Stand-up guy


Geraldine Sealey
June 22, 2004 7:19PM (UTC)

The Pentagon is apparently going to release memos today regarding what kind of treatment Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld did or did not authorize for Gitmo detainees. An initial CNN story reported that: "Among the memos, Pentagon officials said, is a directive signed by Rumsfeld in October 2002 authorizing a technique called 'water boarding,' in which a prisoner is strapped down, immersed in water, and made to feel as if he is going to drown."

But the Pentagon got to CNN, and the piece has been changed to say "the expected release of memos Tuesday will show that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld never approved a controversial interrogation technique called 'water boarding,' contrary to what CNN reported earlier."

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"The senior defense official who provided the original information to CNN now says Rumsfeld only approved 'mild, noninjurious physical contact' with a high-level al Qaeda detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and specifically did not approve a request to use water boarding."

The orginal CNN story also contained this revealing tidbit, no longer in the update:

"Sources said another memo signed by Rumsfeld authorizes forcing detainees to stand for up to four hours at a time. 'I stand for eight hours a day,' scribbled Rumsfeld at the bottom of the page according to a source. Rumsfeld, who does not like to sit, works at a stand-up desk in his Pentagon office." (Emphasis added.) We'll see what the memos actually say later on if they're produced.


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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