Senate report says Pentagon skewed timeline on interrogation

A Senate committee finds that there are major holes in Pentagon officials' stories about the decision to use certain interrogation tactics at Guant

Published June 17, 2008 1:00PM (EDT)

According to the official story, discussion of newer, harsher interrogation methods began in October 2002, when field commanders at Guantánamo Bay requested nontraditional methods to deal with detainees held there. But, the Washington Post reports Tuesday, a new Senate committee report questions that timeline, and says the discussion started higher up the chain of command.

Based on "congressional sources briefed on the findings," the Post reports, contrary to this official story, "memos and other evidence ... show that officials in the office of then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld started to research the use of waterboarding, stress positions, sensory deprivation and other practices in July 2002, months before memos from commanders at the detention facility in Cuba requested permission to use those measures on suspected terrorists."

The Post also says that a list of techniques that included many of those methods eventually formally approved for use at Guantánamo had been drawn up by the end of July 2002, and that senior administration officials -- including William J. "Jim" Haynes II, the former Pentagon general counsel, who suggested the October 2002 timeline to to a Senate panel in 2006 -- had visited Guantánamo in September 2002 to "talk about techniques."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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