The Qahtani Interrogation Tapes


The Center for Constitutional Rights relays the news that audio and video tapes of the interrogation of Mohammed al Qahtani still exist. For now, a court is just requiring the government to release tapes depicting the period immediately before Qahtani underwent the most extreme interrogation under Donald Rumsfeld’s “First Special Interrogation Plan”:

The videotapes the government is required to produce will reveal the time period at the end of three months of intensive solitary confinement and isolation that immediately preceded the implementation of the “First Special Interrogation Plan,” a regime of systematic torture techniques approved by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for use against Mr. al Qahtani.  In a letter to his superiors reporting possible abuse of men in U.S. custody, T.J. Harrington, Deputy Assistant Director, Counterterrorism Division, FBI described Mr. al Qahtani during this time as “evidencing behavior consistent with extreme psychological trauma (talking to non-existent people, reportedly hearing voices, crouching in a corner of the cell covered with a sheet for hours on end).”

Now seems like an appropriate time to remember that even Jay Bybee, the author of the worst of the torture memos, thought that techniques that caused “prolonged mental harm” qualified as torture.

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