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Vocapedia > Terrorism, Wars, Intelligence


USA > Central Intelligence Agency    C.I.A.




Terry Mosher (Aislin)


The Montreal Gazette

Montreal, Canada


27 August 2009





















































































































































































USA > Central Intelligence Agency    CIA        FR / UK / USA























afghanistan-night-raids-zero-units-lynzy-billing - December 15, 2022














































operation-condor-cia-latin-america-repression-torture - Nov. 30, 2020








































watch?v=udnDah1ZACQ - NYT - May 10, 2018


watch?v=i2O1RAi7-UU - NYT - May 9, 2018

























































































































































at the Central Intelligence Agency










 CIA-backed Zero Units (...)

conducted night raids

— quick, brutal operations designed

to have resounding psychological impacts

while ostensibly removing

high-priority enemy targets.


afghanistan-night-raids-zero-units-investigation-takeaways - January 5, 2023









CIA-backed operations during the war in Afghanistan >

civilians killed during raids by the 02 unit

over a four-year-period: June 2017 to July 2021.

- warning: this story contains graphic descriptions

and images of war casualties.


afghanistan-night-raids-zero-units-lynzy-billing - December 15, 2022
























































































































































 USA > CIA directors >  George Tenet    July 1997 - July 2004        UK / USA




story.php?storyId=9903583 - April 29, 2007


story.php?storyId=9896321 - April 27 / April 28, 2007


story.php?storyId=9947067 - May 2, 2007


story.php?storyId=9946789 - May 1, 2007




story.php?storyId=1922781 - June 4, 2004


story.php?storyId=3124036 - July 4, 2004


story.php?storyId=1921115 - June 4, 2004






story.php?storyId=1645748 - February 5, 2004


story.php?storyId=1646875 - February 5, 2004
























CIA informants










CIA contractor










intelligence gathering


















secret C.I.A. prison


100000004694493/memories-of-a-secret-cia-prison.html - October 2016








USA > secret CIA interrogation facility        UK










network of overseas secret CIA prisons,

known as "black sites"


























targeted killing






kill list






























CIA drone attacks in Pakistan        2010






CIA probe






C.I.A. Interrogations


After the attacks of Sept. 11,

President Bush

signed a series of directives

authorizing the Central Intelligence Agency

to conduct a covert war against

Osama bin Laden's terrorist network,

Al Qaeda.


The directives

empowered the agency

to kill or capture

Al Qaeda leaders.


The C.I.A. began

jailing suspects in 2002,

creating a detention

and interrogation

program from scratch

to deal with so-called

"high value detainees"

of the war on terror.


Its detention program

for Al Qaeda leaders

was the most secretive component

of an extensive regime

of detention and interrogation

put into place

by the United States government

after the Sept. 11 attacks

and the war in Afghanistan.

Updated: April 22, 2009











C.I.A. prisoner abuse

abuses inside the agency’s secret prisons












CIA report on terrorism suspect interrogations        2004        UK / USA














'enhanced interrogation techniques'        UK/ USA


















mock execution

















UK > terror renditions        UK










rendition        USA












USA > Timeline: CIA rendition        UK        2008


A recent history

of the US programme of moving suspects

from one country to another without due process










USA > CIA rendition flights / extraordinary renditions        UK / USA




















































USA > CIA rendition programme > Poland        UK

















CIA's torture program

for the accused Sept. 11 terrorists        USA










torture        UK / USA

















watch?v=udnDah1ZACQ - NYT - May 10, 2018




































torturer        USA












military psychologists        USA

















Cagle cartoons > Torture Memos        USA        April 2009










'torture flights'        UK

















enemy combatant        UK










be held as an enemy combatant


















Steve Breen

political cartoon

The San Diego Union-Tribune


31 August 2009























USA > waterboarding        UK / USA
































CIA > 'waterboarding' / interrogation tapes        2007














sleep deprivation



















Brian Fairrington

political cartoon


1 September 2009















mole        USA










turncoat        USA

















movies > 1975 > Sydney Pollack's ‘Three Days of Condor’

















1973 > Chile > U.S. Role in Chilean Coup


Salvador_Allende_(film) - 2004




story.php?storyId=1421901 - Sept. 6, 2003















Phoenix Program


In late December 1967,

the government of South Vietnam


a reorganization of its war effort

against the country’s

Communist insurgency.



Effective immediately,

all South Vietnamese

counterinsurgency activities

became part of a new program

known as Phuong Hoang,

a reference to a magical bird

associated with royalty and power

in Vietnamese and Chinese

cultural traditions.


In response

to the South Vietnamese move,

American officials in Vietnam

began referring to their own

counterinsurgency coordination efforts

by the name that they deemed

the closest Western analogue

to the mythical creature:



The Phoenix program would become

one of the most controversial aspects

of America’s war in Vietnam.


Sponsored by the C.I.A.,

Phoenix used paramilitary teams

to target undercover Communist operatives

in villages throughout South Vietnam.


Witnesses claimed

that members of the program’s teams

and their American advisers

routinely carried out torture,

murders and assassinations,

accusations that American officials denied.




















early 1960s > Cuba > Operation Mongoose


It was the late summer of 1962.


The previous year,

the U.S. invasion of the Bay of Pigs,

meant to topple

the communist regime of Fidel Castro,

had been an embarrassing failure.


The administration of President John F. Kennedy

had turned instead to a Plan B to destabilize Cuba

and hopefully take down Castro:

Operation Mongoose.














































specials/schlesinger-robert.html November 12, 1978










Corpus of news articles


 Terrorism, Wars, Conflicts, Coups > USA


Central Intelligence Agency




C.I.A. to Be Overhauled

to Fight Modern Threats


MARCH 6, 2015

The New York Times



LANGLEY, Va. — John O. Brennan, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is planning to reassign thousands of undercover spies and intelligence analysts into new departments as part of a restructuring of the 67-year-old agency, a move he said would make it more successful against modern threats and crises.

Drawing from disparate sources — from the Pentagon to corporate America — Mr. Brennan’s plan would partly abandon the agency’s current structure that keeps spies and analysts separate as they target specific regions or countries. Instead, C.I.A. officers will be assigned to 10 new mission centers focused on terrorism, weapons proliferation, the Middle East and other areas with responsibility for espionage operations, intelligence analysis and covert actions.

During a briefing with reporters on Wednesday, Mr. Brennan gave few specifics about how a new structure would make the C.I.A. better at spying in an era of continued terrorism, cyberspying and tumult across the Middle East. But he said the current structure of having undercover spies and analysts cloistered separately — with little interaction and answering to different bosses — was anachronistic given the myriad global issues the agency faces.

