scientific Iiteratllre indicate that sleepdeprivationteciporarily affects the functioning ofthe brain
but does not otherwise have significant physiologl()lll effects, See id at 100. Sleep deprivation's
effects on the brain are generally not severe but call include impaired cognitive performance and
visual hallucinations; however, these effects dissipate rapidly, often with as little as one night's
sleep. See iii. at 31·32,34-37, 40, 47-53. Thus, we conclude, any temporary hallucinations that
might result from extended sle.ep deprivation could not reasonably be considered "prolonged
mental hann"'forpurposes ofsections 2340-2340A."
II) light ofthese Observations, altboughin its extended uses it may present asubstantiaI.
guestion under sections 2340-23.40A, we conclude !bauhe a1Jthori~d use ofsleep deprivation by
adequately trained interrogators, subject to the limitations and monitoring in place, could not
reasonably be considered speCifically intended to cause severe mental pain or suffering, Finally,
the use of a diaper for sanitary purposes on an individual subjected to sleep deprivation, ,,!hile
potentialiy humiliating, could not be considered specifically iniended toinfiictsevere mental
. pa.in or suffering within the meaning <>fthe statute, because there would be no statutory predicate
act and no reason to expect "prolonged mental harfn" to result." .
" Without detemtining the miniItlUm timefor menull hanil 10 be considered "prolong~ " we do not
believe that ·prolonged menllll harm" would oo::ur during the Sloop deprivatioll itself. As IlOle<!, OMS would order
\lull ti)e lechniqu~be discontinUed ifh.atlucinatio", occurred. Mo~r,even ifOMS persolUlel were not aWare of
any such hallucinations, whatever time would remain betw""n the on",1 ofsuch hallucinations, whiclt presumably
.would be well into the period ofsl¢ep deprivation, and the 180-hour maximum for sleep deprivation would nol
constitute "Prolonged" mental harm WiUlin the meaning of the Slatute. Nevertheless, we .nole that this aspect oflhe
teclmique·~Us for ~ t:;l1'e in monitoring by OMS personnel, inclUding psycltologists, ~any as the length of
the period of sl¢ep deprivation irtet:eases.·
.,
,. We nOleU13.lthe court ofappe;!lsinHi/pov. Estole a/Marcos, 103 F.3d789 (9th Or. 1996),siated that
a variety oftechniques taken Wgether, onepfwhleh. was!l~pdeprivation, amOlmted (0 torture. The eourt.
however, did not ~fjC;ijiy dlsouss sl¢epdeprivallon apartffum the \lfuer conduct at IsSue, and Itdid.noleo.elude
\h.a( sleep deprivation alone amClUnted 10 torttU:C. IMretand v, Unlled Kingpom,the EnropeanCOurfofflurnan
. Rights conclu,ded by .. Vote of 1M ihatsleepdeprlVllt!o", even in conjunMon with. nUnlOer of oth~! l~ques,
did ~"'iif(o tontU:C.unller the E\U1lpeariChartei?' nle dw:ation of the sloop d~ctvation at '$SUe was !lOt clear.
see separate opinion of Judge Fitzmauiiee
lo,but may have been 96·1W hours, see Imljority pplnioh at , 104.
finally, we nutethal the COmmittee Against Tort1lie oftheOIl:i<;e ofthe HighCOrnrnissionedorHuman Rights, in

at,

===""'==dG:;;'A"'""''''"''ulidi·sg;G.b~mille~el;-U;N;

IlQl;;'#5Zf.j~$1'(Ma, ?, 1?91);

concludod that avariety ofpractice;; taken lpgether, inclUding "sl¢ep deprivation for prplonged perio;:ls," "constitute
.... .!£..r1J!!e ,35 d~..!)ed in. wefe I ofthe (CAII,:~l!JJlIilJ:llliaQ.om;~~.millJ'.ll.l'Jl9tJd..tlm~itme" .'
Against Torlure, U.N. Doc. AJ57144 at 1 56 (Sept: to, (997) ("sloop deprivation practised on suspects .•. Iruly in
some
constitute torture"). The Commitlee provided no detaits on the length ofthe sleep deprivation or how it
was Implemented and no analysis to suppert its conclusion. These pI'e<odenlS provide little or np helpful gliid3nce
in our review of the CIA's use ofsleep deprivatipn uadersed.ions 2340,2340 A. Wltiie we dp not rdy on this fact in
inte<preting sections 2340-2340A, we nole that we are aware ofne decision of any foreign <Xlurt or inte'¥tional
tIibunallinding thai the techniques llnalywl here, if subject 10 the !imitations and conditions set ou~ would amount

