Torture timeline

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August 12, 1949

1969 to 2005, UK

1969/1970. The UK used five techniques (wall-standing, hooding, subjection to noise, deprivation of sleep, and deprivation of food and drink) on at least 14 terrorist suspects in Northern Ireland.

1972 2nd March, "Parker Report" found the five techniques to be illegal (though without declaring them to be torture).

1977, 8 February 1977, the Attorney-General stated to the European Commission of Human Rights (ECHR): The Government of the United Kingdom have considered the question of the use of the 'five techniques' with very great care and with particular regard to Article 3 of the [ECHR] Convention. They now give this unqualified undertaking, that the 'five techniques' will not in any circumstances be reintroduced as an aid to interrogation. (While critical of the techniques, the ECHR had not declared them to be torture).

2005, 9th Dec, the House of Lords cited this case and ruled unanimously that British courts cannot use evidence which might have been extracted by torture in terrorism cases. Lord Bingham of Cornhill delivered the core opinion stating that in the history of British common law torture was "repugnant to reason, justice, and humanity" while Lord Brown branded it "an unqualified evil with no place in British justice".


September 28, 1992

  • The army releases a revised version of the field manual on intelligence collection.


November 20, 1994

  • The United Nations Convention Against Torture enters into force for the United States.


August 21, 1996


October 12, 2000

  • The USS Cole is bombed while harbored for refueling in the Yemeni port of Aden. Seventeen American sailors are killed.


August 2001

August 16, 2001

  • Zacarias Moussaoui is arrested by FBI and INS agents in Minnesota and charged with an immigration violation.

September 2001

September 11, 2001

  • 9/11 - Attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

September 16, 2001

"We also have to work, though, sort of the dark side, if you will. We've got to spend time in the shadows in the intelligence world. A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies, if we're going to be successful."

September 17, 2001

  • President George W. Bush signs a Memorandum of Notification authorizing CIA to capture, detain, and interrogate al Qaeda figures. (Source: Dorn declaration)
    • The NSC sends CIA a 14-page memo about the authorization. (Source: Vaughn index)

September 18, 2001

September 23, 2001

September 25, 2001

  • John Yoo at OLC sends a memo to deputy White House counsel Tim Flanigan, asserting expansive presidential authority to use military force, at home and abroad, to combat terrorism and other security threats. The president may use military action to retaliate to attacks, as well as to prevent them, and the president alone has the authority to determine threats.

October 2001

  • In October 2001, 6 eventual Guantanamo detainees are captured in Bosnia and Herzegovina. (Source: NYT timeline)

October 4, 2001

  • Department of State sends a one page fax to NSC and DOD, concerning the Geneva Conventions. (Source: Vaughn index)

October 7, 2001

  • Bombing of Afghanistan begins.

October 10 to 12, 2001

  • State, DOJ, NSC, DOD, and White House counsel traffic drafts of a document concerning al-Qaeda. (Source: Vaughn index)

October 23, 2001

  • John Yoo and Robert Delahunty at OLC send a memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, expressing views concerning the legality of potential responses to terrorist activity. The memo asserts that the Fourth Amendment does not apply to military operations, even when the operations take place on U.S. soil. "First Amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully.”
  • The U.S. renders Yemeni microbiology student Jamil Qasim Saeed Mohammed from Karachi to Jordan. Mohammed is wanted in connection with the USS Cole. (Sources: ghostplane timeline; Chicago Tribune)

November 2001

  • In November 2001, 27 eventual Guantanamo detainees are captured in Afghanistan, 6 in Pakistan, and 6 near the Pakistan-Afghan border. (Source: NYT timeline)

Before November 6, 2001

  • David Addington first suggests using a presidential order to establish a military tribunal plan. Brad Berenson, Tim Flanigan and Addington write the draft order. Military lawyers, the State Department, and the National Security Council are cut out of the process. (Source: Washington Post, 1/5/2005)

November 6, 2001

  • Military Commission memo - Pat Philbin at OLC sends a memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, asserting that the president may establish military commissions to try terrorists without consulting Congress. In June 2006, arguments similar to this memo will be struck down by the Supreme Court in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.

November 10, 2001

  • Attorney General John Ashcroft confronts Dick Cheney and David Addington over military commission plans. (Source: Gellman, Angler, p. 164).
  • In Afghanistan, Mazar-e Sharif is taken by Northern Alliance and U.S. Special Forces.

November 13, 2001

  • President's Military Order - President George Bush issues a public executive order on the "Detention, Treatment, and Trial of Certain Non-Citizens in the War Against Terrorism," specifying military commissions for trial, with rules to be written by the executive branch.
  • In Afghanistan, Kabul is taken by Northern Alliance forces. "Taliban" flee towards Kandahar and Tora Bora.

November 20, 2001

  • John Yoo and Robert Delahunty at OLC send a memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, providing legal advice on U.S. and international laws that protect prisoners of war. The laws discussed are the War Crimes Act, the set of U.S. laws that American personnel could be prosecuted under if detainees were abused, and the Hague and Geneva Conventions. (Source: Bradbury declaration)
  • Mohamedou Ould Slahi is captured in Mauritania.

November 25, 2001

  • John Walker Lindh is captured by Northern Alliance forces in Afghanistan. Lindh is questioned by CIA officer Johnny "Mike" Spann and another officer at General Dostum's military garrison, Qala-i-Jangi, near Mazar-e Sharif.
  • Uprising at Qala-i-Jangi. Johnny "Mike" Spann is killed.

November 30, 2001

  • John Yoo and Robert Delahunty at OLC send a memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, asserting that law and treaties do not protect al-Qaeda organization, and that the President has "reasonable grounds" to find that treaties do not apply to the Taliban militia.

December 2001

  • In December 2001, 21 eventual Guantanamo detainees are captured in Afghanistan, 31 in Pakistan, and 63 near the Pakistan-Afghan border. (Source: NYT timeline)

December 6 to 18, 2001

  • Battle of Tora Bora.

December 9, 2001

  • David Hicks is captured by the Northern Alliance near Kunduz. He will be turned over to U.S. Special Forces on December 17.

December 11, 2001

  • Zacarias Moussaoui is indicted on six terrorism conspiracy charges

December 15, 2001

  • Muhammad Ma'ana al-Qahtani is captured by Pakistani authorities, near the Afghanistan border. (Sources: DOJ IG report; SASC report, p. 57)
  • Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman is captured by Pakistani authorities, near the Afghanistan border. (Source: Habeas decision)

December 17, 2001

  • DOD OGC seeks information on detainee exploitation from the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency. (Source: SASC report, p. xiii)
  • In New York, the FBI holds Abdallah Higazy as a material witness, essentially, over a radio left behind by an unrelated pilot in a hotel room near the World Trade Center.

Unknown December 2001

  • James Mitchell’s theories are attracting high-level attention. CIA officials ask him to review a Qaeda manual containing interrogation resistance information. (Source: NYT, 8/12/2009)
  • Mitchell and John "Bruce" Jessen write the first proposal to turn SERE techniques — slaps, stress positions, sleep deprivation, wall-slamming and waterboarding — into an American interrogation program. (Source: NYT, 8/12/2009)

December 18, 2001

  • Ibn Sheikh al-Libi is captured. (Some sources have November 11.)
  • Ahmed Agiza and Muhammad Alzery are captured in Sweden and are rendered to Egypt, at the request of the CIA. In Egypt, both men will have their genitals shocked with electrodes, among other torture. (Background: Wikipedia).

December 19, 2001

  • Ibn Sheikh al-Libi is handed over to the U.S. at Bagram. Initially, FBI agents use rapport-building techniques. al-Libi is said to have given up information about Zacarias Moussaoui and Richard Reid. (Sources: Isikoff and Corn, Hubris, p. 120; New Yorker; American Prospect; historycommons)

December 21, 2001

  • John Yoo at OLC sends a memo to general counsel Jim Haynes at DOD, about possible charges that might be brought against John Walker Lindh. The memo asserts that people working alongside an armed force would be subject to UCMJ. This could prevent an American citizen captured in the war on terror from gaining the protections of federal courts.
  • The U.S. transfers Ahmed Agiza and Mohamed al-Zery from Sweden to Egypt. In Egypt, both are tortured including electrical shocks to their genitals.(Source: ghostplane timeline; wikipedia)

December 25, 2001

  • Fouad Mahmoud Al Rabiah is captured by villagers outside Jalalabad, Afghanistan. He will be handed over to U.S. forces, and sent to Guantanamo.

December 26, 2001

December 27, 2001

  • Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld announces plans to hold captives at Guantanamo Bay.
  • After threats are made against his family in Egypt, Abdallah Higazy confesses to ownership of a two-way radio found at his hotel near the World Trade Center. An airline pilot will come back to claim ownership of the radio in January.

December 28, 2001

  • Patrick Philbin and John Yoo at OLC send a memo to general counsel Jim Haynes at DOD, about habeas jurisdiction of aliens to be held at Guantanamo. The memo discusses legal exposure, should a captive manage to gain habeas access to a Federal court.


January 2002

January 3, 2002

  • At the Kandahar airport detention facility, Special Forces soldiers hit, threaten to kill, blow smoke in the face, and shock a prisoner with an electrical device. (Sources: Translator statement; Interrogator statement)

January 7, 2002

  • Amnesty International writes a letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, warning against the "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" of detainees in U.S. custody, and noting that hooding and blindfolding detainees is a violation of the Convention Against Torture.
  • At about this time, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi is transferred from Afghanistan to the USS Bataan. John Walker Lindh and former Taliban ambassador to Pakistan, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef are also being held on the ship. (Sources: CNN; NYT. See also NYT, New Yorker, American Prospect about rendering to Egypt, sometime in January.)

January 8, 2002

  • Bagram acknowledged - The US government announces that 38 detainees are being held at Bagram Collection Point. At this stage Bagram is likely considered a temporary collection center, with the primary collection point at Kandahar.

January 9, 2002

  • John Yoo at OLC sends a memo to DOD general counsel Jim Haynes, asserting that the Third Geneva Convention does not apply to the conflict with al Qaeda or the Taliban in Afghanistan.

January 11, 2002

  • Gitmo opens - Twenty captives arrive at Guantanamo, sent from Afghanistan. (Sources: CNN)
  • Jay Bybee at OLC sends a memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, discussing the authority of OLC, the Attorney General, DOJ generally, and the State Department to interpret international law. (Source: Bradbury declaration)
  • William Taft at State sends a memo to John Yoo at OLC, describing Yoo's legal analysis as seriously flawed. The memo warns that "this raises the risk of future criminal prosecution for U.S. civilian and military leadership and their advisers." (Source: GWU)
  • The U.S. renders Muhammad Saad Iqbal Madni from Indonesia to Egypt. His interrogators are Egyptian, but Americans are always present, and pass notes to the Egyptians. His interrogations include electric shock, beatings, druggings, and a cramped confinement box. (Source: ghostplane timeline; wikipedia)

January 14, 2002

  • John Yoo and Robert J. Delahunty at OLC send a memo to William H. Taft at State. The memo discusses the War Crimes Act's application to American interrogators. The letter argues that the U.S. government can't be prosecuted for war crimes arising from its treatment of al Qaeda or Taliban members. (Source: Interrogation Memo, p. 34)

January 16, 2002

  • Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld sends DoD counsel Jim Haynes a memo, prompting for a statement that American detention practices are "perfectly legal, proper and historically correct." Rumsfelds wants the statement by Jan. 18.

January 18, 2002

  • White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, after reviewing an OLC brief, verbally advises President George Bush that Bush has the authority to exempt the detainees from Geneva Convention protections. (Sources: Gonzales memo 1/25/2002, WaPo, 1/5/2005)

January 19, 2002

  • Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld sends a memo to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, notifying them that "The United States has determined that Al Qaida and Taliban individuals under the control of the Department of Defense are not entitled to prisoner of war status for purposes of the Geneva Conventions of 1949."

January 20, 2002

  • Jay Bybee sends a memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, asserting that common article 3 of the Geneva Convention does not apply to "an armed conflict between a nation-state and a transnational terrorist organization."

January 22, 2002

  • Jay Bybee and John Yoo at OLC send a memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and DOD counsel Jim Haynes. The memo generally asserts that the War Crimes Act and Geneva III do not apply to the conflict in Afghanistan.
  • Treaties opinion - Jay Bybee sends a memo to Alberto Gonzales and Jim Haynes, asserting that the president has unlimited discretion to suspend treaties.
  • News photos show captives at Guantanamo in goggles and masks. The photos reveal a sensory deprivation program and use of stress positions. The kneeling stress position is on gravel, with an enforced forward lean to increase back and thigh exhaustion.

January 24, 2002

  • John Yoo at OLC sends a memo to Larry D. Thompson at DOJ, discussing U.S. obligations under international law. (Source: Bradbury declaration)
  • Yoo sends a pre-decisional memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, considering options for interpreting the Geneva Conventions. (Source: Bradbury declaration, p. 177)

January 25, 2002

  • Alberto Gonzales sends a memo to George Bush, recommending against applying the Geneva Convention to enemy captives. Non-compliance with Geneva "would create a reasonable basis in law that Section 2441 [the War Crimes Act] does not apply, which would provide a solid defense to any future prosecution." The memo is drafted by David Addington. (Sources: Newsweek, 7/3/2004; Gellman, Angler, p. 170; Texas Monthly)

January 26, 2002

  • Jay Bybee at OLC sends a pre-decisional memo to DAG Larry D. Thompson, suggesting legal options for interpreting the application of the Geneva Conventions. (Source: Bradbury declaration)
  • Secretary of State Colin Powell sends a memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, concerning to draft opinion, and warning of policy considerations about opting out of the Geneva Conventions. (Source: GWU)

About January 28, 2002

  • At Kandahar detention facility, military intelligence learns of the Taliban tortured-induced confession video of Abdul Rahim al Janko, claimed by DOJ to be a martyrdom video. Al Janko's treatment includes striking his forehead, threatening to remove his fingernails, sleep deprivation, exposure to very cold temperatures, exercise to exhaustion through sit-ups, push-ups, and running in chains, stress positions for hours at a time, use of police dogs, and rough treatment prior to interrogation sessions. (Source: Al Janko complaint)
  • At Kandahar detention facility, a prisoner is beaten and kicked by three or four guards, for three nights running. (Source: Soldier statement)

February 2002

February 1, 2002

  • James C. Ho at OLC send a memo to John Yoo at OLC, asserting that Geneva Convention standards don't apply to conflicts with terrorist organizations. (Source: propublica)
  • Attorney General John Ashcroft sends a memo to President George Bush, asserting that opting out of Geneva "would provide the highest assurance that no court would subsequently entertain charges that American military officers, intelligence officials, or law enforcement officials violated Geneva Convention rules relating to field conduct, detention conduct or interrogation of detainees." (Source: GWU)

February 2, 2002

  • State counsel William Taft sends a memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, arguing in favor of application of the Geneva Conventions on policy grounds.