“I’ve never seen a time when we have been confronted with such an array of very challenging, complex and serious threats to our national security, and issues that we have to grapple with,” he said.

One model for the new divisions is the agency’s Counterterrorism Center, an amalgam of undercover spies and analysts charged with hunting, and often killing, militant suspects across the globe. Once a small, occasionally neglected office in the C.I.A., the Counterterrorism Center has grown into a behemoth with thousands of officers since the Sept. 11 attacks as the C.I.A. has taken charge of a number of secret wars overseas.

But Mr. Brennan also cited another model for his new plan: the American military. He said that the Defense Department’s structure of having a single military commander in charge of all operations in a particular region — the way a four-star commander runs United States Central Command — was an efficient structure that led to better accountability.

Mark M. Lowenthal, a former senior C.I.A. analyst, said that the reorganization “is not going to go down smoothly” at the agency, especially among clandestine spies who have long been able to withhold information from analysts, such as the identity of their foreign agents. “The clandestine service is very, very guarded about giving too much information about sources to the analysts,” he said.

But Mr. Lowenthal, who said he had not been briefed about the reorganization and was basing his understanding of Mr. Brennan’s plan on news accounts, said that the new mission centers could help avoid a debacle like the intelligence assessments before the Iraq war, when analysts trusted information from sources they knew little about, and who were later discredited.

During his two years as C.I.A. director, Mr. Brennan has become known for working long days but also for being loath to delegate decisions to lower levels of C.I.A. bureaucracy. During the briefing on Wednesday, he showed flashes of frustration that, under the C.I.A.’s current structure, there is not one single person in charge of — and to hold accountable for — a number of pressing issues.

He avoided citing any specific examples of how the C.I.A.’s current structure was hampering operations, and often used management jargon while describing his vision for the agency.

He spoke of wanting to “wring efficiencies” out of the system and trying to identify “seams” in the agency’s current structure that hinder the C.I.A. from adequately addressing complex problems. The C.I.A. needed to modernize even if the current system was not “broken,” he said, citing how Kodak failed to anticipate the advent of digital cameras.

Mr. Brennan said he was also adding a new directorate at the agency responsible for all of the C.I.A.’s digital operations — from cyberespionage to data warehousing and analysis.

Mr. Brennan discussed his plans with reporters on the condition that nothing be made public until he met with C.I.A. employees to discuss the new structure. That meeting was Friday.

While adding the new digital directorate, Mr. Brennan chose not to scuttle the C.I.A.’s four traditional directorates sitting at the top of the bureaucracy — those in charge of clandestine operations, intelligence analysis, science and technology research, and personnel support.

The C.I.A.’s clandestine service, the cadre of undercover spies known for decades as the Directorate of Operations and in recent years renamed the National Clandestine Service, will get its original name back under Mr. Brennan’s plan.

Amy Zegart, an intelligence expert at Stanford, said that the C.I.A. risked being drawn further into the daily churn of events rather than focusing on “over-the-horizon threats” at a time when the C.I.A. has already come under criticism for paying little attention to long-term trends.

For his part, Mr. Brennan said this was the very thing he was trying to avoid — reacting to the world’s crises and not giving policy makers sufficient warning before they happened.

“I don’t want to just be part of an agency that reports on the world’s fires, and the collapse of various countries and systems,” he said.

C.I.A. to Be Overhauled to Fight Modern Threats,
MAR. 6, 2015,






Prosecute Torturers

and Their Bosses


DEC. 21, 2014


The Opinion Pages | Editorial


Since the day President Obama took office, he has failed to bring to justice anyone responsible for the torture of terrorism suspects — an official government program conceived and carried out in the years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

He did allow his Justice Department to investigate the C.I.A.’s destruction of videotapes of torture sessions and those who may have gone beyond the torture techniques authorized by President George W. Bush. But the investigation did not lead to any charges being filed, or even any accounting of why they were not filed.

Mr. Obama has said multiple times that “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards,” as though the two were incompatible. They are not. The nation cannot move forward in any meaningful way without coming to terms, legally and morally, with the abhorrent acts that were authorized, given a false patina of legality, and committed by American men and women from the highest levels of government on down.

Americans have known about many of these acts for years, but the 524-page executive summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report erases any lingering doubt about their depravity and illegality: In addition to new revelations of sadistic tactics like “rectal feeding,” scores of detainees were waterboarded, hung by their wrists, confined in coffins, sleep-deprived, threatened with death or brutally beaten. In November 2002, one detainee who was chained to a concrete floor died of “suspected hypothermia.”

These are, simply, crimes. They are prohibited by federal law, which defines torture as the intentional infliction of “severe physical or mental pain or suffering.” They are also banned by the Convention Against Torture, the international treaty that the United States ratified in 1994 and that requires prosecution of any acts of torture.

So it is no wonder that today’s blinkered apologists are desperate to call these acts anything but torture, which they clearly were. As the report reveals, these claims fail for a simple reason: C.I.A. officials admitted at the time that what they intended to do was illegal.

In July 2002, C.I.A. lawyers told the Justice Department that the agency needed to use “more aggressive methods” of interrogation that would “otherwise be prohibited by the torture statute.” They asked the department to promise not to prosecute those who used these methods. When the department refused, they shopped around for the answer they wanted. They got it from the ideologically driven lawyers in the Office of Legal Counsel, who wrote memos fabricating a legal foundation for the methods. Government officials now rely on the memos as proof that they sought and received legal clearance for their actions. But the report changes the game: We now know that this reliance was not made in good faith.

No amount of legal pretzel logic can justify the behavior detailed in the report. Indeed, it is impossible to read it and conclude that no one can be held accountable. At the very least, Mr. Obama needs to authorize a full and independent criminal investigation.

The American Civil Liberties Union is to give Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. a letter Monday calling for appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate what appears increasingly to be “a vast criminal conspiracy, under color of law, to commit torture and other serious crimes.”

The question everyone will want answered, of course, is: Who should be held accountable? That will depend on what an investigation finds, and as hard as it is to imagine Mr. Obama having the political courage to order a new investigation, it is harder to imagine a criminal probe of the actions of a former president.

But any credible investigation should include former Vice President Dick Cheney; Mr. Cheney’s chief of staff, David Addington; the former C.I.A. director George Tenet; and John Yoo and Jay Bybee, the Office of Legal Counsel lawyers who drafted what became known as the torture memos. There are many more names that could be considered, including Jose Rodriguez Jr., the C.I.A. official who ordered the destruction of the videotapes; the psychologists who devised the torture regimen; and the C.I.A. employees who carried out that regimen.