=

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13. Walerbam-d. Wepteviou~[y concluded that the use of the waterboard did not
constitute torture under sectiQos 2340-2,340A. See ImerrogajicmMemorandum at II, 15. We
must reexamine the iSsue, however, beeause the technique, as it would be used, could involve
more applications in longer sessions (and possibly using different methods) than we earlier
considered,51

We understand that in the escalating tegimen of interrogation techniques, the watertJoard
is considered to be the most serious, requires ,a separate approval that may be sought oniy after
other techniques have not worked (or are ronsidered unlikely to work in t/le time available), and
in faet has beel1-1lnd is expected to be-used on very few detainees. We accept the assessment
of OMS that the waterboard "is by far the most traumatic ofthe enhanc,ed interrogation
tec!rniques." OMS (fujdelints at 15. This technique Could subject a detainee to a high degree of
distress. A detainee to whom the technique is applied'will experience the physiological
,sensation of drowning, which likely wiUlead to panic. We under~tand that even a detainee who
knows he is not gOing to drC?wn is likely to have this response. Indeed, we are informed that
.
even individuals very familiar with the technique experience this ~l1sation when sub] ected to the
wateruoard.
Nevertheless, although this technique presents the most substantial question' under the
statute, we conclude for the reasOlll> 4iscussed below tbat the authorized use ofthe wliterboaid by .
adequately trained IntelTogators, subject to the limitations and conditions adopted by the CIA and
[Mhe 'absence of any medical Yonlraindica!ions, would not violate sections 2340-Z340A, (J{ e
under:stand t~contra~dicat~(m may h~ve.precluded 0e use ofthis .p:m~cular .
..technique o~ In reaching this Co.ncJUSlOn, we do not In any way nurumlze the

" The lG Report noted that in ~me cases the W3terlJoord was used wiill far greater frequency,than initi.'llly
indicated, seelG Report a15, 44, 46, l034l, and.alsothatitwas usedinadil'forenfmanne.-. ~e td.at37 ("mhe
1"3\etboard technique .•• wils different nom ~technique descnlJOOin Ute DoJ opinion and ~il\the SERE
«ainirig, The difference was in fhe manner in which the delaillee'sbr~thlng was ol>slnieted. Ai the SERE scItool
anet ~opinion, the,pubje>::t's aid!ow.isdisrup,led by the finn application ~fa. damp cloth over the air
passages; the interrogator "l'plles a'sniaIl aJlIount ofmter to the cloth in a coatreTI'ea manner. By contrast, the
Agency mterrogator. .. applied large volumes ofwater to a cloth that covered ~ detainee's. m.oulh and nose. One
otilie psychologists/interrogators aclmowledged that the Agency's USC oftho technique is different from jhat used in
SHill Gaiiliug lXDjj£ills iO('feaJ4lrid'lS1IlofOJ'Olgujff('11"t'Wll\Il~11lA~~ilf==---_
General fuither reported that "OMS ooatends lhatl\1e expertise otthe SERE psychologistl'mterTogators'on the
. ··,-atefboard.was.prob:lblr...misreprCsented.;ltJhefune,.as1he.sEBE.1£1l~=is..§& di~rer( fromtlt!!.
.
subsequent Agency Uflge as to l1lakdtalmostir!el'evanl C<msequenOy, accordillj; to OMS, there was no a priori
reason to beliove trot applying theVl"te1boartl willi the frequency and intClisity "lUlwrueh it was~ \ly,the
psychologist/interrogators was either diicacioU5 Dt medically safe." lri at21 11.2<;. We havec;uefullycoosidered
the 10 Report and discussed it with OMS pe!SOJl!!el. As noted, OMS i.nput has ttsUlted in a aumbcrofchanges in
the applieatioil ofthe waterl>oard, including limits on tlte frequenC'j and ewnulative uSe ofthe technique, Mo!W>'er,
OMS persoll1lelare carefully instructed in monitorlngtltls tOclmiqueaiid are personally pre:;<>Dt vAten¢ver it is used.
8ee OMS Guidelines at 17-20, lndeM, altltUugh physician itSsis= can be preselll W11"D other enhanced techniques
are applied, "use of the watertx>aldreqoiles the presence of aphysician." Jd. at 9ne2.