February 4, 2002

February 7, 2002

  • Jay Bybee at OLC sends a memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, concluding that the president can deny prisoner of war status to captured Taliban fighters.
  • Geneva Conventions determination - President George Bush signs the presidential determination about Geneva Conventions application in Afghanistan.
    • No provisions apply to the conflict with al Qaeda.
    • Common article 3 does not apply to either Taliban or al Qaeda.
    • Taliban are "unlawful combatants" and do not qualify as prisoners of war.
    • Humane treatment is claimed as a matter of policy, but only to the extent consistent with military necessity.
  • George Bush summarizes the determination for senior administrative branch officials.

February 12, 2002

  • Within JPRA, psychologist Bruce Jessen emails an al-Qaeda resistance document to Colonel Randy Moulton, who forwards it up the chain of command. Moulton recommends that a JPRA team be sent to Guantanamo. (Source: SASC report, p. 7)

February 13, 2002

February 19, 2002

  • The Center for Constitutional Rights files Rasul v. Bush, habeas petitions on behalf of David Hicks, Shafiq Rasul and Asif Iqbal.

February 21 or 22, 2002

  • Major General Mike Dunlavey meets with Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz about taking over as Guantanamo commander. (Source: Dunlavey statement, at p. 9)

February 22, 2002

  • Under interrogation, Ibn Sheikh al-Libi first claims that Iraq assisted in al-Qaida's weapons of mass destruction efforts. (Source: SSCI)
    • He is being held in Egypt. He breaks and makes the Iraq claims after being held in a very small confinement box. ((Sources: Newsweek; ABC. See: February 4, 2004)
    • An interrogation team had reported to Vice President Dick Cheney's office that al-Libi had been deemed "compliant". The Vice President's office ordered them to continue the enhanced methods anyways. (Source: Larry Wilkerson)
    • DIA doubts the claims. (Source: SSCI)
    • Reports of waterboarding exist: Al-Libi had been subjected to two weeks of progressively harsher interrogation. He finally broke after being waterboarded and then left to stand naked in his cold cell overnight where he was doused with cold water at regular intervals. (Source: ABC)

February 26, 2002

  • Jay Bybee at OLC sends a memo to Jim Haynes, general counsel at DOD, about the rights of American citizens captured in the war on terror. "Even if the Government did in fact violate Rule 4.2 by having military lawyers interrogate represented persons (including Mr. Walker) without consent of counsel, it would not follow that the evidence obtained in that questioning would be inadmissible at trial." (Source: GWU)

March 2002

March 5, 2002

  • Joan Larsen at OLC sends a memo concerning habeas relief for detainees. (Source: Bradbury declaration). ToDo: Check year.

March 13, 2002

  • Transfer opinion - Jay Bybee sends a memo to general counsel Jim Haynes at DOD, asserting presidential power to capture and detain enemies, and to transfer prisoners captured and held overseas to other nations at his discretion. The memo discusses criminal conspiracy to commit torture via rendering prisoners to other nations.

March 16, 2002

  • Two CIA officers prepare a draft plan of proposed enhanced interrogation techniques. (Source: Vaughn index)

Mid March 2002

  • According to ABC News, the CIA institutes six techniques at black sites at this time:
    • Attention grab
    • Attention slap
    • Belly slap
    • Standing shackled stress position with sleep deprivation, for more than 40 hours.
    • Cold cell
    • Waterboarding

March 21, 2002

March 22, 2002

  • Retired Colonel Stuart Herrington delivers a report on operations at Guantanamo. (Source: SASC report, p. 12)

March 25, 2002

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz issues a directive, "Protection of Human Subjects and Adherence to Ethical Standards in DoD-Supported Research". The directive weakens experimentation protections by limiting the safeguards to "prisoners of war."

March 28, 2002

  • Abu Zubaydah captured - Pakistani and American forces capture Abu Zubaydah in Faisalabad. During capture he is shot in the thigh, the groin, and the stomach. (Sources: DOJ IG report, p. 67ff; ICRC report, p. 5; CNN; NYT)
  • Approximately 20 to 50 people are rounded up in associated Pakistani/FBI raids on March 28-29 in Faisalabad, Multan and Lahore. (Source: CNN; ghostplane timeline)

About March 31, 2002

  • According to the New York Times, a few days after capture, the injured Abu Zubaydah is flown to a black site in Thailand (Source: NYT). Asia Times suggests a possible location as a military base in the northeastern province of Udon Thani (Source: Asia Times).
  • Two FBI agents lead the initial interrogation. After a few days, CIA takes control. (Sources: DOJ IG report, OPR report, p. 33)
  • According to Zubaydah, he spends several weeks in the hospital following arrest, and is then transferred to Afghanistan, where he spends one and a half to two months. In Afghanistan he is locked in hot confinement boxes, kept shackled to a chair, subjected to cold from an air conditioner, subjected to loud music, and kept naked. (Sources: ICRC report)
  • According to Ali Soufan, after a few days of FBI interrogation, a CIA team arrives and takes control. The harsh tactics start with nudity and sleep deprivation. Control reverts to the FBI for a few days. CIA introduces loud noise and then temperature manipulation. Control reverts to the FBI for a few days. CIA begins use of the confinement box. Soufan objects and is pulled out. (Source: Soufan testimony; Discussion: emptywheel; Andy Worthington)

Late March, 2002

  • Martin Mubanga is captured in Zambia by Zambian police and U.S. authorities. He is interrogated by a British man who says he is MI6, and an American woman who says she is a defense official. Mubanga declines their offer to be an undercover agent to penetrate al Qaeda. He will be sent to Guantanamo on April 18. (Source: BBC; wikipedia)

April 2002

April 8, 2002

  • Swift justice opinion - Patrick Philbin at OLC sends a memo to Daniel Byrant at OLA, asserting as unconstitutional legislation proposed by Senator Pat Leahy, concerning capture and military tribunals.

April 10, 2002

  • Binyan Mohamed is arrested at the Karachi airport. In Pakistan, he is beaten, hung from leather straps, and threatened with a firearm by Pakistani intelligence officers. He is also question by MI5 officers. (Source: Guardian)

April 13, 2002

  • Torture tapes begin - Date of 133-page CIA logbook of Abu Zubadah interrogations (Source: Vaughn index). The torture tapes begin on this day (Source: emptywheel).

April 16, 2002

  • SERE psychologist Bruce Jessen circulates a draft exploitation plan to Randy Moulton and other JPRA officials. (Source: SASC report, pp. xiv, 14)
  • Two CIA officers write a memo for the record, outlining pre-decisional discussions among CIA attorneys and officers, as well as attorneys from other government agencies that occurred in anticipation of a counter-terrorism operation. (Source: Vaughn index)
  • Within OLC, Jennifer Koester sends a memo to John Yoo, summarizing her research on what will become the Bybee memo. (Source: [1], p. 40.)

April 17, 2002

  • Earliest known correspondence regarding the retention policy for the interrogation tapes. (Source: Vaughn index; ACLU; Discussion: emptywheel)

April 18, 2002

Unknown April 2002

  • SERE psychologist James Mitchell arrives at the CIA black site in Thailand.

April 27, 2002

  • Mark Hosenball at Newsweek publishes leaked details from the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah. Hosenball mentions plots about an attack on banks, an attack on supermarkets, and dirty bombs.
  • CIA email, copied to officers and attorneys, regarding the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, and related to the interrogation videotapes. (Source: Vaughn index)

April 28, 2002

  • At Guantanamo, captives start being moved from the chain-link cells of Camp X-Ray, to the more permanent Camp Delta.

May 2002

May 3, 2002

  • Canadian Abdullah Almalki is imprisoned in Damascus. Within the first two days, he is beaten on the soles of his feet, beaten with a cable, and forced to jog on his beaten soles. On the third day, he is beaten while placed in a stress position involving a tire. He spends the next 482 days in small dark cell, 34 inches wide. (Source: Almalki chronology)

May 6, 2002

  • John Bolton at State notifies the UN that the U.S. recognizes no obligation under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, and does not intend to become a party. The treaty had been signed by Bill Clinton, but not ratified by the Senate.

May 8, 2002

  • FBI agents arrest Jose Padilla as he is getting off a plane at O'Hare Airport in Chicago. Padilla will be held as a material witness until June 9, 2002.

Roughly May 13, 2002

  • A captive at Guantanamo is beaten unconscious. (Source: FBI email)

May 22, 2002

  • President George Bush nominates Jay Bybee as federal judge for the ninth circuit. Bybee will be confirmed for the position in March 2003.

Mid-May 2002

  • Attorneys from the CIA’s Office of General Counsel meet with the Attorney General, the National Security Adviser, the Deputy National Security adviser, the Legal Adviser to the National Security Council, and the Counsel to the President to discuss use of alternative interrogation methods. The CIA proposes particular alternative interrogation methods, including waterboarding. (Source: SSCI narrative)
  • FBI interrogator Ali Soufan leaves the interrogator of Abu Zubaydah, in protest over the implementation of James Mitchell's "learned helplessness" techniques.

June 2002

June 7, 2002

  • Michael Chertoff at DOJ sends a memo to Jay Bybee at OLC, about Jose Padilla. (Source: Bybee memo, 6/8/2002)

June 8, 2002

  • Jay Bybee at OLC sends a memo to Attorney General John Ashcroft, asserting military authority to detain Jose Padilla as an enemy combatant.

June 9, 2002

  • Padilla held as enemy combatant - Two days before District Court Judge Michael Mukasey is to issue a ruling on the validity of continuing to hold Jose Padilla under a material witness warrant, President George Bush issues an order to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to detain Padilla as an "enemy combatant." Padilla is transferred to a military brig in South Carolina.

June 11, 2002

  • Jose Padilla petitions for a writ of habeas corpus.
  • Yasser Hamdi petitions for a writ of habeas corpus.

June 17, 2002

  • Request for DOD approval of JPRA training to the CIA. (Source: SASC report, p. 20)

June 27, 2002

  • Section 4001 opinion - John Yoo at OLC sends a memo to Dan Byrant at OLA, concerning military detention of U.S. citizens, and Jose Padilla specifically.
  • DOD approves the June 17 request for JPRA training to an CIA. (Source: SASC report, p. 21)

Unknown June 2002

  • A combat stress control team arrives at Guantanamo. Team members are surprised to learn they have been assigned to support interrogations, under the newly created Behavioral Science Consultation Team. (Source: SASC report, p. 38; Discussion: Salon)

July 2002

  • DOD Deputy General Counsel for Intelligence Richard Shiffrin contacts JPRA seeking information on SERE physical pressures and interrogation techniques. Shiffrin calls JPRA after discussions with DOD general counsel Jim Haynes. (Source: SASC report, p. xiv)
  • A CIA operations officer chokes a detainee with a pressure point on the carotid artery. When the detainee falls unconscious, the interrogator shakes him awake, and then chokes him again. (Source: CIA IG report, p. 69)
  • Use of loud music and strobe lights is reported at Guantanamo between July 2002 and October 2004. (Source: Schmidt report, p. 9)

July 1, 2002

  • JPRA conducts a two-day training session for CIA officers. Waterboarding is demonstrated. (Source: SASC report, p. 21; Discussion: emptywheel)

July 8, 2002

  • In a prison in Damascus, Canadian Abdullah Almalki is allowed 20 minutes in the sun. He notices that his skin is yellow, he is infested with lice bites, and his blanket is growing yellow and black mold. (Source: Almalki chronology)

July 10, 2002

  • Email traffic between CIA attorneys, with legal analysis on a specific issue. (Source: Vaughn index)

July 13, 2002

  • CIA OGC meets with John Bellinger, John Yoo, Michael Chertoff, Daniel Levin, and Alberto Gonzales, and provides an overview of the proposed interrogation plan for Abu Zubaydah. (Source: SSCI narrative)
  • John Yoo at OLC sends a memo to counsel John Rizzo at CIA, about the elements of the crime of torture and how to avoid legal liability.