One would expect Republicans who have gone hoarse braying about Mr. Obama’s executive overreach to be the first to demand accountability, but with one notable exception, Senator John McCain, they have either fallen silent or actively defended the indefensible. They cannot even point to any results: Contrary to repeated claims by the C.I.A., the report concluded that “at no time” did any of these techniques yield intelligence that averted a terror attack. And at least 26 detainees were later determined to have been “wrongfully held.”

Starting a criminal investigation is not about payback; it is about ensuring that this never happens again and regaining the moral credibility to rebuke torture by other governments. Because of the Senate’s report, we now know the distance officials in the executive branch went to rationalize, and conceal, the crimes they wanted to commit. The question is whether the nation will stand by and allow the perpetrators of torture to have perpetual immunity for their actions.


A version of this editorial

appears in print on December 22, 2014,

on page A26 of the New York edition

with the headline:

Prosecute Torturers and Their Bosses.

    Prosecute Torturers and Their Bosses, NYT, 21.12.2014,






Malign Neglect


May 21, 2011

The New York Times


Extraordinary rendition — the abduction of foreigners, often innocent ones, by American agents who sent them to countries well known for torturing prisoners — was central to President George W. Bush’s antiterrorism policy. His administration then used wildly broad claims of state secrets to thwart any accountability for this immoral practice.

President Obama has adopted the same legal tactic of using the secrecy privilege to kill lawsuits. So the only hope was that the courts would not permit these widely known abuses of power to go unchecked.

Last Monday, the Supreme Court abdicated that duty. It declined to review a case brought by five individuals who say — credibly — that they were kidnapped and tortured in overseas prisons. The question was whether people injured by illegal interrogation and detention should be allowed their day in court or summarily tossed out.

The court’s choice is a major stain on American justice. By slamming its door on these victims without explanation, it removed the essential judicial block against the executive branch’s use of claims of secrecy to cover up misconduct that shocks the conscience. It has further diminished any hope of obtaining a definitive ruling that the government’s conduct was illegal — a vital step for repairing damage and preventing future abuses.

The lead plaintiff, an Ethiopian citizen and resident of Britain named Binyam Mohamed, was arrested in Pakistan in 2002. The C.I.A. turned him over to Moroccan interrogators, who subjected him to brutal treatment that he says included cutting his penis with a scalpel and then pouring a hot, stinging liquid on the open wound.

After the trial court gave in to the secrecy argument, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the case should proceed. It said the idea that the executive branch was entitled to have lawsuits shut down with a blanket claim of national security would “effectively cordon off all secret actions from judicial scrutiny, immunizing the C.I.A. and its partners from the demands and limits of the law.”

Last September, the full appeals court, ruling en banc, reversed that decision by a 6-to-5 vote. The dissenters noted that the basic facts of the plaintiffs’ renditions were already public knowledge. But the majority gave in to the pretzel logic shaped by the Bush administration that allowing the torture victims a chance to make their case in court using nonsecret evidence would risk divulging state secrets.

The Supreme Court allowed that nonsense to stand.

It is difficult to believe there are legitimate secrets regarding the plaintiffs’ ill treatment at this late date. Last year, a British court released secret files containing the assessment of British intelligence that the detention of Mr. Mohamed violated legal prohibitions against torture and cruel and degrading treatment.

The Supreme Court should have grabbed the case and used it to rein in the distorted use of the state secrets privilege, a court-created doctrine meant to shield sensitive evidence in actions against the government, not to dismiss cases before evidence is produced.

But this is not the first time the Supreme Court has abdicated its responsibility to hear cases involving national security questions of this sort. A year ago, the Supreme Court refused to consider the claims of Maher Arar, an innocent Canadian whom the Bush administration sent to Syria to be tortured. In 2007, the court could not muster the four votes needed to grant review in the case of Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen subjected to torture in a secret overseas prison.

As President Obama’s first solicitor general, Justice Elena Kagan was in on the benighted decision to use overwrought secrecy claims to stop any hearing for torture victims. She properly recused herself from voting on the case. Surely among the eight remaining judges there was at least one sensitive to the gross violation of rights, and apparently law. We wish they would have at least offered a dissent or comment to let the world know that the court’s indifference was not unanimous.

Instead, what the world sees is rendition victims blocked from American courts while architects of their torment write books bragging about their role in this legal and moral travesty. Some torture victims bounced from American courts, including Mr. Mohamed and Mr. Arar, have received money from nations with comparatively minor involvement in their ordeals.

The Supreme Court’s action ends an important legal case, but not President Obama’s duty to acknowledge what occurred, and to come up with ways to compensate torture victims and advance accountability. It is hard, right now, to be optimistic.

    Malign Neglect, NYT, 21.5.2011,






Pakistan Demands Data

on C.I.A. Contractors


February 25, 2011
The New York Times


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan’s chief spy agency has demanded an accounting by the Central Intelligence Agency of all its contractors working in Pakistan, a fallout from the arrest last month of an American involved in surveillance of militant groups, a senior Pakistani intelligence official said Friday.

Angered that the American, Raymond A. Davis, worked as a contractor in Pakistan on covert C.I.A. operations without the knowledge of the Pakistanis, the spy agency estimated that there were “scores” more such contractors “working behind our backs,” said the official, who requested anonymity in order to speak candidly about a delicate matter between the two countries.

In a slight softening of the Pakistani stance since Mr. Davis’s arrest, the official said that the American and Pakistani intelligence agencies needed to continue cooperation, and that Pakistan was prepared to put the episode in the past if the C.I.A. stopped treating its Pakistani counterparts as inferior.

“Treat us as allies, not as satellites,” said the official of the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI. “Respect, equality and trust are needed.”

George Little, a C.I.A. spokesman, said the American spy agency’s ties to the ISI “have been strong over the years, and when there are issues to sort out, we work through them.”

“That’s the sign of a healthy partnership,” Mr. Little said.

The arrest and detention of Mr. Davis, 36, after he shot and killed two motorcyclists in Lahore soured already testy relations between two governments that are supposed to have a common front in the fight against terrorism.

The top American and Pakistani military leaders, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, and the leader of the Pakistani Army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, met this week in Oman, where the Davis case was discussed.

According to a report by a former head of the Pakistani Army, Gen. Jehangir Karamat, who runs a research and analysis center based in Lahore, both sides agreed to try to “arrest the downhill descent.”