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experience, The paIlie associated with the feeling of drowning could undoubtedly be significant. .
There may be few more frightening experiences than feeling: that one is unable to breathe,"
.

However frightening the experience may be, OMS personnel have informed us that the
waterboard technique is n,ot physicaily painfuL This conclusion, as we understand the facts,
acootds with the experience in SERE trairiing, where the'waterboard has been administered to
several thousand members of the United States Aimed Forces," To be sure, in SERE training, '
the technique is confined to at most two applications (and usually only oile) of no more than 40
.seconds each. Here;there may be two sessionS, ofup to two hours each, during a :1A-hour
peri<XI, and eachsess'ion may include multipleapplicatiollS, ofwhich six may last 10 seconds or
longer (but none more than 40 seconds), for. atotal time of application of as much as 12 minutes
. in a Z4·hour period,. fUrtherm. o.re, thewaterb<latdMma.
heU.S ••.on up. to five daY.s. during the. 30-day period forwhich it is approved, SeeAugIIstl9
. Iter at 1-2, As you have ' .
informed us, the CIA has preViously used thewat
arrepeatedlyon two detainees, and, as far·
as can be determined, these detainees did not exp~rience physical pain or, in' the professional
j\1dgment of doctors, is there any medical reason to believe they would have done so. Therefore,
we conclllde that the allthorized use of (he waterboard by adequately trained, interrogators' could'
not reasonably be considered specifically intended to cause "severe physical pain,"
We also conclude that the use ofthe waterboaid, under the strict limits :lond conditions
imposed, would not be expected to cause "severe physical suffering" under the statute, As noted
..above, the difficulty of specifYing II category of physical suffering apart from .both physicalpain
.and mental pain or sUffering, along with the reqllirement that aIlY such sufferingbe'''severe,''
.
calls for an interpretation under which "severe physical SUffering" is reserved for physical
distress that is severe considering both its intensity and duration, To the extent that in some
applications the use ofthe waterboard could cause choking or similar physicar.-as opposed to
,mental-sensations, those physical sensations might well have an intensity approaching the '
'degree'contemplated by the statute, However, understand that any such physical--as
opposed to mental-sensations caused bytbeuse ofthe waterboard end when the application

we

" As noted above, in most uses oftltetepruuq1le1 the ;ndividnal ~ in fact able to bieadle, thouslt his .
.breathing is r<:Slricted, Because in some usesbreaihing w9l"d not be possible; forpurjXJS<>s ofour """lysis we
nssume thnt the detainee is unable [0 breathe during al'pli"i'tiops or:water,
',."""';i. We,tInderstanq;l:hattlte watetlx>.:wJ is"i'f.IenUY used only in NaY)' SERE training, As noted, in the IG
Reporl, "[a]ccOrding 10 individu:alswith.authorilJltive kno)\'ledg" of the SERE program, ,, . [eJxcept for NaY)' SERE
!mining, use of the waterl:Ji?anl W3S discontinuedbe<:aus¢ qf its dr;!matic effect on the stUdents who were subjects,"
J(J Re r( at t4n.! 4, We11lldemand that useofllle W1lleiboard was discontinUed by the other services not bocauSe
o any concerns a

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ends. Given the time limits imposed, and thdact that any physical distress (as opposed to
posstble mental suffering, whiCh is discussed below) would OW1lr only during the actual
.application afwater, the physical distress caused by the wateItoard would not be expected to
have tbe duration requiredto amount to severe pbysical suffering." Applications are strictly
,limited to at most 40 seconds, and a total ofat most 12 minutes in any 24·hour period, and use of
the technique is limited to at most five days duringthe 30.day period we consider.
Consequently, urider tbese conditions, use oftile waterooardcatlnot be expected to cause "severe
physical suffering" within the -meanillg ofthe statute, and we conclude that its authorized use by
adequately train\:d interrogators could not reasonably be, considered 'specifically intended to
cause "severe physicafsuffering."" Again, however, we caution that great care Sll!>uld be used
in adhering to the limitations imposed and in monitoring any detainee subje¢ted to it to prevent
the detainee frOm'experiencing severe physical suffering.
.
The most substantial question raised by the wateItoard relates to the statutory definition
of"severe mental pain or sUfferi!lg." The sensation ofdrowning thatw¢ understa!ld
acoompanies the use ofthe waterboard argua!lly could qualify as a "threat of imminent death"
within the meaning ofseetion::<340(2)(C) and thus might constitute,a p.redicate aetfor"severe
, mental pain or '~ering"under the statute," Although the waterboard is used with safeguards
that make actual harm quileunlikely, the detainee may not Know about these safeguards, and
even Ifhe does leann ofthem, the technique is still likely to create panic in,the form of an acute
instinctu~1 fear arising fromihe,physiological sensation ofdrowning.
Nevertheless, the statutory definition of"severe If\ental pain or suffering" also requires
that the predicate act produce "p,rolongedmenlal harm." 18 U.S. C, § 2340(2). As we
understand from OMS personnel familiar with the history olthe waterboard technique, as used
both in SERE training (though in a sUbstantially different manner) and in the previous CIA
'interrogations, there is no medical basis to believe that the teChnique would produce any mental
effect beyond the distress that directly accompanies its use and the prospect that it will be used
again, We understand from the CIA that to date none afthe thousands ofpersons Who have
undergone the moreJimited use ofIhe teehniquein SERE traininghM suffered prolonged mental
harm as a result. The CIA's ~e of the technique could farexeeed the one or two applications to
whicl't'SERE training is limited, and tlteparticipanl inSEREtraining presumably unden;tands
thatthe technique is part of atraining program that is not intended to hUrl him and will end at
som~~a.bletime.",But the physlyians Ij!td psycllotogislsat the <;;IA familiar with the facts

" w~ emwize tll31 physical suffering d,ilfers fum physi<al tWn in this n;,spevt.PhTIiC3l pain may b¢
"severe" even if lmng olily seoonas; Wticreas, by oontras!, physli% distress may amount to "5e1'ete phYSlciil
suffering" only ifit is S!lvere both in intensity and d~tion .

.. ,'...." .. "'-'ll-'''-''~'~'-''-'~'-~'-~--~'-'--'-'-''''''''''''-''·'-'--'',

....-'.. -c

",-_._-,..__.._--_•. --"

As with sleep deprivation, !he particular condition of tile individual detaineemUS! be monitored so that.

willi extended or repeated use ofthe techiliqoe, tile'detainee's experience does nordep'art from Ulese expectations.
,
'" It is unclear ",heUler a dewn", being oubJected to ul~ IVaterlloard in fact ~xperiences it as a "threat of
im.minent death." We Wldmtand tllatllie CIA may infonn a d~tainee on whom this technique is used that. he would
not be allowed to dro"TI, Moreover, :ifter tmIltiple applications of the'watetJ>oard, it may become apparent to the
detainee that, however frightening lh~ experience may be, it will not result in <lealh,Nevertheleis, for puxpos<:s 9f
our analysis, we will assume that tbe physiological Sensation ofdrowning associated Willi the use of the waterl>oard
may constitute a "threat of imminenl death", within dle meaning ofsections 2340·234<1A

