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15 May

CIA Headquarters Micromanaged Torture

Daily “Torture” Updates

By: Jason Leopold, t r u t h o u t | Report, Monday 11 May 2009

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CIA interrogators provided top agency officials in Langley with daily “torture” updates of Abu Zubaydah, the alleged “high-level” terrorist detainee, who was held at a secret “black site” prison and waterboarded 83 times in August 2002, according to newly released court documents obtained by this reporter.

The extensive back-and-forth between CIA field operatives and agency officials in Langley likely included updates provided to senior Bush administration officials.

The government documents filed May 1 with US District Court Judge Alvin Hellerstein included two sets of indexes totaling 52 pages and contained general descriptions of cables sent back to CIA headquarters describing the August 2002 videotaped interrogation sessions of Zubaydah. Those cable transmissions included a description of the techniques interrogators had used and the intelligence, if any, culled from those sessions.

An August 1, 2002, Justice Department legal opinion released last month signed by Jay Bybee, the former head of the Office of Legal Counsel, described a “ticking time-bomb” scenario and “chatter” about a looming terrorist attack in justifying a list of ten different brutal interrogation techniques the CIA requested to use against Zubaydah. Those interrogation methods included waterboarding, slamming his head repeatedly against a wall and forcing him to remain awake for as long as 11 consecutive days.

On the same day Bybee, now a federal appeals court judge, signed the memorandum, CIA field operatives at the “black site” prison where Zubaydah was detained sent a two-page cable to agency headquarters that included detailed information “concerning the use of interrogation techniques; atmospherics and behavioral comments; a threat update; a medical update; and administrative and security notes.”

“The cable [marked top secret] also includes CIA organizational information, CIA filing information, locations of CIA facilities, and the names and/or identifying information of personnel engaged in counterterrorism operations,” according to a description of the cable.

Another document, describing a four-page cable sent back to CIA headquarters on August 4, 2002, “includes information concerning the strategies for interrogation sessions … reactions to the interrogation techniques, raw intelligence, and a status of threat information.”………………………………………………………..

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