Even so, the Pakistani intelligence community was divided over how quickly to settle the Davis case and how much to extract from the C.I.A., said a Pakistani official with intimate knowledge of the situation, who declined to be named because of the delicacy of the issue.

At a minimum, the ISI wants an accounting of all the contractors who work for the C.I.A. in roles that have not been defined to Pakistan and a general rewriting of the rules of engagement by the C.I.A. in Pakistan, the official said.

In another sign that the two spy services were trying to patch up their differences, Leon E. Panetta, the director of the C.I.A., spoke on Wednesday with Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the ISI director, about resolving Mr. Davis’s case, American and Pakistani officials said on Friday. Mr. Davis, who appeared in handcuffs on Friday for a hearing in a closed courtroom at the jail where he is being held in Lahore, faces possible murder charges.

The Obama administration insists that Mr. Davis has diplomatic immunity and should be released. The Pakistani government has left the determination on diplomatic immunity to the Foreign Office and a hearing before the Lahore High Court on March 14.

Some senior Pakistani intelligence officers were unwilling to have Mr. Davis released under almost any circumstances, said the official with knowledge of the split in the intelligence community.

He said others wanted to use the Davis case as a bargaining chip to get the withdrawal of a civil lawsuit filed in Brooklyn last year that implicates the ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, in the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India.

The demand for the C.I.A. to acknowledge the number of contractors in Pakistan was driven by the suspicion that the American spy service had slipped many such secret operatives into Pakistan in the past six months, the senior ISI official said.

The increase occurred after a directive last July by the Pakistani civilian government, which is often at odds with the ISI, to its Washington embassy to expedite visas without supervision from the ISI or the Ministry of Interior, the senior ISI official said.

The behavior of people like Mr. Davis is deeply embarrassing to the ISI because it makes the agency “look like fools” in the eyes of the anti-American Pakistani public, the ISI official said.

The Davis case made it hard to explain to Pakistanis why the ISI was cooperating with Washington, he said.

The clampdown on American contractors by the Pakistani authorities appeared to be under way Friday with the arrest of an American citizen, Aaron Mark DeHaven, in the northwestern city of Peshawar.

The Peshawar police said Mr. DeHaven was detained because he had overstayed his business visa after his request for an extension last October was turned down.

There was no immediate accusation that Mr. DeHaven worked for the American government, a security official in Peshawar said. But the arrest of Mr. DeHaven, who is married to a Pakistani woman, appears to be a signal that the Pakistani authorities have decided to expel Americans they have doubts about.

The security official said Mr. DeHaven owned a firm, Catalyst Services in Peshawar, that rented houses for Americans in the city.

The American Embassy in Islamabad said in a statement that it did not have details about Mr. DeHaven but that it was arranging consular access for him through the Pakistani government.

During his first months in Pakistan in early 2010, Mr. Davis, the contractor for the C.I.A., was attached to the American Consulate in Peshawar and lived in a house with other Americans in an upscale neighborhood, according to Pakistani officials.

At the 20-minute court hearing on Friday, Mr. Davis told the judge he would not take part in the proceedings because he had diplomatic immunity, Pakistani officials told reporters later.

He refused to sign the charge sheet presented to him, the officials said. The Obama administration insists that Mr. Davis acted in self-defense when the two motorcyclists tried to rob him.

In the charge sheet, the Pakistani police said Mr. Davis shot the motorcyclists multiple times from inside his car, and then stepped from the car and continued shooting with his Glock pistol. Mr. Davis then drove from the scene and was arrested several miles away, the police said.

At Friday Prayers in Lahore and in Islamabad, the capital, anti-American sermons, in some cases laced with references to Mr. Davis, were common.

Hafiz Saeed, the founder of the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which Mr. Davis is believed to have been conducting surveillance on, said the American was “a spy, committing terrorism, helping in drone attacks.”

Banners reading “Hang Davis” and “No immunity to Davis” were strung across the road adjacent to Mr. Saeed’s headquarters.


Ismail Khan contributed reporting

from Peshawar, Pakistan,

and Waqar Gillani from Lahore, Pakistan.

    Pakistan Demands Data on C.I.A. Contractors, NYT, 25.2.2011,






American Held in Pakistan Shootings

Worked With the C.I.A.


February 21, 2011
The New York Times


This article was written by Mark Mazzetti,

Ashley Parker, Jane Perlez and Eric Schmitt.


WASHINGTON — The American arrested in Pakistan after shooting two men at a crowded traffic stop was part of a covert, C.I.A.-led team of operatives conducting surveillance on militant groups deep inside the country, according to American government officials.

Working from a safe house in the eastern city of Lahore, the detained American contractor, Raymond A. Davis, a retired Special Forces soldier, carried out scouting and other reconnaissance missions for a Central Intelligence Agency task force of case officers and technical surveillance experts, the officials said.

Mr. Davis’s arrest and detention, which came after what American officials have described as a botched robbery attempt, has inadvertently pulled back the curtain on a web of covert American operations inside Pakistan, part of a secret war run by the C.I.A. It has exacerbated already frayed relations between the American intelligence agency and its Pakistani counterpart, created a political dilemma for the weak, pro-American Pakistani government, and further threatened the stability of the country, which has the world’s fastest growing nuclear arsenal.

Without describing Mr. Davis’s mission or intelligence affiliation, President Obama last week made a public plea for his release. Meanwhile, there have been a flurry of private phone calls to Pakistan from Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all intended to persuade the Pakistanis to release the secret operative. Mr. Davis has worked for years as a C.I.A. contractor, including time at Blackwater Worldwide, the controversial private security firm (now called Xe) that Pakistanis have long viewed as symbolizing a culture of American gun slinging overseas.

George Little, a C.I.A. spokesman, declined to comment.

The New York Times had agreed to temporarily withhold information about Mr. Davis’s ties to the agency at the request of the Obama administration, which argued that disclosure of his specific job would put his life at risk. Several foreign news organizations have disclosed some aspects of Mr. Davis’s work with the C.I.A., and on Monday, American officials lifted their request to withhold publication.

Since the United States is not at war in Pakistan, the American military is largely restricted from operating in the country. So the Central Intelligence Agency has taken on an expanded role, operating armed drones that kill militants inside the country and running covert operations, sometimes without the knowledge of the Pakistanis.

