2001 September 17

Authority to Torture: President Bush Signs Secret Directive Giving CIA Authority to Capture and Interrogate Terrorists


On this day, six days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President George W. Bush signed a secret directive authorizing the CIA to capture and interrogate suspected terrorists in other countries. The directive still has not been made public. It is the document that led to the many abuses perpetrated by the CIA in the War on Terror, including “harsh interrogation” of captured terrorist suspects that human rights experts believe constituted torture — in violation of the UN Convention Against Torture (October 21, 1994) and also in violation of American law.

The use of torture by the U.S., and the accompanying disregard for international law, in the war against terrorism is one of the most shameful events in American history. See especially the notorious “torture memo” by the Bush Administration on August 1, 2002.

In December 2014, after a long fight with the CIA and with Senate Intelligence Committee Republicans, the Committee released a 525 page redacted report on CIA torture.

Read the Senate Torture Report: http://www.intelligence.senate.gov/study2014/sscistudy1.pdf

Read other key documents: Karen Greenberg and Joshua Dratel, eds, The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib (2005)

Follow a timeline on post-9/11 events in the war on terrorismhttp://www.investigatingpower.org/timelines/9-11/

Learn more: Susan Herman, Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy (2011)

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