Washington D.C. May 12, 2004: CIA interrogation manuals
written in the 1960s and 1980s described "coercive techniques"
such as those used to mistreat detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison
in Iraq, according to the declassified documents posted today by
the National Security Archive. The Archive also posted a secret
1992 report written for then Secretary of Defense Richard
Cheney warning that U.S. Army intelligence manuals that incorporated
the earlier work of the CIA for training Latin American military
officers in interrogation and counterintelligence techniques contained
"offensive and objectionable material" that "undermines
U.S. credibility, and could result in significant embarrassment."
The two CIA manuals, "Human Resource
Exploitation Training Manual-1983" and "KUBARK
Counterintelligence Interrogation-July 1963," were
originally obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the
Baltimore Sun in 1997. The KUBARK manual includes a detailed
section on "The Coercive Counterintelligence Interrogation
of Resistant Sources," with concrete assessments on employing
"Threats and Fear," "Pain," and "Debility."
The language of the 1983 "Exploitation" manual drew heavily
on the language of the earlier manual, as well as on Army Intelligence
field manuals from the mid 1960s generated by "Project X"-a
military effort to create training guides drawn from counterinsurgency
experience in Vietnam. Recommendations on prisoner interrogation
included the threat of violence and deprivation and noted that no
threat should be made unless the questioner "has approval to
carry out the threat." The interrogator "is able to manipulate
the subject's environment," the 1983 manual states, "to
create unpleasant or intolerable situations, to disrupt patterns
of time, space, and sensory perception."
After Congress began investigating reports of Central American
atrocities in the mid 1980s, particularly in Honduras, the CIA's
"Human Resource Exploitation" manual was hand edited to
alter passages that appeared to advocate coercion and stress techniques
to be used on prisoners. CIA officials attached a new
prologue page on the manual stating: "The use
of force, mental torture, threats, insults or exposure to inhumane
treatment of any kind as an aid to interrogation is prohibited by
law, both international and domestic; it is neither authorized nor
condoned"-making it clear that authorities were well aware
these abusive practices were illegal and immoral, even as they continued
then and now.
Indeed, similar material had already been incorporated into seven
Spanish-language training guides. More than a thousand copies of
these manuals were distributed for use in countries such as El Salvador,
Guatemala, Ecuador and Peru, and at the School of the Americas between
1987 and 1991. An inquiry was triggered in mid 1991 when the Southern
Command evaluated the manuals for use in expanding military support
programs in Colombia.
In March 1992 Cheney received an investigative report on "Improper
Material in Spanish-Language Intelligence Training Manuals."
Classified SECRET, the report noted that five of the seven manuals
"contained language and statements in violation of legal, regulatory
or policy prohibitions" and recommended they be recalled. The
memo is stamped: "SECDEF HAS SEEN."
The Archive also posted a declassified memorandum
of conversation with a Southern Command officer, Major
Victor Tise, who was responsible for assembling the Latin American
manuals at School of the Americas for counterintelligence training
in 1982. Tise stated that the manuals had been forwarded to DOD
headquarters for clearance "and came back approved but UNCHANGED."
(Emphasis in original)
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CIA, KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation, July 1963
Part 1 (pp. 1-60)
- Part II (pp.
61-112) - Part
III (pp. 113-128)
This 127-page report, classified Secret, was drafted in July 1963
as a comprehensive guide for training interrogators in the art of
obtaining intelligence from "resistant sources." KUBARK--a
CIA codename for itself--describes the qualifications of a successful
interrogator, and reviews the theory of non-coercive and coercive
techniques for breaking a prisoner. Some recommendations are very
specific. The report recommends, for example, that in choosing an
interrogation site "the electric current should be known in
advance, so that transformers and other modifying devices will be
on hand if needed." Of specific relevance to the current scandal
in Iraq is section nine, "The
Coercive Counterintelligence Interrogation of Resistant Sources,"
(pp 82-104). Under the subheading, "Threats and Fears,"
the CIA authors note that "the threat of coercion usually weakens
or destroys resistance more effectively than coercion itself. The
threat to inflict pain, for example, can trigger fears more damaging
than the immediate sensation of pain." Under the subheading
"Pain," the guidelines discuss the theories behind various
thresholds of pain, and recommend that a subject's "resistance
is likelier to be sapped by pain which he seems to inflict upon
himself" such rather than by direct torture. The report suggests
forcing the detainee to stand at attention for long periods of time.