Several American and Pakistani officials said that the C.I.A. team in Lahore with which Mr. Davis worked was tasked with tracking the movements of various Pakistani militant groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba, a particularly violent group that Pakistan uses as a proxy force against India but that the United States considers a threat to allied troops in Afghanistan. For the Pakistanis, such spying inside their country is an extremely delicate issue, particularly since Lashkar has longstanding ties to Pakistan’s intelligence service, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI.

Still, American and Pakistani officials use Lahore as a base of operations to investigate the militant groups and their madrasas in the surrounding area.

The officials gave various accounts of the makeup of the covert task force and of Mr. Davis, who at the time of his arrest was carrying a Glock pistol, a long-range wireless set, a small telescope and a headlamp. An American and a Pakistani official said in interviews that operatives from the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command had been assigned to the group to help with the surveillance missions. Other American officials, however, said that no military personnel were involved with the task force.

Special operations troops routinely work with the C.I.A. in Pakistan. Among other things, they helped the agency pinpoint the location of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the deputy Taliban commander who was arrested in January 2010 in Karachi.

Even before his arrest, Mr. Davis’s C.I.A. affiliation was known to Pakistani authorities, who keep close tabs on the movements of Americans. His visa, presented to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in late 2009, describes his job as a “regional affairs officer,” a common job description for officials working with the agency.

According to that application, Mr. Davis carried an American diplomatic passport and was listed as “administrative and technical staff,” a category that typically grants diplomatic immunity to its holder.

American officials said that with Pakistan’s government trying to clamp down on the increasing flow of Central Intelligence Agency officers and contractors trying to gain entry to Pakistan, more of these operatives have been granted “cover” as embassy employees and given diplomatic passports.

As Mr. Davis languishes in a jail cell in Lahore — the subject of an international dispute at the highest levels — new details are emerging of what happened in a dramatic daytime scene on the streets of central Lahore, a sprawling city, on Jan. 27.

By the American account, Mr. Davis was driving alone in an impoverished area rarely visited by foreigners, and stopped his car at a crowded intersection. Two Pakistani men brandishing weapons hopped off motorcycles and approached. Mr. Davis killed them with the Glock, an act American officials insisted was in self-defense against armed robbers.

But on Sunday, the text of the Lahore Police Department’s crime report was published in English by a prominent daily newspaper, The Daily Times, and it offered a somewhat different account.

It is based in part on the version of events Mr. Davis told Pakistani authorities, and it seems to raise doubts about his claim that the shootings were in self-defense.

According to that report, Mr. Davis told the police that after shooting the two men, he stepped out of the car to take photographs of one of them, then called the United States Consulate in Lahore for help.

But the report also said that the victims were shot several times in the back, a detail that some Pakistani officials say proves the killings were murder. By this account, after firing at the men through his windshield, Mr. Davis stepped out of the car and continued firing. The report said that Mr. Davis then got back in his car and “managed to escape,” but that the police gave chase and “overpowered” him at a traffic circle a short distance away.

In a bizarre twist that has further infuriated the Pakistanis, a third man was killed when an unmarked Toyota Land Cruiser racing to Mr. Davis’s rescue, drove the wrong way down a one-way street and ran over a motorcyclist, killing him. As the Land Cruiser drove “recklessly” back to the consulate, the report said, items fell out of the vehicle, including 100 bullets, a black mask and a piece of cloth with the American flag.

Pakistani officials have demanded that the Americans in the S.U.V. be turned over to local authorities, but American officials say they have already left the country.

Mr. Davis and the other Americans were heavily armed and carried sophisticated equipment, the report said.

The Pakistani Foreign Office, generally considered to work under the guidance of the ISI, has declined to grant Mr. Davis what it calls the “blanket immunity” from prosecution that diplomats enjoy. In a setback for Washington, the Lahore High Court last week gave the Pakistani government until March 14 to decide on the issue of Mr. Davis’s immunity.

The pro-American government led by President Asif Ali Zardari, fearful for its survival in the face of a surge of anti-American sentiment, has resisted strenuous pressure from the Obama administration to release Mr. Davis to the United States. Some militant and religious groups have demanded that Mr. Davis be tried in the Pakistani courts and hanged.

Relations between the two spy agencies were tense even before the episode on the streets of Lahore. In December, the C.I.A.’s top clandestine officer in Pakistan hurriedly left the country after his identity was revealed. Some inside the agency believe that ISI operatives were behind the disclosure — retribution for the head of the ISI, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, being named in a New York City lawsuit filed in connection with the 2008 terror attack in Mumbai, in which members of his agency are believed to have played a role. General Pasha denied that was the case.

One senior Pakistani official close to the ISI said Pakistani spies are particularly infuriated over the Davis episode because it was such a public spectacle. Besides the three Pakistanis who died at the scene, the widow of one of the victims committed suicide by swallowing rat poison.

Moreover, the official said, the case was embarrassing for the ISI for its flagrancy, revealing how much freedom American spies have to roam around the country.

“We all know the spy-versus-spy games, we all know it works in the shadows,” the official said, “but you don’t get caught, and you don’t get caught committing murders.”

Mr. Davis, bearded and burly at 36, appears to have arrived in Pakistan in late 2009 or early 2010. American officials said he operated as part of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Global Response Service in various parts of the country, including Lahore and Peshawar.

Documents released by Pakistan’s foreign office show that Mr. Davis was paid $200,000 a year, including travel expenses and insurance.

He is a native of rural, southwest Virginia, described by those who know him as an unlikely figure to be at the center of international intrigue.

He grew up in Big Stone Gap, a small town named after the gap in the mountains where the Powell River emerges.

The youngest of three children, Mr. Davis enlisted in the military after graduating from Powell Valley High School in 1993.

“I guess about any man’s dream is to serve his country,” said his sister Michelle Wade.

Shrugging off the portrait of him as an international spy comfortable with a Glock, Ms. Wade said: “He would always walk away from a fight. That’s just who he is.”

His high school friends remember him as good-natured, athletic, respectful. He was also a protector, they said, the type who stood up for the underdog.

“Friends with everyone, just a salt of the earth person,” said Jennifer Boring, who graduated from high school with Mr. Davis.

Mr. Davis served in the infantry in Europe — including a short tour as a peacekeeper in Macedonia — before joining the Third Special Forces Group in 1998, where he remained until he left the Army in 2003. The Army Special Forces —known as the Green Berets — are an elite group trained in foreign languages and cultures and weapons.

It is unclear when Mr. Davis began working for the C.I.A., but American officials said that in recent years he worked for the spy agency as a Blackwater contractor and later founded his own small company, Hyperion Protective Services.

Mr. Davis and his wife have moved frequently, living in Las Vegas, Arizona and Colorado.

