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

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


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.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate