Memorandum for John Rizzo, Acting General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency: Re: Interrogation of al Qaeda Operative [August 1, 2002]   [open pdf - 2MB]

This U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel Memorandum for John Rizzo, Acting General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Aency, was recently declassified and discusses the legality of torture and interrogations techniques regarding Abu Zubaydah, an al-Qaeda Operative. The following is taken from the memo: "You have asked for this Office's views on whether certain proposed conduct would violate the prohibition against torture found at Section 2340A of title 18 of the United States Code. You have asked for this advice in the course of conducting interrogations of Abu Zubaydah. As we understand it, Zubaydah is one of the highest ranking members of the al Qaeda Terrorist organization, with which the United States is currently engaged in an international armed conflict following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. This letter memorializes our previous oral advice, given on July 24, 2002 and July 26, 2002, that the proposed conduct would not violate this prohibition. Our advice is based upon the following facts, which you have provided to us. We also understand that you do not have any facts in your possession contrary to the facts outlined here, and this opinion is limited to these facts. If these facts were to change this advice would not necessarily apply. Zubaydah is currently being held by the United States. The interrogation team is certain that he has additional information that he refuses to divulge. Specifically, he is withholding information regarding terrorist networks in the United States or in Saudi Arabia and information regarding plans to conduct attacks within the United States or against our interests overseas."

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