For Real: Torture American Style (Review of The Torture Report: What the Documents Say About America’s Post-9/11 Torture Program)
by Peter C. Baker
On October 7, 2003, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all documents related to post-9/11 detention and interrogation practices. The request was filed simultaneously with the Defense Department, the State Department, the Justice Department and the Central Intelligence Agency. By the following May, no response had been issued, so the ACLU filed a second request, and in June took the government to court in hopes of forcing it to comply. Three months later the ACLU prevailed, and by the end of 2004 the documents were beginning to flow. Since then, well over 130,000 pages have been released and posted to a searchable database on the ACLU website.
The database contains, of course, the now infamous “torture memos”: the arguments, crafted by George W. Bush’s closest legal advisers, that waterboarding and the like were neither torturous nor illegal—and that [more]