One neighbor in Colorado, Gary Sollee, said that Mr. Davis described himself as “former military,” adding that “he’d have to leave the country for work pretty often, and when he’s gone, he’s gone for an extended period of time.”

Mr. Davis’s sister, Ms. Wade, said she has been praying for her brother’s safe return.

“The only thing I’m going to say is I love my brother,” she said. “I love my brother, God knows, I love him. I’m just praying for him.”



Eric Schmitt and Mark Mazzetti reported from Washington,

Jane Perlez from Pakistan and Ashley Parker

from Big Stone Gap, Va.

Ismail Khan contributed reporting from Peshawar, Pakistan,

and Waqar Gillani from Lahore, Pakistan.

    American Held in Pakistan Shootings Worked With the C.I.A., NYT, 21.2.2011,






Obama Said to Fault

Spy Agencies’ Mideast Forecasting


February 4, 2011
The New York Times


WASHINGTON — President Obama has criticized American spy agencies over their performance in predicting and analyzing the spreading unrest in the Middle East, according to current and former American officials.

The president was specifically critical of intelligence agencies for misjudging how quickly the unrest in Tunisia would lead to the downfall of the country’s authoritarian government, the officials said.

The officials offered few details about the president’s concerns, but said that Mr. Obama had not ordered any major changes inside the intelligence community, which has a budget of more than $80 billion a year. On Friday, a White House spokesman said spy agencies had given Mr. Obama “relevant, timely and accurate analysis” throughout the crisis in the Middle East.

But questions about the recent performance of spy agencies expose a tension that has played out since the C.I.A.’s founding in 1947: how to balance the task of analyzing events overseas to warn officials in Washington about looming crises with the mission of carrying out covert operations around the globe.

Some officials have focused their criticism on intelligence assessments last month that concluded, despite demonstrations in Tunisia, that the security forces of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali would defend his government. Instead, the military and the police did not, and Mr. Ben Ali and his family fled to Saudi Arabia.

One American official familiar with classified intelligence assessments defended the spy agencies’ Tunisia analysis.

“Everyone recognized the demonstrations in Tunisia as serious,” said the official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was discussing classified intelligence reports. “What wasn’t clear even to President Ben Ali was that his security forces would quickly choose not to support him.”

One former American official said that in recent weeks Mr. Obama urged intelligence officials to ensure that spy agencies were devoting as much effort to “long-term analysis” as they were to carrying out operations against Al Qaeda, including the C.I.A.’s bombing campaign using armed drone aircraft.

On Thursday, senior lawmakers pressed a top C.I.A. official on Capitol Hill about whether Mr. Obama had been given enough warning about the perils of the growing demonstrations in Cairo, and whether spy agencies had monitored social networking sites to gauge the extent of the uprising.

The same day, America’s senior military officer said in a television interview that officials in Washington had been surprised by how rapidly unrest had spread from Tunisia to Egypt.

“It has taken not just us, but many people, by surprise,” said Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during an appearance on “The Daily Show.”

Several American officials said that after Tunisia’s government collapsed, intelligence analysts renewed their focus on gauging the impact that the chaos could have on Egypt, America’s most important ally in the Arab world.

Some C.I.A. veterans said it was wrong to conclude that because the spy agency had stepped up paramilitary operations in recent years, it had lost focus on the job of analyzing global events for the White House and Congress.

“The Egypt analysts in the C.I.A. aren’t picking targets in Pakistan; that’s just not the way the agency operates,” said Mark M. Lowenthal, a former C.I.A. assistant director for analysis.

Still, Mr. Lowenthal said that intelligence officials for decades had to endure the wrath of American presidents who blamed them for misjudging the events of the day — and that it was their obligation to accept the criticism.

“If you are an intelligence officer, you say, ‘Yes sir, thank you very much, sir,’ ” he said.

Obama Said to Fault Spy Agencies’ Mideast Forecasting,






Torture Is a Crime, Not a Secret


September 8, 2010
The New York Times


Five men who say the Bush administration sent them to other countries to be tortured had a chance to be the first ones to have torture claims heard in court. But because the Obama administration decided to adopt the Bush administration’s claim that hearing the case would divulge state secrets, the men’s lawsuit was tossed out on Wednesday by the full United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The decision diminishes any hope that this odious practice will finally receive the legal label it deserves: a violation of international law.

The lawsuit was brought in 2007 against a Boeing subsidiary, Jeppesen Dataplan, that the plaintiffs said had arranged the rendition flights that took them to Morocco, Egypt and Afghanistan to be tortured. One of the men, Binyam Mohamed, had his bones broken in Morocco, where security agents also cut his skin with a scalpel and poured a stinging liquid into his wounds.

But the merits of the case were never considered because the Bush administration argued that even discussing the matter in court would violate the state secrets privilege. Barack Obama told voters in 2008 that he opposed the government cult of secrecy, but once he became president, his Justice Department also argued that the case should be dismissed on secrecy grounds.

The Ninth Circuit was sharply divided, voting 6 to 5 to dismiss the case and overturn a decision to let it proceed that was made by a panel of three circuit judges last year. The majority said it reached its decision reluctantly and was not trying to send a signal that secrecy could be used regularly to dismiss lawsuits. But even though it is public knowledge that Jeppesen arranged the torture flights, the majority said any effort by the company to defend itself would pose “an unacceptable risk of disclosure of state secrets.”

That notion was demolished by the five-judge minority that dissented from the ruling, pointing out that the plaintiffs were never even given a chance to make their case in court using nonsecret evidence, including a sworn statement by a former Jeppesen employee about the company’s role in what he called “the torture flights.” The case should have been sent back to the district court to examine which evidence was truly secret; now it will have to be appealed to a Supreme Court that is unlikely to be sympathetic to the plaintiffs.

The state secrets doctrine is so blinding and powerful that it should be invoked only when the most grave national security matters are at stake — nuclear weapons details, for example, or the identity of covert agents. It should not be used to defend against allegations that if true, as the dissenting judges wrote, would be “gross violations of the norms of international law.”

All too often in the past, the judges pointed out, secrecy privileges have been used to avoid embarrassing the government, not to protect real secrets. In this case, the embarrassment and the shame to America’s reputation are already too well known.

Torture Is a Crime, Not a Secret, NYT, 8.9.2010,






Court Dismisses

a Case Asserting Torture

by C.I.A.


September 8, 2010
The New York Times


WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled that former prisoners of the C.I.A. could not sue over their alleged torture in overseas prisons because such a lawsuit might expose secret government information.