TO~

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4fj

have informed us that in the case of the two detainees who have been subjected to more
exten.sive use ofthe waterboard technique, no evidence ofprolonged mental harm has appeared
.in the period since the use ofthe waterboaro on those detainees, a period whlc~ now spans at .
least 25 months for each ofthese detainees. Morepver, in their professional judgment.based on
this experience and the admittedly different S.llRE experience, OMS officials inform us that they
would not expect the waterboard to cause such harm.· Nor do we. believe that the distress
accpmpanying use of the teclmiqueou live days in a 3o-day period, in itself; CQuld be the
"prolonged mental harm" to which the statute refers. The teclmiqqe may be designed to create
fear at the time it is med on the detainee, so that the detainee will cooperate to avoid Mure
sessions. Furthermore,we acknowle<ige that the term "prolonged" is imprecise, Nonetheless,
without.in any way minimizing the distress caused by this technique, we believe that the panic
brought on by the waterboard dU:ring the very limited time it is actu~ly administered, combined
wilh any residual fear that may be experienced over a somewhat longer perlo,!, could not be said
to amount to the "prolonged mental harm" that the statute covers," ·For these reasol\S, we
conclude tnat lhe authorized use of the waterboard by adequately trained interro·gators could not
reasonably be considered speeifLcally intended to cause "prolonged mental nann." Again,
however, we cautionthllt the use ofthis technique calls for the most careful adherence to the
limitations.and safeguards imposed, including constant monitoring by both medical and
psychological personnel of any detainee who is subjected to the waterboard.

51 In Hiloc. v. Eslale ofMarccs;Cne Ninlh Circuit state<! ilJat acourse ofoonduct inV(ihing a nQmber of
tecbniq\l"'" one ofwhich has simlJariti.s to 1M watel\1oard,constilUle<! tolt1lre. The oourt de.s6rlbedlhe course of
conduct as follo'\\'S:
, "
'

He was then interrogated by m=bersofthemilitary, who blindfotded and seYerelybeat him
while he was hJindculfedandfettered;they atSQ t1u«>tened hini. WIth death. When this round of
intmQg.tion OIlded, he was denied sleep and repeatedly UlTCBtetle<i v.:ith death. 1/\ the~extround
of interrogation, all pfhis U<nbs were shackle<! to a oot and a lowel VI:lS placed over his nose and
mouth; his interrogators thOll poure<! ·water down hi, nostrils so tlu!t h. felt as though he Were
drowning. This lasted for approximatelys" hours, during which time inlelTogators t1u«>tened
[him] with clCWic shock and death. At lbe end ofthis water torture, [he] was left shackled 10 the
col·for lbe follOwing 1broe days, during wmch dme he was repeatedly lnten:ogated;· He was then
imprisoned for seven mcnths in a S)lffo<:atingly bet and unJitcdl, ~ Z.S meters square;
dunng this time he was sbackledlo his co~ atMt by aUMs limbs and later by cne hand and cne
. foo~ for all but Ute briefest periods (in which he was allowed to eat or use Ute roi!et): The
·''''''lbni1~Ulf, were omn SO tiglil thsttlie slight~Stmovement ... made lhenl'tUt inJu his nesh. During
this period, he felt 'extreme pain, a1must. undesctibable, the boredom' and 'the feeling that lOllS of
lead, .. were falling on (his] brain. [He] was never told how long thetrWmOlltinflicted uPI'n
~-_. ,.".._.__ ""

..-·dHm.wnyljlast A:fteehIs.~AtM..sba~~nt:mere..tfUVr<Y;gbf.·Y~",_.=====.",_
.,.,._.""._

detention, apprcldmately five of!hem in su!it:uy torilinement and the rest in near·so!i1atY
confinement.
_ _ • _ _..-"--.i..
•..•
.••
•
...
,_,..,..,,... .........
......... .............

----,.,.•. ,.--.,..,-.....

..-..~_~

~~,,_,

~_~

,~

...,._---..v ~'"'

~

~_~'._,_~.,,

__

.~_._"

103 F.3d at 790·91. The court Uten concluded, "it seems clear thst all of the abUs"" to which [aplaintiff] testifiedincluding the eight yem during which he was heldm ,o!italy ornear.solilatY cOllfinernent-wnstituted a ,ingle
course of conduct oftorture." Iii, at 795: In addition to the obvious differences between tile teclmique in Hilao and .
the CIA's US( cfthc watetbcard subjett to tile careful limits desctibed abeve (among o!berthing" in Hilao (he
=ion lasted six hours and fcllowed explicitt1u«>ts of death and
physi<:al beatings), Ihe court ceachOOno
conclusion ths~ the technique by itself constituted torture. llowever, the fact thal a federal appellate court would
even colloquially describe a technique thst may share some ofilie characteristics of tile wa.terooard as"water
torture" C()UltS<:ls continued care and careful monitoring in the use of this tecl1nique.

severe

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[.