A section on sensory deprivations suggests imprisoning detainees
in rooms without sensory stimuli of any kind, "in a cell which
has no light," for example. "An environment still more
subject to control, such as water-tank or iron lung, is even more
effective," the KUBARK manual concludes.
CIA, Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual - 1983
I (pp. 1-67) - Part
II (pp. 68-124)
This secret manual was compiled from sections of the KUBARK guidelines,
and from U.S. Military Intelligence field manuals written in the
mid 1960s as part of the Army's Foreign Intelligence Assistance
Program codenamed "Project X." The manual was used in
numerous Latin American countries as an instructional tool by CIA
and Green Beret trainers between 1983 and 1987 and became the subject
of executive session Senate Intelligence Committee hearings in 1988
because of human rights abuses committed by CIA-trained Honduran
military units. The manual allocates considerable space to the subject
of "coercive questioning" and psychological and physical
techniques. The original text stated that "we will be discussing
two types of techniques, coercive and non-coercive. While we do
not stress the use of coercive techniques, we do want to make you
aware of them." After Congress began investigating human rights
violations by U.S.-trained Honduran intelligence officers, that
passage was hand edited to read "while we deplore the use of
coercive techniques, we do want to make you aware of them so that
you may avoid them." Although the manual advised methods of
coercion similar to those used in the Abu Ghraib prison by U.S.
forces, it also carried a prescient observation: "The routine
use of torture lowers the moral caliber of the organization that
uses it and corrupts those that rely on it…."
DOD, Improper Material in Spanish-Language Intelligence Manuals,
SECRET, 10 March 1992
This "report of investigation" was sent to then Secretary
of Defense Richard Cheney in March 1992, nine months after the Defense
Department began an internal investigation into how seven counterintelligence
and interrogation manuals used for years by the Southern Command
throughout Latin America had come to contain "objectionable"
and prohibited material. Army investigators traced the origins of
the instructions on use of beatings, false imprisonment, executions
and truth serums back to "Project X"-a program run by
the Army Foreign Intelligence unit in the 1960s. The report to Cheney found
that the "offensive and objectionable material in the manuals"
contradicted the Southern Command's priority of teaching respect
for human rights, and therefore "undermines U.S. credibility,
and could result in significant embarrassment." Cheney concurred
with the recommendations for "corrective action" and recall
and destruction of as many of the offending manuals as possible.
DOD, USSOUTHCOM CI Training-Supplemental Information, CONFIDENTIAL,
31 July, 1991
This document records a phone conversation with Major Victor Tise,
who served in 1982 as a counterintelligence instructor at the School
of the Americas. Tise relates the history of the "objectionable
material" in the manuals and the training courses at SOA. A
decade of training between 1966 and 1976 was suspended after a Congressional
panel witnessed the teaching program. The Carter administration
then halted the counterintelligence training courses "for fear
training would contribute to Human Rights violations in other countries,"
Tise said, but the program was restored by the Reagan administration
in 1982. He then obtained training materials from the archives of
the Army's "Project X" program which he described as a
"training package to provide counterinsurgency techniques learned
in Vietnam to Latin American countries." The course materials
he put together, including the manuals that became the subject of
the investigations, were sent to Defense Department headquarters
"for clearance" in 1982 and "came back approved but
UNCHANGED." Although Tise stated he removed parts he believed
to be objectionable, hundreds of unaltered manuals were used throughout
Latin America over the next nine years.