The sharply divided ruling was a major victory for the Obama administration’s efforts to advance a sweeping view of executive secrecy powers. It strengthens the White House’s hand as it has pushed an array of assertive counterterrorism policies, while raising an opportunity for the Supreme Court to rule for the first time in decades on the scope of the president’s power to restrict litigation that could reveal state secrets.

By a 6-to-5 vote, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed a lawsuit against Jeppesen Dataplan Inc., a Boeing subsidiary accused of arranging flights for the Central Intelligence Agency to transfer prisoners to other countries for imprisonment and interrogation. The American Civil Liberties Union filed the case on behalf of five former prisoners who say they were tortured in captivity — and that Jeppesen was complicit in that alleged abuse.

Judge Raymond C. Fisher described the case, which reversed an earlier decision, as presenting “a painful conflict between human rights and national security.” But, he said, the majority had “reluctantly” concluded that the lawsuit represented “a rare case” in which the government’s need to protect state secrets trumped the plaintiffs’ need to have a day in court.

While the alleged abuses occurred during the Bush administration, the ruling added a chapter to the Obama administration’s aggressive national security policies.

Its counterterrorism programs have in some ways departed from the expectations of change fostered by President Obama’s campaign rhetoric, which was often sharply critical of former President George W. Bush’s approach.

Among other policies, the Obama national security team has also authorized the C.I.A. to try to kill a United States citizen suspected of terrorism ties, blocked efforts by detainees in Afghanistan to bring habeas corpus lawsuits challenging the basis for their imprisonment without trial, and continued the C.I.A.’s so-called extraordinary rendition program of prisoner transfers — though the administration has forbidden torture and says it seeks assurances from other countries that detainees will not be mistreated.

The A.C.L.U. vowed to appeal the Jeppesen Dataplan case to the Supreme Court, which would present the Roberts court with a fresh opportunity to weigh in on a high-profile test of the scope and limits of presidential power in counterterrorism matters.

It has been more than 50 years since the Supreme Court issued a major ruling on the state-secrets privilege, a judicially created doctrine that the government has increasingly used to win dismissals of lawsuits related to national security, shielding its actions from judicial review. In 2007, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a similar rendition and torture ruling by the federal appeals court in Richmond, Va.

The current case turns on whether the executive can invoke the state-secrets privilege to shut down entire lawsuits, or whether that power should be limited to withholding particular pieces of secret information. In April 2009, a three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit adopted the narrower view, ruling that the lawsuit as a whole should proceed.

But the Obama administration appealed to the full San Francisco-based appeals court. A group of 11 of its judges reheard the case, and a narrow majority endorsed the broader view of executive secrecy powers. They concluded that the lawsuit must be dismissed without a trial — even one that would seek to rely only on public information.

“This case requires us to address the difficult balance the state secrets doctrine strikes between fundamental principles of our liberty, including justice, transparency, accountability and national security,” Judge Fisher wrote. “Although as judges we strive to honor all of these principles, there are times when exceptional circumstances create an irreconcilable conflict between them.”

Ben Wizner, a senior A.C.L.U. lawyer who argued the case before the appeals court, said the group was disappointed in the ruling.

“To this date, not a single victim of the Bush administration’s torture program has had his day in court,” Mr. Wizner said. “That makes this a sad day not only for the torture survivors who are seeking justice in this case, but for all Americans who care about the rule of law and our nation’s reputation in the world. If this decision stands, the United States will have closed its courts to torture victims while providing complete immunity to their torturers.”

Some plaintiffs in the case said they were tortured by C.I.A. interrogators at an agency “black site” prison in Afghanistan, while others said they were tortured by Egypt and Morocco after the C.I.A. handed them off to foreign security services.

The lead plaintiff is Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian citizen and legal resident of Britain who was arrested in Pakistan in 2002. He claimed he was turned over to the C.I.A., which flew him to Morocco and handed him off to its security service.

Moroccan interrogators, he said, held him for 18 months and subjected him to an array of tortures, including cutting his penis with a scalpel and then pouring a hot, stinging liquid on the open wounds.

Mr. Mohamed was later transferred back to the C.I.A., which he said flew him to its secret prison in Afghanistan. There, he said, he was held in continuous darkness, fed sparsely and subjected to loud noise — like the recorded screams of women and children — 24 hours a day.

He was later transferred again to the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where he was held for an additional five years. He was released and returned to Britain in early 2009 and is now free.

There were signs in the court’s ruling that the majority felt conflicted. In a highly unusual move, the court ordered the government to pay the plaintiffs’ legal costs, even though they lost the case and had not requested such payment.

Judge Fisher, who was a senior Justice Department official before President Bill Clinton appointed him to the bench in 1999, also urged the executive branch and Congress to grant reparations to victims of C.I.A. “misjudgments or mistakes” that violated their human rights if government records confirmed their accusations, even though the courthouse was closed to them.


He cited as precedent payments made to Latin Americans of Japanese descent who were forcibly sent to United States internment camps during World War II. But the five dissenting judges criticized the realism of that idea, noting that those reparations took five decades.

“Permitting the executive to police its own errors and determine the remedy dispensed would not only deprive the judiciary of its role, but also deprive plaintiffs of a fair assessment of their claims by a neutral arbiter,” Judge Michael Daly Hawkins wrote.

After the A.C.L.U. filed the case in 2007, the Bush administration asked a district judge to dismiss it, submitting public and classified declarations by the C.I.A. director at the time, Michael Hayden, arguing that litigating the matter would jeopardize national security.

The trial judge dismissed the case. As an appeal was pending, Mr. Obama won the 2008 presidential election. Although he had criticized the Bush administration’s frequent use of the state-secrets privilege, in February 2009 his weeks-old administration told the appeals court that it agreed with the Bush view in that case.

In September 2009, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. issued a new state-secrets privilege policy requiring high-level approval, instructing officials to try to avoid shutting down lawsuits if possible, and forbidding its use with a motive of covering up lawbreaking or preventing embarrassment.

The administration told the court that using the privilege in the Jeppesen Dataplan case complied with that policy.

Judge Fisher agreed that “the government is not invoking the privilege to avoid embarrassment or to escape scrutiny of its recent controversial transfer and interrogation policies, rather than to protect legitimate national security concerns.”

Jeppesen Dataplan and the C.I.A. referred questions to the Justice Department, where a spokesman, Matthew Miller, praised its new standards.