I

I

Even if the occurrence of one'~f the predicate acts eQuId, depending on the circumstances
ofa pllfticular case, give rise to an inference onntent to cause "prolopged mentalhann," no such
circumstances exist here. 'On the coirtrary, eXpctience with the use of the waterboard indicates
thaI prolonged mental harm would not be expected to occur, and CIA's use ofthe technique is
subject to a variety ofsafeguards; disWssedabove, desi~ed to etlS\lre that prolonged mental
h,arm dOes not result Therefore, the circumstances here would negate anY'potentiaHnference of
specific intent to cauSe such harm.
Assuming. adherence to thestriet 11lnitations discussed herein, including the careful
medical monitoring and available intervention by the teainas necessary, we conclude that
although the question is substantial aild difficult, the alltho!if.ed use ofthewsterboardby
adequately trained interrogators and othertearn members could nj)t reaJ>onably be col1Sidered
specifically intended to cause severe physical.or mental pain or suffering and thus would not
violate sections 2340 c2340A."

•

.-_
_._
...

~........,..

..

~

..

•

•

rn sum; based on the information you have provided and the limitations, procedores, and
'safeguards that would be in place, we conclude that-although el\1ended sleep deprivation and
use ofthe waterboard present more substantial questions in certain fflSP¢Cts under the statute and
the use oftile waterboard raises the most sub.tantial issue-noneoftllese specific techniques,
considered individually, would violate the prohibition in sections 134:0·2340A. The universal
rejection of torture and the President's unequiyocal directiveJhat the United States not engage in
. torture warrant great care in analyzing whether particular interrogation techniques are consistent
with the requirements 6fsections 2340-2340A,'and we have atteroptedtoemploy such care
throughout our analysis. We emphasize that t!lese areissuli about whiCh reasonalllepersons
may disagree. Ourtask hasbeeri made more difficult by the imprecision ofthe statute and the
relative absence ofjudicial guidapce, but we have applied our best reading oftha law to the
. specific facts that you have provided. As is apparent, ourconclusioo is based on .the assumption
:that close observation, including medical and psychologioal monitoring orthe detainees, will
continue during the period when these tecluliq\!es are used; that the personnel present are
,authorized to, arid will, stop the useofa technique at any time !flhey believe it is being used
irnproperlyor threatens a detain~'s safety or that a detainee may be at risk ofsuffering severe
phy
~e\ltal psi'!,or sUffering; 'ipat the,rnedicaLand psychologjsal personnel are
continuallyassessing the availablditeratun; and ongoing experience wIth detainees, and that, as
they have done to date,.they will make adjustments to techniques to ensureihat they do not cause
severe physicaJ pr mootsl pain or snffedngto the det8inee~d-th.~~g ..tol+!lnd nth" .
team members understand the proper use of the t¢miques, thai tl1e techniques are not designed

=

" AJ; noted, medical pelwnnel are instructed to exercise special
in monitoring and reporting Oll use of
the wateMard. See OMS Guidelines al2Q ("N01E:In order to beslinf~nnfuture mediyaljudgmenls and
recommwdatiol15, it is important IMt oyery~plication ofthe waterboard be thoroughly (jocomented: how long each
application (and the entire procedure)'lasted, hoW much Willer was used in tlteproC<:ss (realizing that much splashes .
off), how exaotly !!te water was applied, if a .....1was aellieved, if the naso- or oropharynxwas filled, what sort of
volume was expelled, how long was the.breaJcbetween ~plicatio<is, and how the subject looked between each .
.treatment:') (emphasis omitted).

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or intended to cause severe physical or mental pain or suffering, and that they must cooperate
with OMS personnel in the exercise of their important duties,
Plea~e

let us know ifwe may be of further assistaJllle,

~6~
Steven G,' Bradbury
Principal Deputy AS,sistsnt Attorney General

" .• , .....- ,

~"'

r',.",_", .. ,

,~ ... ~.

 

 

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