July 15, 2002

  • FBI agents discover a potential link between Muhammad al Qahtani and Mohammad Atta. The information is briefed to the President and the Attorney General. An FBI unit chief is told of a determination that "not one single [detainee] will see the inside of a courtroom." (Source: DOJ IG report, p. 78)

July 16, 2002

  • The CIA contacts Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff, requesting a letter providing advance declination of prosecution for the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah. (Source: OPR report)
  • John Yoo at OLC meets with White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and “possibly” Associate Counsel Tim Flanigan and OVP counsel David Addington at the White House. (Discussion: emptywheel)

July 17, 2002

  • George Tenet meets with Condoleezza Rice, who gives her approval on policy grounds to the proposed interrogation of Abu Zubaydah. (Source: SSCI narrative)

July 18, 2002

  • In Damascus, Canadian Abdullah Almalki undergoes a new period of beatings. He is forced to hold himself from a metal frame, beaten when he lets go, and becomes less and less able to hang on from the beatings. When he can no longer hang on, he is tied to the frame. After being untied, he is beaten on his back. (Source: Almalki chronology)

July 19, 2002

  • A CIA lawyer faxes a draft memo to an OLC attorney. The memo discusses proposed interrogation techniques, medical information, and operational intelligence. (Source: Vaughn index)

July 22, 2002

  • In Rabat, Morocco, the CIA hands over custody of Binyam Mohammad to Moroccan security for interrogation. In Morocco, Mohammad is beaten at regular intervals, and every month he is striped and his penis is cut with a scalpel.
  • John Yoo at OLC sends a memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, asserting that the Convention Against Torture has limited application in the United States. (Sources: Yoo memo, 3/14/2003, p. 47; HJC request)

About July 22, 2002

  • JPRA provides the DOD OGC with documents to help reverse engineer SERE techniques. The techniques discussed include sensory deprivation, sleep disruption, stress positions, waterboarding, slapping, keeping the lights on, and treating a person like an animal. (Source: SASC report, p. xiv)

July 24, 2002

  • Psychologist/interrogators fax a psychological profile of Abu Zubaydah to John Yoo. (Discussion: Spencer Ackerman; emptywheel; Jeff Kaye I II)
  • John Yoo at OLC telephones John Rizzo at CIA, verbally authorizing a number of torture techniques for use on Abu Zubaydah. Attorney General John Ashcroft is cited as authorizer. The techniques are attention grasp, walling, facial hold, facial slap, cramped confinement, and wall standing. Waterboarding will be approved on July 26. (Sources: SSCI narrative; OPR report, p. 53; Bybee memo, 8/1/2002)
  • A CIA officer takes one page of handwritten notes, describing proposed interrogation techniques that could be considered for use on detainees. (Source: Vaughn index)

July 25, 2002

  • DOD OGC asks JPRA for "a list of exploitation and interrogation techniques that had been effective against Americans." (Source: SASC)
  • Before getting a response, DOD OGC asks for "a list of techniques used by JPRA at SERE school."
  • In response to the first request, JPRA hand carries a memo with lesson plans on exploitation. (Source: SASC)
  • DOD produces a document with legal advice. This document will be discovered missing from OLC custody in 2009. (Source: Vaughn index; Discussion: emptywheel)

July 26, 2002

  • JPRA responds to a DOD General Counsel request. The memo promotes JPRA expertise on exploitation. (Source: SASC report, pp. 26-30; Discussion: emptywheel I; II; Jeff Kaye)
    • The memo says SERE techniques "may be very effective in inducing learned helplessness and 'breaking' the OEF detainees' will to resist."
    • An attachment lists SERE techniques:
      • facial slap, walling, the abdomen slap, use of water, attention grasp, and stress positions
      • smoke, shaking and manhandling, cramped confinement, immersion in water or wetting down, and waterboarding
      • isolation or solitary confinement, induced physical weakness and exhaustion, degradation, conditioning, sensory deprivation, sensory overload, disruption of sleep and biorhythms, and manipulation of diet
    • Another attachment from JPRA explains why torture is ineffective in interrogation.
  • OLC verbally authorizes the use of waterboarding on Abu Zubaydah. (Sources: SSCI narrative, p. 4; Bybee memo, 8/1/2002, p. 1)

July 27, 2002

  • The FBI begins questioning Mohammad al-Khatani. At this point he is held in Camp Delta. (Source: SASC report, p. 58)

July 31, 2002

  • CIA responds to a DOJ request, and sends 2 memos with information about the physiological effects of an interrogation technique, presumably waterboarding. (Source: Vaughn index)

August 2002

August 1, 2002

  • Bybee One memo - Jay Bybee at OLC sends a memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales about interrogation legal standards and defenses, and interpreting the torture statute. The OLC drafts the memo in response to a CIA request. The memo is principally authored by OLC lawyer John Yoo, with aid from OVP counsel David Addington. The memo will be a primary legal justification for torture, until it is withdrawn in June 2004. (Discussion: SASC report, pp. 31-33; Wikipedia)
    • Physical pain "must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death."
    • Mental pain "must result in significant psychological harm of significant duration, e.g., lasting for months or even years," as well as be the result of one of the specific causes of mental pain contained in 18 USC 2340, "namely: threats of imminent death; threats of infliction of the kind of pain that would amount to physical torture; infliction of such physical pain as a means of psychological torture; use of drugs or other procedures designed to deeply disrupt the senses, or fundamentally alter an individual's personality; or threatening to do any of these things to a third party."
  • Bybee Two memo - At CIA request, Bybee also sends a memo to John Rizzo at CIA, approving and detailing ten techniques for use on Abu Zubaydah.
"These ten techniques are: (1) attention grasp, (2) walling, (3) facial hold, (4) facial slap (insult slap), (5) cramped confinement, (6) wall standing, (7) stress positions, (8) sleep deprivation, (9) insects placed in a confinement box, and (10) the waterboard."
  • John Yoo at OLC sends a memo to Gonzales, addressing the international law aspects of interrogations.

August 4, 2002

  • Date of 59-page CIA logbook of Abu Zubaydah interrogations. (Source: Vaughn index)

August 8, 2002

  • At Guantanamo, Mohammad al-Qahtani is moved to isolation in the Navy brig. He is under FBI custody. His confinement includes constant light, a cold cell, and extreme isolation. (Sources: DOJ IG report; SASC report, p. 58; Schmidt report, p. 18)

August 12, 2002

  • JPRA creates Project 22B to support CIA activities, and limit knowledge within JPRA of the activities. (Source: SASC report, p. 38)

August 20, 2002

  • JTF-170 at Guantanamo produces standard operating prodecures for interrogations. Stress positions are prohibited. (Source: SASC report, p. 41)
  • Around this time, JTF-170 commander Michael Dunlavey and director for intelligence Jerald Phifer urge Interrogation Control Element chief David Becker to be more aggressive in interrogations, and repeatedly ask him why stress positions are not used. (Source: SASC report, p. 41)
  • CIA cable to headquarters, about security risks of videotape retention. (Source: Vaughn index; Discussion: emptywheel)

August 24, 2002

  • In Damascus, Canadian Abdullah Almalki is beaten with cables on his feet. The next day, he is taken to another location and interrogated with questions directed by people speaking English. (Source: Almalki chronology)

Unknown August, 2002

  • Abu Zubaydah is waterboarded 83 times. (Source: CAT memo, 5/30/2005)
    • During a one week period of especially intense interrogation, he is waterboarded, locked in confinement boxes, beaten, slammed against walls, sleep deprived, subjected to loud music, and deprived of solid food. (Source: ICRC report)
    • After use of enhanced techniques including the waterboard, he is judged to have reached "a satisfactory level of compliance." (Source: CIA)

September 2002

Unknown September, 2002

  • DOJ authorizes CIA to use enhanced interrogation techniques on specific detainees. The techniques seem to include waterboarding. (Source: Tenet memo, 6/4/2004)

September 4, 2002

CBS reveals Donald Rumsfeld's 9/11 notes telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq. "Go massive... Sweep it all up. Things related and not."

September 10, 2002

  • Colonel John Custer delivers a review of Guantanamo Bay intelligence operations. (Source: SASC report, p. 42)
    • Custer recommends combining the FBI's behavioral analysis unit and the military behavioral science teams to use both military and law enforcement approaches.
    • Law enforcement staff object to use of the term "Battle Lab" to describe operations, and the implications of experimental, unproven, and untrained techniques on individuals who are awaiting trial. (Source: SASC report, p. 43)

September 11, 2002

  • Ramzi bin al-Shibh is captured after a gun battle in Karachi, Pakistan. (Source: ICRC report, p. 5)
  • Khalid Sheik Mohammed's two sons, aged about nine and seven, and perhaps his wife, are also captured in Karachi. (Sources: Telegraph, 3/9/2003; Asia Times, 10/30/2002, with crude disinformation)

Around September 11, 2002

  • Ramzi bin al-Shibh is flown from Karachi to Bagram Air Base, and then a CIA facility nearby. (Source: AP timeline)
    • On an unknown date, FBI Agents travel to a CIA black site to interrogate bin al-Shibh. According to an FBI Assistant Chief, the detainees are manacled to the ceiling and subjected to blaring music (Source: OIG report, p. 74). According to the AP timeline, this would be at the Bagram facility.

September 16, 2002

  • Guantanamo interrogators attend training from SERE instructors at Fort Bragg. The interrogators include behavioral science team members. (Source: SASC report, pp. xvi, 38, 43)

September 17, 2002

  • Ramzi bin al-Shibh is flown to a black site in Morocco. (Source: AP timeline)

September 19, 2002

  • FBI questioning of Mohammad al-Khatani ends. (Source: SASC report, p. 58)

September 23, 2002

  • A CITF member emails concerns about DOD proposed techniques for use on Mohammad al-Khatani:
"drive the hooded detainee around the island to disorient him, disrobe him to his underwear, have an interrogator with an Egyptian accent (it is known among the detainees that Egyptians are aggressive interrogators and commonly use coercion, to include maiming)"

September 25, 2002

About September 25, 2002

  • David Addington, Jim Haynes, John Rizzo, Jack Goldsmith, Patrick Philbin, and Alice Fisher fly to view detainees. (Source: SASC report, pp. xvi-xvii, 49)
    • Camp Delta at Guatanamo to view Mohammed al-Kahtani.
    • The Charleston South Carolina navy brig to view Jose Padilla.
    • The Norfolk Virginia navy brig to view Yaser Esam Hamdi.
  • JTF-170 assumes the lead on the interrogation of Mohammed al-Khatani. (Source: SASC report, p. 57)

September 26, 2002

  • Maher Arar is apprehended at JFK airport, returning to Canada from Tunisia via Switzerland. He will be rendered to Syria on October 8.

September 30, 2002

  • In a prison in Damascus, Canadian Abdullah Almalki is questioned about Maher Arar, though October 7. (Source: Almalki chronology)

October 2002

October 1, 2002

  • General Dunlavey draws up an aggressive interrogation plan request for Mohammad al-Khatani (Source: SASC report, pp. 57, 59). Dunalavey requests the use of dogs Schmidt report, p. 14).

October 2, 2002

  • Two Guantanamo behavioral scientists who had attended the SERE training at Fort Bragg draft a memo proposing new interrogation techniques for use at Gitmo. There was "increasing pressure to get 'tougher' with detainee interrogations." (Source: SASC report, pp. xvii, 38, 50)
    • Category I includes "mildly adverse approaches".
    • Category II includes stress positions, isolation, food deprivation, 20 hour interrogations, removal of comfort items including religious items, forced grooming, handcuffing, and hooding.
    • Category III includes continual 20 hour interrogations, strict isolation without the medical and ICRC visit, threats of pain and death, non-injurious physical consequences, removal of clothing, and exposure to cold weather or water until such time as the detainee began to shiver.
    • Recommendations for treatment in cell blocks include sleep deprivation, deprivation of comfort items, control of Korans, and white noise. "All aspects of the environment should enhance capture shock, dislocate expectations, foster dependence, and support exploitation to the fullest extent possible."
  • Doing it wrong - Guantanamo Staff Judge Advocate LTC Diane Beaver convenes a meeting to discuss the memo. (Sources: Minutes; SASC report, pp. xvii, 53)
    • The meeting is dominated by a discussion of aggressive interrogation techniques including sleep deprivation, death threats, and waterboarding, which was discussed in relation to its use in SERE training.
    • The interrogation of Mohammad al-Khatani is discussed.
    • CIA CTC counsel Jonathan Fredman is present. "If the detainee dies you're doing it wrong," he says.
  • A period of military interrogation of al-Khatani begins, ending October 10. The treatment includes sleep deprivation, loud music, bright lights, and stress positions. (Source: SASC report, p. 60)

October 4, 2002

  • A military interrogator squats over the Koran during an aggressive Good cop/Bad cop interrogation of al-Qahtani. (Sources: FBI email; DOJ IG report, p. 83)

October 5, 2002

October 7, 2002

  • President George Bush gives a speech in Cincinnati, saying "We've learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and deadly gases." This claim would come from the interrogation in Egypt of Ibn al-Shakyh al-Libi.

October 8, 2002

  • Maher Arar is rendered to Syria, via Jordan. In Syria, Arar is held in a lightless rat-infested three-foot by six-foot cell. He is beaten regularly with shredded cables.
  • Military interrogators plan to stop the interrogation of Mohammad al-Khatani, because of negative results. (Source: SASC report, p. 60)

October 11, 2002

  • Date of a photograph of Abu Zubaydah, associated with the torture tapes. (Sources: foia list; Vaughn index)
  • Guantanamo Commander Michael Dunlavey sends a memo to General James Hill, requesting authority to use aggressive interrogation techniques. Several of the techniques requested are similar to SERE techniques, including stress positions, exploitation of detainee fears, removal of clothing, hooding, deprivation of light and sound, and the waterboard. (Sources: SASC report, pp. xvii, xxvii, 38, 65; OPR report, p. 71; Schmidt report, p. 4)
    • The list includes "scenarios designed to convince the detainee that death or severely painful consequences are imminent for him and/or his family."
    • This request leads to the December 2 Rumsfeld approval. (Source: Mora memo)
  • LTC Diane Beaver, Guantanamo's Staff Judge Advocate, writes an analysis justifying the legality of the techniques. (Source: SASC report, pp. xvii, 63)
    • The analysis finds that cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment prohibitions would not apply because of location and other defenses.
    • Because assault is a per se violation of UCMJ, interrogators should have permission or immunity in advance.

October 12, 2002

  • 202 people are killed in bombing attacks in the tourist district of Kuta on the Indonesian island of Bali. Two nightclubs and a U.S. consulate are hit.

October 16, 2002

About October 18, 2002

October 25, 2002

  • General Hill forwards Dunlavey's request to Richard Myers. (Sources: SASC report, p. 66; Schmidt report, p. 4)
  • Cable from field to CIA headquarters, discussing the security risks if videotapes are retained. (Source: Vaughn index; Discussion: emptywheel)
  • Tapes at the Thailand black site are now reused, storing only one session at a time. (Discussion: emptywheel)

October 2002

  • Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri is captured in Dubai. For the first month, he is interrogated by Dubai agents. (Source: ICRC report, pp. 5, 6; CNN, 11/22/2002)

November 2002

  • CTC initiates training courses for individuals involved in interrogations. (Source: CIA IG report, pp. 25, 31)
  • In November, the CIA's standard interrogation techniques not needing written guidance include 72-hour sleep deprivation, continual light or darkness, loud music, and white noise. (Source: CIA IG report, p. 40)

Early November 2002

  • Air Force, Navy Marine, and Army lawyers express objections or concerns about the October 11 memo. DOD general counsel Jim Haynes and General Myers quash a legal review by Joint Staff counsel Jane Dalton. (Source: SASC report, pp. 67-72)
  • Abd al-Nashiri is captured, perhaps in Dubai (Sources: CNN, 11/22/2002, AP, 8/7/2010). He is taken to the Salt Pit, and then the black site in Thailand, before being transported to Poland on December 5 (Source: AP, 8/7/2010).