“The attorney general adopted a new policy last year to ensure the state-secrets privilege is only used in cases where it is essential to protect national security, and we are pleased that the court recognized that the policy was used appropriately in this case,” Mr. Miller said.

Court Dismisses a Case Asserting Torture by C.I.A.,







Shows Tight C.I.A. Control

on Interrogations


August 26, 2009

The New York Times




WASHINGTON — Two 17-watt fluorescent-tube bulbs — no more, no less — illuminated each cell, 24 hours a day. White noise played constantly but was never to exceed 79 decibels. A prisoner could be doused with 41-degree water but for only 20 minutes at a stretch.

The Central Intelligence Agency’s secret interrogation program operated under strict rules, and the rules were dictated from Washington with the painstaking, eye-glazing detail beloved by any bureaucracy.

The first news reports this week about hundreds of pages of newly released documents on the C.I.A. program focused on aberrations in the field: threats of execution by handgun or assault by power drill; a prisoner lifted off the ground by his arms, which were tied behind his back; another detainee repeatedly knocked out with pressure applied to the carotid artery.

But the strong impression that emerges from the documents, many with long passages blacked out for secrecy, is by no means one of gung-ho operatives running wild. It is a portrait of overwhelming control exercised from C.I.A. headquarters and the Department of Justice — control Bush administration officials say was intended to ensure that the program was safe and legal.

Managers, doctors and lawyers not only set the program’s parameters but dictated every facet of a detainee’s daily routine, monitoring interrogations on an hour-by-hour basis. From their Washington offices, they obsessed over the smallest details: the number of calories a prisoner consumed daily (1,500); the number of hours he could be kept in a box (eight hours for the large box, two hours for the small one); the proper time when his enforced nudity should be ended and his clothes returned.

The detainee “finds himself in the complete control of Americans; the procedures he is subjected to are precise, quiet and almost clinical, ” noted one document.

The records suggest one quandary prosecutors face as they begin a review of the C.I.A. program, part of the larger inquiry into abuse cases ordered Monday by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. Any prosecution that focuses narrowly on low-level interrogators who on a few occasions broke the rules may appear unfair, since most of the brutal treatment was authorized from the White House on down.

“The documents underscore how closely supervised the program was by officials in Washington,” said Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union, whose Freedom of Information Act lawsuit forced disclosure of the records. “Any investigation that began and ended with the so-called rogue interrogators would be completely inadequate.”

A 2004 background paper the C.I.A. sent to the Justice Department gives the fullest account to date of the oversight of every step that followed the capture of a man suspected of being a top member of Al Qaeda — an HVD, in agency parlance, for high-value detainee.

Brought to the “black site” in diapers, the paper says, the prisoner’s head and face were shaved, he was stripped and photographed and sleep deprivation and a diet limited to Ensure Plus, a dietary drink, began.

“The interrogators’ objective,” the background paper says, “is to transition the HVD to a point where he is participating in a predictable, reliable and sustainable manner.” The policy was to use the “least coercive measure” to achieve the goal. The harsh treatment began with the “attention slap,” and for three prisoners of the nearly 100 who passed through the program, the endpoint was waterboarding.

Waterboarding might be an excruciating procedure with deep roots in the history of torture, but for the C.I.A.’s Office of Medical Services, recordkeeping for each session of near-drowning was critical. “In order to best inform future medical judgments and recommendations, it is important that every application of the waterboard be thoroughly documented,” said medical guidelines prepared for the interrogators in December 2004.

The required records, the medical supervisors said, included “how long each application (and the entire procedure) lasted, how much water was used in the process (realizing that much splashes off), how exactly the water was applied, if a seal was achieved, if the naso- or oropharynx was filled, what sort of volume was expelled, how long was the break between applications, and how the subject looked between each treatment.”

When the doctors gauged what a drenching in a cold cell might do to a prisoner, they did their research, consulting a textbook entitled “Wilderness Medicine,” in particular Chapter 6 on “accidental hypothermia,” as well as a Canadian government pamphlet, “Survival in Cold Waters,” according to footnotes.

Lawyers at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, likewise, were immersed in the details of investigations.

A week before he completed the first major legal opinion that authorized the use of physical pressure, John C. Yoo, the national security specialist in the counsel’s office, was faxed a six-page C.I.A. “psychological assessment” of the first man the brutal methods would be used on, Abu Zubaydah. “Subject is a highly self-directed individual who prizes his independence,” the assessment said.

In 2004, when Daniel B. Levin, then the acting assistant attorney general in the counsel’s office, sent a letter to the C.I.A. reauthorizing waterboarding, he dictated the terms: no more than two sessions of two hours each, per day, with both a doctor and a psychologist in attendance. In 2007, Steven G. Bradbury, then in charge of the office, wrote a two-page letter simply to extend the authorization for use of a particular technique — its name is redacted — for an extra day, until “1700 E.S.T., November 8, 2007.”

Tom Parker, policy director for counterterrorism and human rights at Amnesty International USA, said the documents were “chilling.”

“They show how deeply rooted this new culture of mistreatment became,” he said.

But defenders of the program say the tight rules show the government’s attempt to keep the program within the law. “Elaborate care went into figuring out the precise gradations of coercion,” said David B. Rivkin Jr., a lawyer who served in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. “Yes, it’s jarring. But it shows how both the lawyers and the nonlawyers tried to do the right thing.”

As leaks about the program led to public accusations of torture, court rulings and Congressional action, the paperwork flowing between nervous C.I.A. and Justice officials steadily grew.

In June 2006, the Supreme Court ruled that prisoners who were members of Al Qaeda were entitled to the Geneva Conventions’ protections against humiliating and degrading treatment, and “outrages on personal dignity.” John A. Rizzo, the C.I.A.’s top lawyer, asked the Justice Department whether treatment at the agency’s secret prisons passed that test.

Mr. Bradbury of the Office of Legal Counsel wrote a 14-page response, assuring the agency that none of the conditions — the blindfolding and shackling, the involuntary shaving and the white noise — violated the Geneva Conventions’ standards.

“These are not conditions that humans strive for,” Mr. Bradbury wrote. “But they do reflect the realities of detention, realities that the Geneva Conventions accommodate, where persons will have to sacrifice some measure of privacy and liberty while under detention.”

Soon the assurances were no longer necessary. Worries about the legality of the C.I.A. program had reached the highest levels of the Bush administration. Two weeks after Mr. Bradbury sent his letter, President George W. Bush emptied the prisons, ordering the C.I.A.’s remaining 14 prisoners transferred to the American military’s detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Report Shows Tight C.I.A. Control on Interrogations,










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