[JURIST] The White House will soon make publicly available three internal memos from the Bush administration detailing aggressive interrogation techniques used against alleged top al Qaeda operatives, Newsweek [media website] reported [Newsweek report] Saturday. These so-called "torture memos" [JURIST news archive] reportedly legally justify a number of interrogation techniques that some say amount to torture. The White House has decided to release the memos because an executive order [text; JURIST report] bringing an end to such techniques removes the need to keep the memos confidential. Current and former intelligence officials have argued against the memos' release, warning that this could compromise national security.
Last week, an article [text; JURIST report] published in the New York Review of Books said that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) [official website] characterized CIA tactics used against terrorism suspects as constituting torture in a confidential 2007 report. The report, obtained by journalist Mark Danner, alleges that some of the techniques used included waterboarding [JURIST news archive], sleep deprivation, prolonged nudity, and cold water immersion. Earlier this month, Attorney General Eric Holder reaffirmed [JURIST report] the US government's commitment not to use waterboarding. Also that day, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] released a several memoranda and opinions [JURIST report] from the Bush White House supporting the administration's counter terrorism policies. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] filed a lawsuit [ACLU press release] under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [5 USC § 552 text] in January compelling the DOJ to turn over these and other memos.