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What Was in Zelikow’s 2005 Anti-Torture Memo?

The Judiciary subcommittee didn’t, ultimately, get a copy of Philip Zelikow’s 2005 memorandum opposing torture, written when he was counselor to the State

Jul 31, 2020
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The Judiciary subcommittee didn’t, ultimately, get a copy of Philip Zelikow’s 2005 memorandum opposing torture, written when he was counselor to the State Department. But in his opening statement — which the committee’s distributed but he he’s just started delivering — he provides a pretty big hint as to what he argued:
The issue is not whether the CIA program of extreme physical coercion produced useful intelligence; it is about its net value compared to the alternatives. And, even though the program might have some value against some prisoners, it has serious drawbacks just in the intelligence calculus, such as … constraints in getting the optimal team of interrogators … whether the program actually produces much of the time sensitive current intelligence that is one of its unique justifications; loss of intelligence from allies who fear becoming complicit in a program they abhor … poorer reliability of information obtained through torment; possible loss of opportunities to turn some captives into more effective and even cooperative informants; and problems in devising an end-game for the eventual trial or long-term disposition of the captives.
Additionally, he says that the State Department under Secretary Condoleezza Rice in 2005 — who, as national security adviser in July 2002, gave the CIA the policy go-ahead to torture al-Qaeda detainee Abu Zubaydah before the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel ruled on the legality of the proposed interrogation regime — urged reliance on a “cruel, inhuman and degrading” standard when considering what to allow in interrogation.
Last thing: Zelikow says the State Department is currently reviewing his 2005 memo for “possible declassification.” At last: confirmation that not all copies of the memo were destroyed by the Bush administration — and that the State Department actually has a copy.
Camilo Wood

Camilo Wood

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Camilo Wood has over two decades of experience as a writer and journalist, specializing in finance and economics. With a degree in Economics and a background in financial research and analysis, Camilo brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his writing. Throughout his career, Camilo has contributed to numerous publications, covering a wide range of topics such as global economic trends, investment strategies, and market analysis. His articles are recognized for their insightful analysis and clear explanations, making complex financial concepts accessible to readers. Camilo's experience includes working in roles related to financial reporting, analysis, and commentary, allowing him to provide readers with accurate and trustworthy information. His dedication to journalistic integrity and commitment to delivering high-quality content make him a trusted voice in the fields of finance and journalism.
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