Washington, Apr.22 (ANI): A newly declassified Congressional report released Tuesday has outlined the most detailed evidence yet that the military's use of harsh interrogation methods on terrorism suspects was approved at high levels of the Bush administration.
The report focused solely on interrogations carried out by the military, not those conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency at its secret prisons overseas.
It rejected claims by former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and others that Pentagon policies played no role in harsh treatment of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq or other military facilities.
The 232-page report, the product of an 18-month inquiry, was approved on November 20 by the Senate Armed Services Committee, but has since been under Pentagon review for declassification.
Some of the findings were made public in a December 12 article in The New York Times. A spokesman for Rumsfeld dismissed the report at the time as "unfounded allegations against those who have served our nation."The Senate report documented how some of the techniques used by the military at prisons in Afghanistan and at the naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, as well as in Iraq - stripping detainees, placing them in "stress positions" or depriving them of sleep - originated in a military program known as Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape, or SERE, intended to train American troops to resist abusive enemy interrogations.
Officers there sought authorization, and Rumsfeld approved 15 interrogation techniques.
Months later, the report said, the interrogation officer in charge at Abu Ghraib obtained a copy of that policy "and submitted it, virtually unchanged, through her chain of command."
This ultimately led to authorization by Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez of the use of stress positions, "sleep management" and military dogs to exploit detainees' fears, the report said. (ANI)