Letter from CIA to Patrick Philbin, OLC, re: Legal Principles Applicable to CIA Detention and Interrogation of Captured Al-Qa'ida Personnel

<p>A list of bullet points discussing legal principles applicable to the CIA's detention and interrogation of detainees, including the use of the &quot;enhanced interrogation techniques.&quot; &nbsp;Many of the principles listed appear in the OLC's interrogation memos of August 2002. &nbsp;This list appears to be a final version of a similar, draft list sent to the OLC on April 28, 2003 (ACLU-RDI 4563).&nbsp;&nbsp;[OlC Vaughn Index #19]</p>

Legal Memo
Monday, June 16, 2003
Sunday, August 23, 2009

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A iftpAilei0A-/ Cla=Vita t Dire Cover + 3 Total Pasts TOP CRET//.JIN RN/1x1 Legal Principles Applicable to CIA Detention and Interrogation of Captured Al-garida Personnel • The Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment or Punishment ("the Convention") applies to the, United States only in accordance with the reservations, understandings, and declarations that the United States submitted with its instrument of ratification of the Convention, ° The Convention's definition of torture, as interpreted by the U.S. understandings, is identical in all material ways to the definition of torture contained in 1$ U.S.C. §2340-2340A. The standard for what constitutes torture ­under §2340-2340A and under the Convention is therefore identical. ° The Convention also provides that state parties are to . undertake to prevent other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. Because of U.S. reservations to the Convention, the U.S. obligation to undertake to prevent such treatment or punishment extends only to conduct that would constitute cruel and inhuman . treatment under the Eighth Amendment or would "shock the conscience" under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Additionally, the Convention permits the use. of such treatment or punishment in exigent circumstances, such as a national emergency or war. . . Customary international law. imposes no obligations regarding the treatment of al­ Qa'ida detainees beyond that which the Convention, as interpreted and understood by the UnitedStates in its reservations, understandings, anddeclarations, imposes. The Convention thereforedefinitively establishes what constitutes torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment for the purposes of U.S. international law obligations. • CIA interrogations of foreign nationals are not within the " special maritime and territorial jurisdiction" of the United States where the interrogation occurs on foreign territory in buildings that are not owned or leased by or under the legal jurisdiction of the U.S. government. The TOP_'RJ T/)_ /NOf //Xi _ criminal laws applicable to the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction therefore do not apply to such interrogations. The only two federal criminal statutes that might apply to these interrogations are the War Crimes Statute, 18 U:S.C. §2441, and the prohibition against torture, 18 U.S.C. §2340-2 3 40A. The federal War Crimes Statute, 18 U.S.C. §2441, does not apply to al-Qalida because the Geneva Conventions and theHague Convention iv, the conventions that the conduct must violate in order to violate section 2441, do not apply to al-Qa'ida. Al-Qatida is a nor.-governmental international terrorist organization whose members cannot be consideredPOWs within the meaning of the Geneva Conventions or receive the protections of the Hague Convention /V. Because these conventions do not protect al-Qa'ida members, conduct toward those members cannot violate section 2441. • The interrogation of al-Qa'ida detainees does not constitute torture within the meaning of-section 2340 where the interrogators do not have the specific intent to cause "severe physical or mental pain or suffering." The absence of specific intent (i.e., good faith) can be established through, among other things, evidence of efforts to review relevant professional literature, consulting with experts, reviewing evidence gained from past -experiencewhere available (including experience gained in the course of U.S. interrogations of detainees), providing medical and psychological assessments of a detainee (including the ability of the detainee to withstand interrogation without experiencing severe physical or mental pain or suffe•ing), providing medical and psychological personnel on site during the conduct of interrogations, or conducting legal and policy reviews of the interrogation process (such as the review.of reports from the interrogation facilities and visits to those locations). A good faith belief need not be a reasonable belief; it need only be an honest belief, • The interrogation of members of al-Qa'ida, who are foreign nationals, does not violate the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments because those amendments do not apply. The.Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, which would be the only clauses in those amendments that could arguably apply to the conduct of interrogations, do not apply extraterritorially to aliens. The Eighth Amendment has no application because it appliessolely to those persons upon whom criminal sanctions have been imposed. The detention of enemy combatants is in no 2 TOP CRET/)./N. //X1 sense the imposition of a criminal- sanction and thus the Eighth Amendment does not apply. • Taking all of the relevant circumstances -into account (such . asthe Government's need for information to avert terrorist activities against the jnited States and its citizens, the good faith efforts to Avoid producing severe physical or mental pain or suffering, and the absence of malicious or sadistic purpose by those conducting the interrogations), the use of the techniques described below and of comparable, approved techniques would not constitute conduct of the type that would be prohibited by the Fifth, Eighth, or Fourteenth Amendments even were they to be applicable. • The use of the following techniques and of comparable, approved techniques in the interrogation of al-Qa'ida detainees by the CIA does not violate any Federal statute or other law, where the CIA interrogators do not specifically intend to cause the detainees to undergo severe physical or mental pain or suffering (i,e., they act with the good faith belief that their conduct will not cause such pain or suffering): isolation, reduced caloric intake (so long as the amount is calculated to maintain the general health of the detainees), deprivation of reading material, loud music or white noise (at a decibel level:calculated to avoid damage to the detainees' hearing),' the attention grasp, walling, the facial hold, the facial slap (insult slap), the abdominal slap,• cramped confinement, wall standing, stress positions, sleep deprivation, the use of diapers, the use of harmless insects, and the water board,