More documents prove that top defense officials approved of abuse at Guantanamo detention center

| Thu Feb. 23, 2006 2:05 PM EST

The American Civil Liberties Union has released documents that prove that top Department of Defense officials endorsed interrogation methods at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp that the FBI described as both abusive and illegal.

"We now possess overwhelming evidence that political and military leaders endorsed interrogation methods that violate both domestic and international law," said Jameel Jaffer, an attorney with the ACLU. "It is entirely unacceptable that no senior official has been held accountable."

A memo written in 2003 names Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, former Commander of Joint Task Force--Guantanamo, as favoring interrogation techniques that the FBI said "could easily result in the elicitation of unreliable and legally inadmissible information." That memo also indicates that FBI personnel brought their concerns to senior Department of Defense officials, but those concerns were ignored.

A few days ago, The New Yorker released a memo from Alberto Mora, outgoing General Counsel of the U.S. Navy, which describes his unsuccessful efforts in 2002 and 2003 to convince the Pentagon to renounce the prisoner abuse at Guantanamo. One of the people he had trouble convincing was his boss, William J. Haynes II, General Counsel of the Department of Defense.

At one point, however, Haynes did take Mora's concerns to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who responded by joking that he himself often stood for eight hours a day. "Torture? That's not torture!" One of his staff members reminded him that he had the option to sit down whenever he chose.