November 2, 2002

  • A 38-page memo proposing a more intense counterterrorism program, for detained unlawful combatants. (Source: Vaughn index)

November 4, 2002

  • Major General Geoffrey Miller takes command of Guantanamo, replacing Major General Michael Dunlavey.

November 7, 2002

  • Guantanamo commander Geoffry Miller, previous commander Michael Dunlavey, and Guantanamo staff meet with an ICRC representative.

November 11, 2002

  • JTF GTMO drafts standard operating procedures for BSCT support of interrogations. (Source: SASC report, p. 39)

November 12, 2002

  • An interrogation plan is drawn up for Mohammed al-Khatani. (Source: Schmidt report, pp. 14-15)
  • Approval of a JPRA training course for interrogators at Guantanamo, conducted in mid to late November.

November 15, 2002

  • CIA IG report reference to the authorization of the interrogation of al-Nashiri.
  • On November 15 to 17, email traffic between CIA field and headquarters, expressing concerns about the videotapes, discussion between attorneys about destroying the tapes, and a plan for a random independent review (Source: Vaughn index, pp. 95, 97, 101). This seems to be the genesis of what became the OGC review of the tapes. (Source: emptywheel)

November 16, 2002

  • A CIA site report makes the first known dated reference to the interrogation of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri (Source: Vaughn index)

October or November 2002

  • Twelve days into his interrogation, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri is waterboarded twice (Source: CIA IG report, p. 36). The waterboarding is conducted by Jim Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, and occurs in Thailand (Source: AP, 12/17/2010).

November 19, 2002

  • In November and December, CIA counsel travels to a field station, to review the interrogation videotapes for compliance with the August 2002 opinion and to compare the events with reports to headquarters (Sources: Vaughn index, pp. 23, 25; CIA IG report, p. 36.) The CIA lawyer may be John McPherson (Discussion: emptywheel).
  • At the Salt Pit prison near Kabul, Gul Rahman is shackled half-naked in a cold cell. He is dead of exposure by morning. (Sources: AP; WaPo, 3/3/2005)

Before November 23, 2003

  • After three months in isolation, Mohammed al-Qahtani is showing signs of severe mental deterioration. He spends much of his day covered by a sheet, crouching in the corner of his cell or hunched on his knees on top of his bed. He is observed by a hidden video camera having conversations with non-existent people, and reports hearing unusual sounds. (Discussion: Stephen Soldz)
    • Videotapes of Qahatani from this period will later be ordered produced in court battles. (Discussion: Daphne Eviatar)
  • Shortly before his military interrogation plan begins, al-Qahtani is moved from the Navy brig to Camp X-Ray, with a ruse to make him think he has been rendered to a hostile country that practices torture. (Source: SASC report, p. 88)

November 23, 2002

  • First Special Interrogation Plan - An interrogation plan is initiated for Muhammed al-Qahtani.
    • 2:25 a.m. - Al-Qahtani is taken to an interrogation booth at Camp X-Ray. His hood is removed and he is bolted to the floor. An extensive log of his interrogations and sleep deprivation program will be taken, ending on January 11.

November 27, 2002

  • DOD general counsel Jim Haynes sends a memo to Donald Rumsfeld, requesting approval for counter-resistance techniques at Guantanamo. The memo will be signed on December 2. (Discussion: Marty Lederman; SASC report, pp. xix, 94-97)
  • An FBI agent warns his superiors that several of the techniques being considered are not permitted by the constitution, and that others violate the Torture Statute. (Source: GWU)
  • CIA cable from the field to headquarters, requesting destruction of the interrogation videotapes. (Source: Vaughn index)
  • CIA cable from headquarters to field, about disposition of the tapes. (Source: Vaughn index)

December 2002

December 2, 2002

  • Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld approves coercive interrogation techniques for use at Guantanamo. This is the memo with Rumsfeld's notation "However, I stand for 8-10 hours a day. Why is standing limited to 4 hours?" Techniques include:
    • Yelling
    • Multiple interrogators
    • False flag
    • False dossier
    • Isolation
    • Sensory deprivation
    • Hooding
    • 20 hour interrogations
    • Cold meals
    • Removal of clothing
    • Forced grooming
    • Use of phobias including dogs
    • Physical contact such as poking and pushing

December 3, 2002

  • CIA discusses a plan for destruction of videotapes, partly in the context of the closing of a facility. (Source: Vaughn index, pp. 15, 91; Discussion: emptywheel)

December 4, 2002

  • CIA IG report reference to the enhanced interrogation of Al-Nashiri.
  • Habibullah dies, Bagram.

December 5, 2002

  • Eight prisoners are deliver to a CIA black site in Szymany, Poland. Abu Zubaydah, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Ramzi bin al-Shibh have been shipped from Thailand. (Source: Andy Worthington; AP, 9/7/2010)

December 6, 2002

  • A CIA officer prepares a 3-page memorandum for the record, relating to an investigation pertaining to a prisoner. (Source: Vaughn index)

December 7, 2002

  • 10:50 p.m. - Following 2 weeks of sleep deprivation, Muhammed al-Qahtani is measured with a heart rate of 35 bpm. He spends most of the next day sleeping in the hospital, before his interrogation program is resumed. (Source: interrogation log)
  • On an unknown day in December, a Navy nurse tells an FBI agent that a detainee had been admitted to the hospital with hypothermia. From context, the detainee may be al-Qahtani. (Source: FBI email)

December 10, 2002

  • Dilawar dies, Bagram.
  • LTC Ted Moss drafts an SOP for use of SERE techniques at Guantanamo. (Source: GWU)

About December 14, 2002

  • Two weeks into December, Al-Nashiri is assessed as "compliant". Subsequently, CTC sends a debriefer. The debriefer will assess Al-Nashiri as "withholding", and reinstate hooding, handcuffing, and redacted techniques. (Source: CIA IG report, p. 41)

December 14, 2002

  • At a staff meeting at Guantanamo, MG Geoffrey Miller is briefed on the draft interrogation procedures derived fron SERE techniques.
  • Guantanamo staff traffic emails about the draft procedures on and around this date. (Source: SASC report, p. 97)

December 17, 2002

  • David Brant, head of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, approaches Navy counsel Alberto Mora about the abuse of detainees by JITF-170 personnel at Guantanamo. (Sources: Mora memo; SASC report, p. 106; [2], p. 73. Discussion: New Yorker)

December 18, 2002

  • An SOP is drafted for SERE techniques at Guantanamo. (Discussion: SASC report, p. 98)
  • Navy counsel Alberto Mora meets with NCIS head David Brant and others to discuss the Guantanamo abuse. NCIS chief psychologist Michael Gelles describes physical contact, degrading treatment including women's underwear, stress positions, and coercive psychological measures. (Source: Mora memo; Discussion: New Yorker)

December 19, 2002

  • Navy counsel Alberto Mora Mora calls Amy counsel Steven Morello to discuss the Guantanamo abuse. (Source: Mora memo)

December 20, 2002

  • Navy counsel Alberto Mora meets with DOD counsel Jim Haynes at the Pentagon. Mora tries to convine Haynes to withdraw torture authorization. (Discussion: historycommons)
  • At Guantanamo, Mohammed al-Khatani is tied with a leash to his chains, led around the room, and forced to perform a series of dog tricks. Schmidt report, p. 19)
  • Draft memo about "leaks", requesting approval for destruction of the videotapes. (Source: Vaughn index)
  • Memo from CIA headquarters about tape usage and destruction. (Source: Vaughn index)

December 21, 2002

December 23, 2002

December 26, 2002

  • Dana Priest and Barton Gellman report on the use of stress positions, sleep deprivation, and other interrogation techniques in the Washington Post.

About December 28, 2002

  • Abd al-Rahim Al-Nashiri's debriefing officer threatens to kill Al-Nashiri with a semi-automatic pistol pointed at his head. (Source: CIA IG report, p. 41)
    • The same officer threatens Al-Nashiri with a power drill. (Source: CIA IG report, p. 41)
    • This occurs at the black site in Poland. (Source: [3], 8/2010)
    • Media reports are calling the debriefer "Albert". (Source: AP, 9/7/2010)

December 31, 2002

  • SERE instructors begin training for military interrogators at Guantanamo. The instruction includes review of Biderman's Principles. Stress positions and slapping are demonstrated. (Sources: SERE memo; SASC report, pp. xx, 103)


January 2003

January 3, 2003

January 9, 2003

  • Defense Intelligence Agency director Lowell Jacoby submits a declaration in the Padilla case. Lowell asserts that granting Padilla even limited access to counsel would break the sense of dependency that the interrogation program seeks to establish.
  • As part of an OGC review of certain interrogations, a CIA attorney writes a review of the interrogation videotapes. The review contains views about what facts would be relevant to determining the legality of the interrogaion of Abu Zubaydah. (Sources: Vaughn index; Hilton declaration; Discussion: emptywheel)

January 11, 2003

  • 7:00 a.m. - At Guantanamo, Muhammed al-Qahtani is granted a period of sleep. The 50-day log of his interrogation and sleep deprivation program ends.

January 13, 2003

  • A CIA officer sends a memo to a CIA attorney, discussing the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah. The document is prepared to help the CIA attorney provide legal counsel to a client. (Source: Vaughn index)
  • Cable from CIA headquarters, about retention of Abu Zubaydah videos. (Source: Vaughn index)
  • Canadian RCMP officer, D. D. Fiorido visits Damascus, where Mahar Arar and Abdullah Almalki are being held. His report says that “in both cases, no new information was obtained.” After this, Almalki's interrogators no longer try to hide that reports are coming from Canada. (Source: Almalki chronology)

January 15, 2003

  • Navy counsel Alberto Mora threatens to send a memo to DOD general counsel Jim Haynes, stating on-the-record opposition to interrogation techniques as against the law, unless Mora hears that techniques have been suspended. (Source: Mora memo)
  • Rumsfeld, General Hill, and General Miller are involved in back and forth about whether to continue the techniques.
  • Haynes calls Mora to say that Rumsfeld has suspended the techniques.
  • Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld rescinds blanket approval for use of most of the December 2 techniques.
  • Rumsfeld directs DOD counsel to establish a working group on detainee interrogations. The group will issue a report on April 4.
  • At Guantanamo, use of aggressive techniques on Mohammad al-Khatani is suspended. (Source: SASC report, p. xxi)
  • SERE instructors John Rankin and Christopher Ross deliver a report on the early January instruction they led at Guantanamo. (Source: GWU)

January 16, 2003

  • An interrogation plan is issued for Mohamadou Walid Slahi. The plan is modeled on al-Khatani's plan. It may not have been put into effect untill June.

January 17, 2003

  • Unknown persons write a memo describing the techniques used on Mohammad al-Qahtani. These include shackling, stress positions, stripping, forced grooming, invasion of space by a female interrogator, treating him like an animal, use of dogs, and forcing him to pray to an idol shrine.

January 21, 2003

  • General Miller sends General Hill a list of "essential" techniques, including an isolation facility, interrogation outside interrogation rooms, sensory deprivation or manipulation including light and noise, 20-hour interrogations, hooding, cold meals, forced grooming, and the file and dossier technique.
  • A new Standard Operating Procedure for intelligence operations at Guantanamo is issued.
  • The OSD Working Group tasks the DIA to compile a list of possible interrogation techniques regardless of legality. (Source: DOD IG report on use of mind-altering drugs, p. 9)

About January 22, 2003

  • Sometime between January 18 and 29, John Yoo at OLC produces a draft legal memo on interrogation techniques. The one copy of the opinion is kept in the office of Air Force general counsel Mary Walker. The memo is an effective end run on interagency interrogation working group recommendations. (Source: Mora memo; Discussion: New Yorker)

January 23, 2003

  • Sometime in January, CIA DDO James Pavitt informs OIG that he had received allegations that CIA personnel had used unauthorized interrogation techniques on Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri at a black site, and requests that OIG investigate. The date of this event is speculative. (Source: CIA IG report)
  • Following from this, in January the CIA OIG initiates the review of counterterrorism detention and interrogation. (Sources: CIA IG report; Rhea declaration, 1/10/2008)

January 24, 2003

  • At Guantanamo, MP Sean Baker is badly beaten in a training exercise for an internal reaction force team. The IRF soldiers do not know that Baker is American.(Source: CBS)
  • The Staff Judge Advocate for conventional forces in Afghanistan produces an interrogation techniques memo. The memo recommends removal of clothing and use of dogs. The techniques are divided into "battlefield" and Bagram sections. (Sources: SASC report, p. xxiii; DOJ IG report, p. 59)

January 27, 2002

  • The military interrogation working group issues a draft report.

January 28, 2003

  • Detention guidelines - Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet issues guidelines on confinement conditions. (Source: CIA IG report, appendix D)
  • Interrogation guidelines - Tenet also issues guidelines on interrogations. (Source: CIA IG report, appendix E)
    • Interrogators may use only "permissible interrogation techniques." (Source: CIA)
    • Standard techniques include
      • isolation
      • sleep deprivation
      • minimal diet
      • noise
      • diapers
      • shackled standing stress positions.
    • Enhanced techniques require headquarters approval. Enhanced techniques include
      • attention grasp
      • walling
      • facial hold
      • facial slap
      • abdominal slap
      • cramped confinement
      • wall standing
      • stress positions
      • sleep deprivation beyond 72 hours
      • the use of diapers for prolonged periods (Discussion: Spencer Ackerman)
      • the use of harmless insects
      • the water board
      • other specifically approved techniques
    • Previously, guidance was done on an informal case-by-case basis. Now, interrogators must sign an acknowledgment of having read the guidelines (Source: CIA IG report, p. 7)
  • A CIA Office of General Counsel attorney informs the office of an OGC review of Agency practices and an OIG request for documents. (Source: Vaughn index)

January 31, 2003

  • Psychological assessment of a high value detainee. (Source: Vaughn index)

February 2003

  • Sometime in February, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi is transferred to Guantánamo Bay, from Egypt. (Source: NYT, 12/9/2005)

February 1, 2003

  • Colin Powell is told of the al-Libi claims about contacts between al-Qaeda and Baghdad. Because of this, Powell changes his mind and includes the claims in his U.N. speech. He is told that the claims are recent, not one year old. (Source: Larry Wilkerson via Spencer Ackerman. Discussion: emptywheel.)

February 4, 2003

  • The interrogation working group issues a draft report. The technique list is virtually the same as the previous version, but references to SERE are excluded.

February 5, 2003

  • Secretary of State Colin Powell addresses the United Nations.
  • House intelligence committee head Porter Goss and ranking member Jane Harman are briefed on interrogation methods, and told of a videotape of an Abu Zubaydah interrogation.

February 6, 2003

  • The CIA Office of Inspector General refers a case to DOJ. (Source: DOJ IG report, p. 112)

February 10, 2003

  • House intelligence committee ranking member Jane Harman writes a letter to CIA general counsel Scott Muller, advising against the destruction of the Abu Zubaydah videotape.
  • FBI director Robert Mueller issues an operational order, authorizing the FBI to work with the military and intelligence agencies in Iraq. (Source: DOJ IG report, p. 36)

February 11, 2003

  • 17 page request for approval for an intelligence operation. (Source: Vaughn index)

February 12, 2003

  • General Miller briefs Paul Wolfowitz.

February 17, 2003

  • Egyptian cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr (Abu Omar) is captured by the CIA in Milan. Nasr is flown via the Ramstein base in Germany to Egypt, where he is tortured. His rendition will be the subject of an Italian court case in 2007. (Sources: London Review of Books; Reprieve).

February 22, 2003

  • At about this date, CIA and White House officials meet to craft a response to Jane Harman's letter. (Source: Vaughn index; Discussion: emptywheel)

February 25, 2003

  • 37-page memo outlining proposed training and interrogation strategies. ToDo: partially released. (Source: Vaughn index)

February 28, 2003

  • CIA general counsel Scott Muller responds to Jane Harman's letter, without addressing the tapes. (Discussion: emptywheel)
  • At Guantanamo, a "Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedure" is issued.

March 2003

March 1, 2003

  • Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Mustafa Ahmed al-Hawsawi are captured in Rawalpindi. (Sources: ICRC report, p. 5; CNN) The date, and the accuracy of the accounts of his capture, have been questioned.

After March 1, 2003

  • Within days of capture, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is flown to Afghanistan, and then on to a black site in Poland. (Source: NYT)

March 5, 2003

  • Majid Khan is captured in Karachi. (Source: ICRC report, p. 5)
  • Khan and his brother are taken to a Pakistani interrogation center. Americans subject him to stress positions, sleep deprivation, beatings, and cramped confinement in a room with mosquitoes. At this detention facility, two of Khalid Sheik Mohammed's children are being held in a separate area. (Source: Ali Khan statement, at p. 12)

March 6 or 7, 2003

  • Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is tortured at a CIA black site, perhaps in Poland. (Source: WaPo; Discussion: HistoryCommons)
    • The techniques in March include use of the waterboard.
    • "I was kept for one month in the cell in a standing position with my hands cuffed and shackled above my head and my feet cuffed and shackled to a point in the floor."
    • Mohammed is told "We're going to kill your children." (Source: CIA IG report, p. 47)
  • DOD produces a 52 page legal advice document. (Source: Vaughn index)
  • The DOD interrogation working group issues a report. When issued it is considered final, but at some later point is recharacterized as a draft. (Source: Church report, pp. 68-69)

March 7, 2003

  • Ramzi bin al-Shibh is flown from Morocco to the black site in Poland. (Source: AP timeline)
  • The CIA produces a business plan discussing the RDI program.
  • Stephen Cambone is confirmed by the Senate in the new position of Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence.

March 8, 2003

  • A meeting of Pentagon lawyers including Jim Haynes, possibly in relation to the Mora objections, concludes "we need a presidential letter approving the use of the controversial interrogation to cover those who may be called upon to use them." (Source: ABC)

March 9, 2003

  • The Telegraph reports on the capture and holding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's two sons, and the use of them in attempts to break him.
"We are handling them with kid gloves. After all, they are only little children," said one official, "but we need to know as much about their father's recent activities as possible."
"His sons are important to him. The promise of their release and their return to Pakistan may be the psychological lever we need to break him."

March 12, 2003

  • Donald Rumsfeld, Jim Haynes, General Hill, and General Myers attend a meeting about interrogation. General Myers raises concerns about legality.

March 13, 2003

  • Jay Bybee is confirmed by the Senate as judge on the ninth circuit. He resigns his position with the OLC on March 28.

March 14, 2003

  • Torture memo - John Yoo sends an opinion to Jim Haynes, governing DOD interrogations. The memo asserts that prisoners held at offshore locations do not have constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment and have no guarantee of due process. Yoo also finds that federal laws such as those prohibiting torturing prisoners do not apply to interrogators in such settings, suggests defenses for interrogators if charges are brought and suggests that the president can waive international laws. (Discussion: Scott Horton; Dawn Johnson; Marty Lederman)

March 17, 2003

  • Jamal Naseer dies in U.S. custody at a forward collection point in Gardez, Afghanistan. Nasser was captured by Special Forces with a group of eight other Afghan army soldiers at the Sato Kandaw pass. The other soldiers report systematic abuse including beatings with sticks and cables, electric shocks, and cold water immersions.

March 19, 2003

  • The invasion of Iraq begins.

March 28, 2003

  • Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld holds a meeting about the DOD working group report. Paul Wolfowitz, Jim Haynes, Stephen Cambone, Doug Feith, and General Myers are present. After the meeting, Rumsfeld decides to authorize the 24 April 16 techniques. (Source: Church report, pp. 135-136)

April 2003

April 4, 2003

  • A DOD working group issues a report on detainee interrogations.
    • The report cites military necessity for use of interrogation techniques "beyond that which may be applied to a prisoner of war who is subject to the protections of the Geneva Conventions."
    • The working group report is not circulated to the working group participants.

April 10, 2003

  • A CIA attorney sends a memo to senior executive branch officials, describing an update meeting on the CIA's interrogations program and the use of enhanced techniques. (Source: Vaughn index)

April 16, 2003

  • Donald Rumsfeld issues a list of 24 techniques. Five of the techniques include legal cautions. Four require Secretary of Defense approval. The techniques include:
    • Dietary manipulation
    • Environmental manipulation
    • Sleep adjustment
    • Isolation
    • Pride and ego down

April 17, 2003

  • Lap dance at Guantanamo.

April 28, 2003

April 29, 2003

  • Walid bin Attash and Ali Abdul Aziz Mohammed are captured in Karachi. (Source: ICRC report, p. 5)

May 2003

  • At a black site in Poland, CIA interrogator Deuce Martinez reverts to rapport building approaches with Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. (Source: NYT)

May 2, 2003

  • In response to an inquiry, General Miller directs the Joint Intelligence Group to cease use of the Fear Up Harsh technique. (Sources: Miller statement, at p. 22)

May 9, 2003

  • In the field, and associated with the IG special review, CIA makes 47 pages of review notes about the interrogation videotapes. (Sources: Vaughn index; Hilton declaration)
    • On an unspecified date in May, at a black site location, the CIA OIG reviews interrogation videotapes, logs, and cables. Eleven videotapes are blank; two mostly blank; and two are "broken," preventing the Central Intelligence Agency from viewing them. The tapes show 83 waterboard applications. (Source: CIA IG report, p. 36, 37; CIA opposition memo, 1/10/2008)
  • CIA makes a court declaration, asserting that taping of interrogations did not occur. The declaration is in response to a May 7 court order (Source: DOJ)

May 22, 2003

  • CIA trip report memo for the record about the interrogation videotapes, associated with the IG special review. (Sources: Vaughn index; Hilton declaration)

June 2003

  • The CTC establishes a debriefing course for CIA experts questing captives who have been deemed "compliant". (Source: CIA IG report, p. 33)

June 2, 2003

June 6, 2003

  • Nagem Sadoon Hateb dies of strangulation at Whitehorse detainment facility in Nasyrah, Iraq. His autopsy also shows multiple blunt and sharp force injuries including six fractured ribs.
  • Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Abd al-Nashiri are flown from Poland, to the black site in Morocco. (Source: AP timeline)

June 8, 2003

  • Mohammad Farik bin Amin is captured in Bangkok. He is one of the 14 captives held at CIA black sites and later Guantanamo (Source: ICRC report, p. 5). His black site locations may include Diego Garcia (Source: Time)

June 12, 2003

  • A revised Standard Operating Procedure for intelligence operations at Guantanamo is issued.

June 13, 2003

  • Death from closed head injuries, Iraq.

June 16, 2003

  • The CIA traffics memos summarizing the applicable law to the detention and interrogation program. (Source: Vaughn index; Discussion: emptywheel)
  • Legal principles document - The CTC faxes to Patrick Philbin a set of bullet points about detention and interrogation legal standards for al-Qaida personnel. (See April 28, 2003 and March 2, 2004 for similar documents).

June 17, 2003

  • Patrick Philbin meets with CIA, and tells them he does not consider the John Yoo bullet points document to be an official OLC opinion. (Source: Goldsmith memo; Discussion: emptywheel)
  • CIA notes about the interrogation videotapes, associated with the IG special review. (Sources: Source: Vaughn index; Hilton declaration)

June 19, 2003

  • A CIA officer in the field sends a summary of cable to CIA Headquarters. The document describes the capture, detention, and interrogation of a detainee, as well as the operational intelligence the detainee provided. (Source: Vaughn index)

June 21, 2003

  • In Kunar province, Afghanistan, Abdul Wali dies after CIA interrogation. (Source: Passaro indictment)

June 26, 2003

  • President George Bush gives a speech, and says we will prosecute those who torture.
  • In response, George Tenet requests a memo approving the use of waterboarding. (Source: WaPo)

July 2003

July 16, 2003

  • A senior CIA officer is interviewed regarding CTC involvement in interrogation practices. The officer lists information gained from interrogation.
"The value of the program is taking the terrorists of the streets, and success is judged by the quality of the information."

July 17, 2003

  • At Guantanamo, a masked interrogator threatens the subject of the second special interrogation plan with death. (Source: Schmidt report, p. 24)

July 29, 2003

  • The DCI and the General Counsel provide a detailed briefing to NSC Principals on the CIA's detention and interrogation efforts involving "high value detainees," to include the expanded use of EITS. George Tenet, Scott Muller, Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice, John Ashcroft, John Yoo, Alberto Gonzales, and John Bellinger are involved.
    • According to a later memo for the record, the Attorney General confirms that DoJ approved of the expanded use of various EITs, including multiple applications of the waterboard (Sources: CIA IG report, pp. 5, 24; SSCI narrative). Ashcroft will dispute this. (Source: emptywheel I; II)
    • The officials are briefed concerning the number of times the waterboard had been administered. (Source: Goldsmith memo])
    • A 19-page powerpoint presentation is used at the meeting. (Source: Vaughn index)

July 31, 2003

  • Four pages discussing a meeting on a classified intelligence program, as well as a legal analysis of the enhanced techniques. Perhaps the memo for the record about the July 29 principals meeting. (Source: Vaughn index)
  • Guantanamo captive Martin Mubanga undergoes an intensive interrogation, at the direction of an MP.

August 2003

August 4, 2003

  • CIA discusses disposition or destruction of the 92 interrogation videotapes. (Source: Vaughn index; Discussion: emptywheel)

August 11, 2003

  • Mohammad Nazir bin Lep is captured in Bangkok. Encep Nuraman a.k.a. Hambali is captured in Ayutthaya, Thailand. They are both among the 14 captives held at CIA black sites and later Guantanamo (Source: ICRC report, p. 5). Their black site locations may include Diego Garcia (Source: Time)

August 13, 2003

August 21, 2003

  • 5 pages of handwritten notes from a CIA officer interviewing another CIA officer, and discussing proposed interrogation techniques. (Source: Vaughn index)

August 22, 2003

  • Death of EPW from heat stroke, Iraq.

August 25, 2003

  • At Guantanamo, Mohamedou Ould Slahi is taken on a boat ride in an elaborate deception plan to make him think he has been transferred elsewhere.

August 26, 2003

  • 15 pages of handwritten notes from a CIA officer interviewing another CIA officer, and discussing proposed interrogation techniques. (Source: Vaughn index)

August 28, 2003

  • After more than a year in a dark grave-like cell in Damascus, Canadian Abdullah Almalki is transferred to another location. For ten days, he is put in a crowded holding cell with 25 other people. (Source: Almalki chronology)

August 31 to September 9, 2003

  • Major General Geoffrey Miller, commander of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, leads a survey team to plan intelligence, interrogation, and detention operations in Iraq.

September 2003

September 4, 2003

  • CIA issues a set of guidelines for acceptable treatment. (Source: CIA IG report, appendix; Spencer Ackerman)

September 5, 2003

  • A JPRA (SERE) training team arrives in Iraq.

September 6, 2003

  • Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld tours Abu Ghraib.
  • In Syria, Canadian Abdullah Almalki is transferred to Sednaya prison. Almalki and the other new arrivals are beaten on the soles of their feet. The torture is different than what Almalki has experienced: it is short and intense and does not involve questioning. For the first ten days, Almalki is held in a cold dark filthridden five by five cell. (Source: Almalki chronology)

September 9, 2003

  • General Miller delivers a set of recommendations for Iraq. Guantanamo Bay should be used as a baseline. Interrogation in Iraq should be consolidated in one place. MPs should work to set the conditions for interrogation.

September 11, 2003

  • DOJ declines to prosecute the handgun and power drill threats against Al-Nashiri, and turns the matter over to CIA for disposition. (Source: CIA IG report, p. 42)

September 12, 2003

  • A one page memo requesting legal advice is produced. The document will be discovered missing in 2009. (Source: Vaughn index)

September 14, 2003

  • General Ricardo Sanchez issues an interrogation policy for Iraq. The policy will be revised on October 12.

September 17, 2003

  • At Sednaya prison near Damascus, Canadian Abdullah Almalki is transferred to a better wing. He meets Mahar Arar there. (Source: Almalki chronology)

September 16, 2003

September 23 to 24, 2003

  • Abu Zubaydah, Abd al-Nashiri, Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Mustafa al-Hawasawi are transferred to Guantanamo, possibly in preparation for military trial. (Sources: AP, 8/2010; AP timeline)
    • al-Hawasawi had been picked up at the Salt Pit in Afghanistan.
    • Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was transferred from black sites in Szymany, Poland, to Bucharest, Romania.
    • The flight then stopped in Rabat, Morocco, before proceeding to Guantanamo.

October 2003

October 2, 2003

  • Canadian Ahmed Said Khadr is killed in a Pakastani army raid near the border in Waziristan. (Reports about his death on this date are conflicting.) (Source: Almalki chronology)

October 5, 2003

  • Mahar Arar is released from prison in Syria. He returns to Canada. (Source: Almalki chronology)

October 6, 2003

  • 11-pages of handwritten notes and cable summaries, from an interview with a CIA officer. (Source: Vaughn index)

October 7, 2003

  • At Abu Ghraib, three MI soldiers and a contract interpreter sexually assault two young female captives during a late-night interrogation. The soldiers have a service history at Bagram. (Source: Fay report)
  • 21-pages of handwritten notes describing an investigation into a classified intelligence operation. (Source: Vaughn index)
  • The ACLU makes a FOIA request for records concerning the treatment, death and rendition of overseas detainees in United States custody.

October 9, 2003

  • The International Committee of the Red Cross issues a statement about the deterioration in the psychological health of a large number of detainees at Guantanamo.

October 12, 2003

  • In Iraq, after an ICRC report, CJTF-7 issues a new interrogation policy, where techniques are less spelled out.

October 25, 2003

  • Multiple instances of abuse at Abu Ghraib.
    • From his cell, Kasim Hilas observes contract translator Adel Nakhla raping a 16-year-old male.
    • Detainee "Gus" is photographed being led on a leash by Lynndie England.
    • MI and MP soldiers abuse three captives who are photographed shackled naked on the floor.

October 26, 2003

  • At Abu Ghraib, Amjed Waleed is raped with an object in his cell. (Sources: Waleed; Mustafa; Hilas)

October 27, 2003

  • Car bomb attacks on International Committee of the Red Cross headquarters and three police stations in Baghdad.

November 2003

November 4, 2003

  • Manadel al-Jamadi dies during CIA interrogation at Abu Ghraib. He is badly beaten during and after capture by Navy Seals and the CIA. After being taken to Abu Ghraib, he dies hanging from his arms, shackled to a window bars in a shower room used for interrogations.
  • Abu Ghraib photo - The iconic photographs of detainee "Gilligan" are taken at Abu Ghraib.
  • Mahar Arar tells his story publicly for the first time. He talks about having seen Abdullah Almalki at Sednaya Prison, and about how badly he has been treated. (Source: Almalki chronology)
  • The Almalki family begins talking to media and pushing harder on the Canadian government. (Source: Almalki chronology)

November 6, 2003

  • Death by multiple blunt forces injuries at FOB Gereshk in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

November 7 to 9, 2003

  • At Abu Ghraib, seven detainees are abused in the "human pyramid" incident and following abuse.

November 18, 2003

  • Jack Goldsmith at OLC sends a memo to the DOD, concerning the Geneva Conventions and the detention and treatment of detainees in U.S. custody. (Source: Bradbury declaration)

November 22, 2003

  • Ibn Sheikh al-Libi is transferred Egypt to Bagram. (Source: ABC).

November 25, 2003

  • Email discussions providing background information on the interrogation tape destruction. (Source: Vaughn index; Discussion: emptywheel)

November 26, 2003

  • At al-Asad airbase in Anbar province, former Iraqi General Abed Hamed Mowhoush dies of asphyxiation after being stuffed head-first into a sleeping bag and wrapped with an electrical cord. His death follows several days of interrogation and beatings that included at least one CIA officer. (Sources: Wikipedia; LA Times, 1/20/2006; WaPo, 8/3/2005)
    • The military issues a statement. “Mowhoush said he didn’t feel well and subsequently lost consciousness.” “The soldier questioning him found no pulse, then conducted CPR and called for medical authorities. According to the on-site surgeon, it appeared Mowhouse died of natural causes.”

December 2003

December 12, 2003

  • Dog bite incident at Abu Ghraib.

Late December, 2003

  • The period for "standard" sleep deprivation is reduced from 72 to 48 hours. (Source: CIA IG report, p. 30)


January 2004

January 9, 2004

  • At al-Asad airbase in Anbar province, former Iraqi General Asad Abdul Kareem Abdul Jaleel dies of blunt force injuries and asphyxia. Jaleel dies while shackled to a doorframe, after beatings that had fractured most of his ribs and left a ring of bruises around his torso. (Sources: autopsy; Speigel TV, 5/15/2004)

January 13, 2004

  • Khaled al-Maqtari is captured in Fallujah and sent to Abu Ghraib. On his first night, he is suspended from his feet and bounced up and down on a chain and pulley contraption. He will spend nine days at Abu Ghraib, three months in a dark prison in Afghanistan, more than two years at a black site prison, perhaps in Europe, and some eight months in a jail in Yemen. (Source: Amnesty International)
  • At Abu Ghraib, SPC Joseph Darby leaves two CDs of abuse photos and videos in the room of CID investigators.
  • A 44-page memo, with attached emails and cables, commenting on a draft report relating to the CIA detention and interrogation program. (Source: Vaughn index)

January 19, 2004

  • General Ricardo Sanchez orders an investigation of the Abu Ghraib abuse.

January 22 or 23, 2004

  • Hassan Ghul is detained by Kurds. (Source: Fox)

January 31, 2004

  • General Taguba is appointed to conduct an investigation of MPs at Abu Ghraib.

February 2004

February 2, 2004

  • The CIA sends to DOJ a guide on HVD interrogation training and techniques. (Source: Vaughn index)

About February 4, 2004

  • Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi tells CIA debriefers that he had fabricated his story that Saddam Hussein's regime had helped train Al Qaeda in chemical and biological weapons, only after his Egyptian interrogators had crammed him into a tiny box for 17 hours. (Sources: Newsweek; ABC)

February 21, 2004

  • CIA produces a report, US Efforts Grinding Down al-Qa'ida. (Source: CAT memo, 5/30/2005, p. 6).

February 24, 2004

  • 129 page draft document and comments, regarding the review of the CIA's interrogation program. (Source: Vaughn index)

March 2004

  • In Iraq, a DOD interrogator pours water down the throat of Saleh Mukleif Saleh and another detainee held in a cuffed (and presumably backwards) kneeling position. Four FBI agents are present. (Source: DOJ IG report)
    • In early 2004 generally, Saleh is cuffed in a "scorpion" stress position, beaten, forced to drink water until he vomits, dragged across barbed wire, and subjected to loud music.
    • An FBI agent participates in blindfolding a detainee with duct tape.
  • March 2004 Afghanistan Policy. In Afghanistan, the DOD adds dietary manipulation, environmental manipulation, and false flag to the list of techniques, and relaxes prohibitions on hooding and stress positions. (Source: DOJ IG report)
  • Emails to supervisors from two military commissions prosecutors, Major Robert Preston and Captain John Carr, call the procedures rigged. (Source: ABC Australia)

March 1, 2004

  • Canadian Abdullah Almalki is transferred from Sednaya prison to another location. He is put in a crowded underground holding cell with up to twenty six people. (Source: Almalki chronology)

March 2, 2004

  • Scott Muller of the CIA OGC faxes to Jack Goldsmith at OLC a letter and bullet points about detention and interrogation legal standards. (See April 28, 2003 and June 16, 2003 for similar documents).
  • Jose Padilla is interrogated.
    • The tape of the interrogation will later disappear. (Source: Newsweek; Discussion: emptywheel)
    • Padilla’s lawyers will say that something happened during the interrogation that leads Padilla to believe that the lawyers are actually government agents. (Source: History Commons)
  • Jose Padilla is granted contact with his lawyers. He has been held in complete isolation in a 9x7 cell since June 9, 2002 (Source: Motion to dismiss). According to Newsweek, this is after the interrogation.

March 4, 2004

  • Haned Hassan Ahmad Guleed is captured in Djibouti. (Source: ICRC report, p. 5)

March 9, 2004

  • General Taguba submits his report on the abuse at Abu Ghraib.
  • The United States repatriates the "Tipton Three" and two other Britons from Guantanamo to England, where they are released without charge. (Source: BBC)

March 10, 2004

  • Abdullah Almalki is released from prison in Damascus. He is told he must stay for a year in Syria, and not discuss his torture. He manages to return to Canada in July. (Source: Almalki chronology)

March 11, 2004

  • 191 people are killed in coordinated bombing attacks on the Madrid commuter rail system.

March 12, 2004

  • CIA sends a fax to Jack Goldsmith at OLC. The fax seems to include information about Hassan Ghul. (Source: CAT memo, 5/30/2005, p. 6)

March 18, 2004

  • Jack Goldsmith at OLC sends a memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, asserting exceptions to Geneva Conventions protection for detainees in Iraq. Non-Iraqi members of al-Qaeda are not "protected persons."
  • A DIA-affiliated field interrogator chokes and kicks detainees during a raid on Miam Do village, Afghanistan. (Source: DIA referral)

March 19, 2004

  • Jack Goldsmith at OLC drafts a memo finding that the U.S. can remove some people from Iraq.

March 27, 2004

  • Guantanamo prisoners, including Ramzi bin al-Shibh, are transferred to the black site near Rabat, Morocco. The move from Guantanamo is ahead of the Rasul decision on Guantanamo rights. (Sources: AP, 8/2010; AP timeline)

March 30, 2004

  • The CIA Office of Inspector General refers a case to DOJ. (Source: DOJ IG report)

April 2004

April 23, 2004

  • OLC advises DOD that four techniques are lawful for use on a specific detainee at Guantanamo (Source: Goldsmith memo, 5/11/2004).
    • Pride and ego down
    • Mutt and Jeff
    • Reward and removal of privilege
    • Isolation for 60 days

April 28, 2004

  • Hamdi and Padilla are argued before the Supreme Court. Solicitor General Paul Clement assures the Court that we don't torture.
  • 60 Minutes II breaks the Abu Ghraib story. This proves that Clement is wrong (Source: emptywheel).

May 2004

After the Abu Ghraib scandal broke:

  • The FBI instructs its agents to report known or suspected abuse or mistreatment. (Source: DOJ IG report)
  • CIA counsel Scott Muller, NSC lawyer John Bellinger, OVP counsel David Addington, and White House counsel White House counsel Alberto Gonzales discuss the Abu Ghraib scandal at a meeting. Bellinger asks if the CIA has any photos that could cause a scandal, and is told about the torture tapes. Addington instructs Muller not to destroy the tapes, with the agreement of Bellinger and Gonzales. (Source: AP, 7/26/2010)

May 3, 2004

  • The New Yorker publishes photos of the abuse.

May 6, 2004

  • The FBI sends DOJ 91 pages of documents about interrogation. (Source: Vaughn index)

May 7, 2004

  • CIA IG Report - The CIA Inspector General produces the special review on counterterrorism and interrogation activities. The report finds torture program activities to be cruel and inhuman.
  • At Guantanamo, Mohammad Jawad undergoes 14 days of the "frequent flyer" sleep deprivation program. Jawad is not considered to possess any intelligence value, and he is not questioned or interrogated at or near this time. (Source: Defense closing argument; Discussion: Daphne Eviatar)

Around May 11, 2004

  • Two Defense Intelligence Agency interrogators observe and report abuse by Task Force 6-26 officers at a holding site in Baghdad, including burn marks. DIA photos of the abuse are confiscated, and the reporting interrogators are threatened. (Sources: DIA memo for record; DIA memo)

May 11, 2004

  • CIA OIG commences an investigation of allegations of impropriety in Iraq. (Source: CIA opposition memo, 1/10/2008)
  • Jack Goldsmith at OLC writes a memo for the files, "Advice to the Department of Defense on Interrogations." The memo notes that four techniques have been concluded to be lawful by the DOD working group:
    • Pride and ego down
    • Mutt and Jeff
    • Reward or removal of privilege
    • Isolation beyond thirty days

May 13, 2004

  • General Ricardo Sanchez issues a new interrogation policy for Iraq.

May 14, 2004

  • The Defense Intelligence Agency briefs Senate intelligence committee staffers on activities in Iraq. (Source: DIA email)
  • CIA sends to OLC a briefing document. (Source: Vaughn index)

May 18, 2004

  • Rene Lerner at OLC sends a memo to Bill Moschella at OLA, advising on legal approaches to the National Defense Reauthorization Act of 2005, which includes the McCain Amendment to ban torture.
  • DOD sends a memo to DOJ, requesting legal advice. (Source: Vaughn index)

May 19, 2004

  • Following the Abu Ghraib disclosures, FBI general counsel issues guidance for dealing with detainees. FBI agents must remove themselves from interrogations not according to FBI guidelines, even where co-interrogators are following the rules of their own agency. (Source: DOJ IG report)

May 25, 2004

  • Jack Goldsmith at OLC asks CIA inspector general John Helgerson for the opportunity to review the IG report before it is sent to Congress.

May 27, 2004

  • Jack Goldsmith at OLC sends a memo to Scott Muller at the CIA, discussing review of the IG report, and differences between factual assumptions in the approvals, and the actual practice of techniques, particularly waterboarding.

June 2004

June 3, 2004

June 4, 2004

June 8, 2004

  • The Washington Post discloses existence of the OLC torture memos.

June 10, 2004

  • Jack Goldsmith at OLC sends a letter to CIA general counsel Scott Muller, saying that CIA the "Legal Principles" document does not constitute an official OLC opinion. (See: March 2; Discussion: emptywheel)
  • Goldsmith memorializes a conversation with John Yoo about Yoo's advice to Bill Haynes in November and December 2002. (Sources: [4], p. 75; Vaughn index)

June 11, 2004

June 15, 2004

  • Jack Goldsmith at OLC informs John Ashcroft he will withdraw the Bybee Memo, and then resigns.
  • Guantanamo captive Martin Mubanga undergoes an intensive interrogation.

June 17, 2004

  • Document about policy support for the CIA's interrogation program. (Source: Vaughn index)
  • Jack Goldsmith at OLC announces his resignation, effective July 30.

June 18, 2004

  • Jack Goldsmith at OLC sends a memo to John Helgerson at CIA, requesting some modifications in the CIA IG report.
  • Navy inspector general Albert Church asks counsel Alberto Mora for a chronology of Navy OGC involvement in interrogation rules and procedures. Mora will reply on July 7.

June 21, 2004

  • Waterboarding exposed - Newsweek leaks the existence of waterboarding and "mock burial" techniques in the Bybee Two memo.
  • 4-page document commenting on the conclusions and recommendations of the OIG report. (Source: Vaughn index)

June 22, 2004

  • Bybee One withdrawn - Jack Goldsmith at OLC withdraws the Bybee One memo.
  • John Rizzo at CIA sends a copy of a July 13, 2002 OLC memo back to Patrick Philbin at OLC.
  • Guantanamo captive Martin Mubanga undergoes an intensive interrogation.

June 23, 2004

  • Jack Goldsmith at OLC sends a memo to CIA counsel Scott Muller, regarding transfers of protected persons, for a specific detainee identified as a member of Hizballah.

June 25, 2004

  • The Defense Intelligence Agency sends a report to Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen A. Cambone, reporting abuse by the task force devoted to capturing high-value targets in Iraq. (Source: WaPo, 12/8/2004)

June 28, 2004

  • Rasul - The Supreme Court issues a decision in Rasul v. Bush, the first detainee habeas corpus submission to have reached the court.
    • The court dismisses the argument that Guantanamo is beyond the reach of US law.
    • The court holds that the Executive Branch lacks the authority to deny captives access to the US justice system, and that the captives did have the right to initiate habeas corpus submissions.
    • The court holds that the Executive Branch was obliged to provide the captives with an opportunity to hear and attempt to refute whatever evidence had caused them to have been classified as "enemy combatants".
    • As a result, the Department of Defense will create the Combatant Status Review Tribunals.
  • Hamdi - The Supreme Court also issues a decision in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld. Hamdi is an American citizen classified as an “enemy combatant,” and held at the Charleston brig.
    • The court holds that due process demands that a citizen held in the United States as an enemy combatant be given a meaningful opportunity to contest the factual basis for that detention before a neutral decisionmaker.

June 29, 2004

  • OLC prepares a draft memo to CIA, confirming legal advice, which was initially given orally, on whether a detainee is considered a protected person if involved in counterterrorism activities and captured. (Source: Vaughn index)

July 2004

July 2, 2004

  • Scott Muller at CIA meets with Attorney General John Ashcroft and Deputy Attorney General James Comey, to discuss the use of interrogation techniques on CIA detainee Janat Gul. After the meeting, Ashcroft and Comey confer with Jack Goldsmith, leading to Goldsmith’s letter to Muller approving all of the techniques described in the Bybee memo except for waterboarding. (Sources: Goldsmith letter, 7/7/2004; Bybee response; Discussion: emptywheel.)
  • CIA sends a memo to OLC, about approval of techniques used on a specific detainee. (Source: Vaughn index)
  • CIA sends a memo to DOJ, about the CIA securing custody of a detainee, and interrogation methods. (Source: Vaughn index)
  • CIA OGC requests legal guidance from somebody at CIA, requesting legal guidance on the proposed interrogation of a specific detainee. (Source: Vaughn index)

July 7, 2004

  • CSRTs - Paul Wolfowitz at DOD issues an order establishing Combat Status Review Tribunals at Guantanamo. (press release; fact sheet)
    • The order applies to "enemy combatants" under military control at Guantanamo.
    • Detainees are assigned a non-lawyer personal representative from the military.
    • Records and witnesses are on a "reasonably available" standard.
    • The tribunals are not governed by courtroom rules of evidence.
  • CIA sends a memo to OLC, requesting finalization of a draft, instead of OLC's proposed summary substitute, regarding a proposed intelligence operation. (Source: Vaughn index)
  • Jack Goldsmith at OLC sends a letter to Scott Muller at CIA about conditions and approval of interrogation techniques on a specific unnamed detainee, likely Janat Gul.
  • Navy counsel Alberto Mora sends a memo to Vice Admiral Albert Church, giving a chronology of his objection to techniques. (Discussion: New Yorker)

July 14, 2004

  • In unclassified written testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, an Associate Deputy Attorney General explains OLC's Fifth Amendment “shocks the conscience” standard, and their view that Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment has no application to the treatment of detainees. (Source: SSCI narrative)
  • On July 14 and 15, OLC makes ten memos for the record on whether a captured member of a terrorist network is protected by international law. (Source: Vaughn index)

July 16, 2004

  • Jack Goldsmith at OLC memorializes previous advice about forcible versus voluntary transfers of protected persons from Iraq.

July 20, 2004

July 21, 2004

  • The Executive Office of the President sends legal advice to the DOJ. (Source: Vaughn index)
  • Binyan Mohamed is transferred from Morocco to the "dark prison" in Afghanistan. (Source: London Times)

July 22, 2004

July 23, 2004

  • Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan is arrested by Pakistani authorities.

July 25, 2004

  • Ahmed Khalafan Ghailani is captured in Gujarat, Pakistan. (Source: ICRC report, p. 5)

July 26, 2004

  • A revised Standard Operating Procedure for intelligence operations at Guantanamo is issued.
  • Draft response to the ICRC on the designation of the conflict in Afghanistan and its effect on the detention of enemy combatants. (Sources: Barron Vaughn index; Ronan declaration)

July 29, 2004

  • The Navy issues procedures for Combat Status Review Tribunals at Guantanamo.

July 30, 2004

  • CIA sends a memo to OLC, about interrogation techniques for a specific detainee. (Source: Vaughn index)
  • Jack Goldsmith serves his last day as OLC head. Dan Levin takes over as acting OLC head.

August 2004

August 2, 2004

  • John Rizzo at CIA sends a letter to Dan Levin at DOJ, describing proposed waterboarding of a detainee, presumably Hassan Ghul (Sources: DOJ letter, 8/6/2004; CAT memo, 5/30/2005; Discussion: emptywheel). A Vaughn index entry that seems to be about this document lists three pages as being blank.

August 6, 2004

  • Daniel Levin at DOJ sends a letter to John Rizzo at CIA, approving thirty days of waterboarding on a specific detainee. The detainee may be Hassan Ghul. (Discussion: emptywheel)

August 19, 2004

  • Letter to Daniel Levin detailing new limits on waterboarding. (Discussion: emptywheel)

August 25, 2004

  • A letter describes the interrogation of Hassan Ghul. This letter may be seeking approval of the second set of four techniques. (Source: CAT memo, 5/30/2005, p. 7; Discussion: emptywheel. The year of this letter is redacted in the source reference, but 2004 fits with other events.)
    • Interrogators sought and got approval for five techniques: attention grasp, walling, facial slap, wall standing, stress positions, and sleep deprivation.
    • They later concluded that "more subtle interrogation measures designed more to weaken [Gul's] physical ability and mental desire to resist interrogation over the long run are likely to be more effective." and seek authorization to use dietary manipulation, nudity, water dousing, and abdominal slap."

August 26, 2004

  • Dan Levin at OLC sends a letter to John Rizzo at CIA, authorizing four techniques on a specific detainee. The techniques are dietary manipulation, nudity, water dousing, and abdominal slaps. The detainee may be Hassan Ghul.

September 2004

September 6, 2004

  • OLC sends a letter to John Rizzo at CIA, approving use of twelve techniques on a specific detainee. The techniques are attention grasp, walling, facial hold, facial slap, cramped confinement, wall standing, stress positions, sleep deprivation, dietary manipulation, nudity, water dousing, and abdominal slap. The techniques of dietary manipulation, nudity, water dousing, and abdominal slaps seem to be newly introduced. (Discussion: emptywheel)

September 15, 2004

  • An Afghan judicial panel sentences Americans Jonathan Idema, Brent Bennett, and Edward Caraballo to jail terms for their role in torturing Afghans in a private jail.

September 19, 2004

  • Binyan Mohammed is transferred from Afghanistan to Guantanamo.

September 20, 2004

  • OLC sends a letter to John Rizzo at CIA, approving use of twelve techniques on a specific detainee. The techniques are attention grasp, walling, facial hold, facial slap, cramped confinement, wall standing, stress positions, sleep deprivation, dietary manipulation, nudity, water dousing, and abdominal slap. The detainee is perhaps Ahmed Ghailani (Source: WilliamOckham comment at FDL)

Unknown September 2004

  • Dan Levin at DOJ drafts a memo updating status of interrogation advice. (Discussion: emptywheel)

September 24, 2004

September 29, 2004

  • JPRA issues new guidance, against support for offensive purposes.

October 2004

October 1, 2004

  • Ramzi bin al-Shibh is flown from Morocco to Bucharest. The facility in Bucharest has six cells. (Source: AP timeline)

October 12, 2004

  • Human Rights Watch issues a report on CIA ghost prisoners, giving 11 by name.

October 25, 2004

  • OPR formally initiates an investigation relating to the Bybee memo. (Source: OPR Report, p. 5.)

November 2004

November 18, 2004

  • The International Committee of the Red Cross transmits an intervention report on undisclosed detention to U.S. authorities. (Source: ICRC report, 2/14/2007, p. 3)

December 2004

  • CIA sends a document to OLC, titled "OMS Guidelines on Medical and Psychological Support to Detainee Rendition, Interrogation and Detention". (Sources: CAT memo, 5/30/2005, p. 8; ACLU)

December 6, 2004

  • Dan Levin at OLC sends a memo to DAG Jim Comey, concerning communications between defense attorneys and detainees in combatant status review tribunals. (Source: Bradbury declaration)

December 30, 2004

  • Background paper - The CIA faxes a background paper to Dan Levin at OLC, providing generic descriptions of the rendition and interrogation process and the CIA’s combined use of various interrogation techniques.
"The goal of interrogation is to produce a state of learned helplessness and dependence conducive to the collection of intelligence".


January 2005

January 5, 2005

  • The CIA faxes Daniel Levin a new definition of High Value Detainee. See the CAT memo, 5/30/2005, p. 5, for a quote from the definition. (Source: Bradbury declaration)
  • The Washington Post discloses earlier infighting about detainee policies, centering on Alberto Gonzales and David Addington.

January 15, 2005

  • CIA sends DOJ a memo about medical and psychological support of the rendition, interrogation, and detention program. (Source: Vaughn index)

January 27 and 28, 2005

  • DOJ sends draft memos to CIA, regarding legality of proposed techniques on an al-Qaeda operative. (Source: Vaughn index)

January 31, 2005

  • OLC sends a draft memo to CIA, regarding legality of proposed techniques on an al-Qaeda operative. (Source: Vaughn index)

February 2005

  • Ramzi bin al-Shibh is "restrained on a bed, unable to move, for one month, February 2005, and subjected to cold air conditioning." (Source: ICRC)

February 3, 2005

February 4, 2005

  • Dan Levin at OLC sends a memo to DOD general counsel Jim Haynes. DOD had requested legal advice on an earlier OLC memo.

Unknown February, 2005

  • Dan Levin resigns his position at OLC.

March 2005

March 2, 2005

  • Effectiveness memo - CIA sends a memo to Steve Bradbury at OLC, Effectiveness of the CIA Counterintelligence Interrogation Techniques. (Source: CAT memo, 5/30/2005, p. 8)

April 2005

April 8, 2005

April 20, 2005

  • DOJ announces Jim Comey's resignation.

April 22, 2005

  • Patrick Philbin, Alberto Gonzales, Steven Bradbury and James Comey meet in the AG conference room. Comey expresses grave reservations about the combined effects opinion. Gonzales explains that he is under great pressure from Dick Cheney to release the memo. (Source: Comey email, 4/27/2005)
  • CIA sends a fax to Steven Bradbury at OLC. (Source: Combined memo, 5/10/2005; Discussion: emptywheel)
    • The document describes use of the waterboard in combination with other techniques, presumably dietary manipulation and sleep deprivation.
    • It references three occasions of edema in the lower limbs of detainees undergoing standing sleep deprivation.
  • Zacarias Moussaoui pleads guilty to terrorism conspiracy charges.

April 26, 2005

April 27, 2005

  • James Comey sends an email to Chuck Rosenberg, relating and memorializing the infighting about the draft combined effects memo and "severe physical suffering".

April 28, 2005

  • James Comey sends a second email to Chuck Rosenberg, further relating and memorializing the infighting about the draft combined effects memo.

May 2005

  • Jay Rockefeller requests documents relating to the CIA IG report, and the CIA OIG report on interrogation videotapes.

May 2, 2005

  • Abu Faraj al-Libbi is captured by Pakistani ISI in Mardan near Peshawar. Al-Libbi will be held at a black site and at Guantanamo. (Sources: ICRC report, p. 5; MSNBC; Time)

May 10, 2005

  • Techniques memo - Steven Bradbury at OLC sends John Rizzo at the CIA a memo about the Torture Statute and interrogation techniques. (Discussion: emptywheel)
    • A tracheotomy kit is now said to be present for waterboarding. (Discussion: drational)
  • Combined memo - Bradbury also sends Rizzo a memo specifically about the combined use of techniques. (Discussion: emptywheel)
    • Waterboarding is discussed in combination with dietary manipulation and sleep deprivation.

May 20, 2005

  • The New York Times publishes an exposé on the death of Dilawar at Bagram.

May 30, 2005

  • CAT memo - Steven Bradbury at OLC sends a memo to John Rizzo at CIA, asserting that enhanced interrogation techniques are consistent with Convention Against Torture standards. (Discussion: emptywheel I; II)
    • The memo asserts that, failing jurisdictional limitations, a "shocks the conscience" standard would apply
    • The memo says 28 detainees have been subject to the techniques.
    • The memo reports 83 uses of the waterboard on Abu Zubaydah in August 2002, and 183 uses of the waterboard on Khalid Sheik Mohammad in March 2003. (Source: emptywheel)

After May 30, 2005

  • Philip Zelikow at State circulates a memo opposing the legal reasoning in the CAT memo. The White House attempts to collect and destroy all copies of the memo.

June 2005

June 1, 2005

  • The CIA issues a report, "Detainee Reporting Pivotal for the War Against Al-Qa'ida."

July 2005

July 15, 2005

  • Omar al-Faruq and three other captives at Bagram reportly escape.

July 28, 2005

  • A hunger strike at Guantamo ends, on promises the U.S. would bring the prison into compliance with the Geneva conventions. It begins again on August 11. (Sources: Boston Globe)
  • Email from CIA attorney to client, about DNI John Negroponte's position, possibly new, on destruction of the videotapes. (Source: Vaughn index; Discussion: Newsweek)

August 2005

August 5, 2005

  • At Guantanamo, Hisham Sliti is beaten during an interrogation, including being hit with a chair and a mini-fridge. (Source: Wikipedia)

September 2005

October 2005

October 13, 2005

  • In a CIA reorganization, the National Clandestine Service is created, incorporating the Directorate of Operations.

October 24, 2005

  • Bradbury responses to questions for the record from senators, for his Assistant Attorney General nomination.

November 2005

November 2, 2005

November 3, 2005

  • District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema asks about videotapes of specific interrogations.
  • The Pentagon issues a new detention policy. (Source: Wilkerson testimony)
  • The CIA Office of Inspector General produces a report on the death of Manadal al-Jamaidi.

November 4, 2005

  • CIA clandestine service head Jose Rodriguez calls clandestine service lawyer Steven Hermes. Rodriguez asks whether he has the authority to order the torture tapes destroyed. Hermes says that Rodriguez does. (Source: AP, 7/26/2010)
  • Rodriguez then calls Counterterrorism Center lawyer Robert Eatinger, and asks if there is any legal requirement that the tapes be kept. Eatinger said there is not. (Source: AP, 7/26/2010)
  • Rodriguez tells CIA Thailand station chief Mike Winograd to request destruction of the tapes. (Source: AP, 7/26/2010)

November 5, 2005

  • Following the Rodriquez request, CIA Thailand station chief Mike Winograd requests destruction of the torture tapes. The justification given is that inspector general had completed its investigation, and McPherson had verified that the cables accurately summarized the tapes. (Source: AP, 7/26/2010)

November 7, 2005

  • The Supreme Court issues certiorari to hear Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.

November 8, 2005

  • CIA cables from the field to headquarters, requesting permission to destroy 92 videotapes. (Source: Vaughn index, pp. 5, 9)
  • CIA clandestine service head Jose Rodriguez sends Thailand his approval to destroy the torture tapes. He and his chief of staff are the only names on the cable, and the action is not notified to others. (Source: AP, 7/26/2010)

November 9, 2005

  • Videotapes destroyed - CIA orders the destruction of interrogation videotapes of two detainees. (Source: Vaughn index)
    • Clandestine service head Jose A. Rodriguez is involved in the destruction. (Discussion: Laura Rozen; Scott Horton; NYT, 12/8/2007; WaPo, 3/2/2009).
    • According to anonymous sources, the tapes show a CIA officer mugging and smiling for the camera in waterboarding videos. (Source: Laura Rozen)
    • CIA Thailand station chief Mike Winograd confirms destruction of the videotapes. (Sources: AP, 7/26/2010; Vaughn index)
  • 60 people are killed in coordinated bombings of three hotels in Amman, Jordan.
  • The New York Times exposes details of the CIA IG report, and its conclusion that the techniques appeared to constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

November 10, 2005

  • At CIA, Porter Goss and John Rizzo find out about destruction of the tapes. (Sources: AP, 7/26/2010)

November 14, 2005

  • CIA makes a court declaration, denying that the government has tapes of interrogations of a specific detainee. The government had successfully requested not to be required to reply about tapes for any detainee. (Source: DOJ)

November 18, 2005

  • ABC News reports on interrogation techniques, including waterboarding. The report discloses techniques in effect in Mid March 2002.

November 22, 2005

  • DOJ unseals an indictment against Jose Padilla. The federal indictment heads off a Supreme Court showdown over military detention policies. The charges are unrelated to any previous government allegations. (Sources: CNN; WaPo)

December 2005

December 1, 2005

  • John Yoo asserts, in debate, that the president can order the crushing of the testicles of a child. (Source: Youtube of the exchange)

December 18, 2005

  • Humand Rights Watch reports on detainees held at the Dark Prison in Afghanistan. (Source: New York Times, 12/18/2005)

December 21, 2005

  • Senators Lindsey Graham and Jon Kyl insert a colloquy into the Congressional Record, faked to appear live, establishing "legislative history" that Congress is aware the Detainee Treatment Act would strip the Supreme Court of jurisdiction to hear pending cases including Hamdan. (Source: Slate)
  • The Detainee Treatment Act passes Congress.

December 30, 2005

  • President George Bush signs the Detainee Treatment Act.
    • Section 1002 specifies the U.S. Army Field Manual for Human Intelligence Collector Operations as a uniform standard for detainee treatment.
    • Section 1003 protects all captives from cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment.
    • Section 1004 helps to immunize officials from accountability for violations.
    • Section 1005 sets Combatant Status Review Tribunals and Administrative Review Boards as exclusive remedy for challenging status. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has exclusive, but limited, jurisdiction to hear appeals. Subsequent captives are restricted from initiating habeas corpus submissions.



January 2006

January 3, 2006

  • The Supreme Court grants an administration request to transfer Jose Padilla from military to civilian custody. Padilla is transferred to a federal prison in Miami to face criminal conspiracy charges.

January 21, 2006

  • A military jury convicts Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer of negligent homicide in the death of General Abed Hamed Mowhoush in Iraq.

February 2006

March 2006

March 28, 2006

  • The Supreme Court hears arguments in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld.

April 2006

April 18, 2006

  • The International Committee of the Red Cross transmits an intervention report on undisclosed detention to U.S. authorities. (Source: ICRC report, 2/14/2007, p. 3)

April 20, 2006

  • The CIA fires officer Mary McCarthy, presumably on suspicion of having shared classified information with journalists, including Dana Priest at the Washington Post. (Source: WaPo)

May 2006

May 18, 2006

  • At Guantanamo, two detainees try to commit suicide with hoarded medication, and six detainees are injured in a "melee" with guards. (Source: WaPo, 5/19/2006)

May 19, 2006

  • The UN Committee Against Torture publishes a report about U.S. black site and rendition practices.

May 26, 2006

  • A draft detainee policy is circulated at the White House. (Source: routing sheet)

June 2006

June 6, 2006

  • The Pentagon announces a change in policy, and will now use psychologists but not psychiatrists in the behavioral science consultation teams that assist interrogations. This follows from a vote at the American Psychiatric Association that discourages members from participating in the efforts. (Source: NYT)

June 9, 2006

  • At Guantanamo, Shaker Aamer undergoes a brutal interrogation while strapped to a chair. Aamer is choked and masked to prevent him from screaming. (Source: Declaration)

June 10, 2006

  • 12:20 to 12:45 a.m. - At Guanatanamo, three detainees are discovered dead in their cells. The official cause of death is suicide by hanging. (Source: Seton Hall report; Discussion: emptywheel; Glenn Greenwald Scott Horton I II)

June 29, 2006

  • The Supreme Court announces its decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld. The Court holds that President George W. Bush does not have authority to set up war crimes tribunals, and finds the special military commissions illegal under both military justice law and the Geneva Convention.

June 30, 2006

  • After Hamdan, Steve Bradbury at OLC orally advises CIA general counsel John Rizzo that conditions of confinement at CIA black sites are allowable under Common Article 3. The advice will be formalized on August 31.

July 2006

July 7, 2006

  • Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England issues a memo acknowledging the Hamdan decision. The memo asserts that aside from military commissions, DOD policies are in line with Common Article 3.

August 2006

August 6, 2006

  • CIA contractor David Passaro is convicted of assault in the June 2003 beating death of Abdul Wali. (Source: AP)

August 31, 2006

  • OLC sends a memo to John Rizzo at CIA, claiming that conditions of confinement at CIA black sites are allowable under the Detainee Treatment Act.
  • OLC also sends a letter to John Rizzo, claiming that conditions of confinement at CIA black sites are allowable under Common Article 3.
  • The memo and letter both address six confinement conditions:
    • Blindfolding.
    • Isolation.
    • White noise.
    • Constant lighting.
    • Shackling.
    • Forced grooming.

September 2006

September 5, 2006

September 6, 2006

  • The President publicly admits to the existence of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. He discloses that fourteen high value detainees have been transferred from black sites to Guantanamo. (Source: WaPo, 9/7/2006)
    • About 30 other CIA "ghost prisoners" are unaccounted for. (Source: WaPo, 10/27/2007)
    • ToDo: Two other transfers to Guantanamo. At this time and not disclosed, or done later? (Source: Hilton declaration, 9/17/2009)

After September 6, 2006

  • FBI "clean teams" are used to re-interrogate high value detainees now held at Guantanamo, previously at black sites. (Source: WaPo)

September 7, 2006

  • The Department of Defense gives a press briefing on the new field manual and detention policies. (Discussion: Valtin)

October 2006

October 6, 2006

  • ICRC officials interview the fourteen high value detainees during a one week visit to Gitmo.

October 17, 2006

  • Military Commissions Act - President George Bush signs the United States Military Commissions Act of 2006, passed by Congress on September 29.
    • The President is authorized to establish military commission for trial of violations of the law of war. Rights to speedy trial, against self incrimination, and UCMJ procedures for pretrial investigation are specified not to apply. Geneva Conventions rights may not be invoked. Habeas corpus rights are denied.
    • The commissions have jurisdiction over "alien unlawful enemy combatants".
    • The act amends and restricts the War Crimes Act, listing nine specific grave breaches of Common Article 3.
    • Section 7 of the law will be found unconstitutional in Al Odah v. United States.

November 2006

December 2006

December 4, 2006

  • ICRC officials interview 14 detainees during a ten day visit to Gitmo.


January 2007

February 2007

February 14, 2007

  • The International Committee of the Red Cross delivers a report on treatment of high value detainees to John Rizzo at CIA. The New York Review of Books will publish a leaked version of the report in April 2009.
"The allegations of ill-treatment of the detainees indicate that, in many cases, the ill-treatment to which they were subjected while held in the CIA program, either singly or in combination, constituted torture. In addition, many other elements of the ill-treatment, either singly or in combination, constituted cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment."

March 2007

March 10, 2007

  • CSRT hearing for Khalid Sheik Mohammed. Mohammed admits to responsibility for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, 9/11, the murder of Daniel Pearl, assassination attempts or plots on Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Pope John Paul the second, and Pervez Musharaf, terrorist plots against the Library Tower, the Sears Tower, the Empire State Building, the Panama Canal, Heathrow Airport, Big Ben, and an oil company owned by Henry Kissenger, and numerous other plots.

March 14, 2007

  • CSRT hearing for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

March 26, 2007

  • David Hicks is the first person prosecuted by military commission. By pre-trial agreement, he is given an effective sentence of nine months in exchange for his guilty plea and compliance with other conditions. The sentence is served in Australia.

March 27, 2007

April 2007

April 15, 2007

May 2007

May 25, 2007

June 2007

June 4, 2007

  • Military tribunals dismiss charges against Omar Khadr and Salim Ahmed Hamdan. Both dismissals hinge on "enemy combatant" status, with tribunal jurisdiction under the Military Commissions Act restricted to "unlawful enemy combatants."
    • Khadr's charges will be reinstated in September, after the Court of Military Commission Review overturns the dismissal.
    • Hamdan will be redesignated an "illegal enemy combatant" in December.

June 10, 2007

  • Three Guantanamo captives commit suicide.

June 19, 2007

  • The Senate holds confirmation hearings for John Rizzo as CIA counsel.

July 2007

July 20, 2007

  • Steven Bradbury at OLC sends a memo to John Rizzo at CIA, authorizing dietary manipulation, sleep deprivation with diapers, and four physical techniques. The memo discusses the techniques under the cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment portion of the War Crimes Act. (Discussion: balkinization; Spencer Ackerman).
  • President George Bush issues an executive order, specifying limited compliance with the Geneva Conventions in the treatment of al Qaeda and Taliban captives held by the CIA, and asserts presidential authority to interpret the meaning and application of the conventions.

August 2007

August 16, 2007

  • Jose Padilla is found guilty on all counts of conspiracy.

August 23, 2007

September 2007

September 7, 2007

  • CIA Director Michael Hayden speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations, defending legality and careful review of interrogation policy. (Discussion: Scott Horton)

September 13, 2007

  • CIA informs DOJ of the discovery of an interrogation videotape (Source: DOJ). The interrogation tape is of Ramzi bin al-Shibh (Source: emptywheel)

September 25, 2007

  • CIA email about Abu Zubaydah tapes, and videotape review and retention. (Source: Vaughn index)

October 2007

October 25, 2007

  • DOJ attorneys inform judges Karen Williams and Leonie Brinkema that they've discovered three interrogation tapes.

October 27, 2007

  • Email between CIA officers, approving destruction of interrogation tapes. Source: (Vaughn index)

November 2007

November 6, 2007

November 7, 2003

December 2007

December 3, 2007

  • CIA traffics emails reviewing a possible public statement about the destruction of the interrogation videotapes. (Source: Vaughn index)

December 6, 2007

  • The New York Times reports that CIA destroyed interrogation videotapes.
  • CIA director Michael Hayden acknowledges the destruction of the videotapes in a statement to CIA employees.

December 7, 2007

  • White House off-the-record leakers point fingers at Jose A. Rodriguez for the videotape destruction. (Source: Scott Horton; Discussion: History Commons)

December 8, 2007

  • DOJ National Security Division and the CIA Office of Inspector General open a preliminary investigation into the destruction of the interrogation videotapes. (Source: DOJ announcement, 1/2/2008)

December 10, 2007

  • Former CIA officer John Kiriakou claims that waterboarding broke Zubaydah in less than 35 seconds. (Discussion: Spencer Ackerman)
  • CIA trip report memo for the record about the destroyed interrogation videotapes, associated with the IG special review. (Sources: Vaughn index; Hilton declaration)


January 2008

January 2, 2008

January 7, 2008

  • CIA email and 12 pages of notes about the destroyed interrogation videotapes. (Source: Vaughn index)

February 2008

February 5, 2008

  • CIA Director Michael Hayden testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee. He admits that waterboarding was used by the CIA, and names three victims: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

February 14, 2008

  • Steven Bradbury of the OLC testifies before the House Judiciary Committee. He admits that the CIA's use of waterboarding was adapted from the SERE program.

March 2008

March 31, 2008

  • The March 14, 2003 torture memo is declassified. (Discussion: Dawn Johnson)

April 2008

May 2008

May 13, 2008

  • DOD announces that the Convening Authority for military commissions has dismissed charges against Mohamed al-Khatani.

May 20, 2008

  • The DOJ Inspector General releases a report on FBI involvement in interrogations at Guantanamo, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

May 29, 2008

  • Major David Frakt, defense counsel at Guantanmo, makes a report of law of armed conflict violations and torture in the treatment of Mohammed Jawad.

June 2008

June 12, 2008

  • Boumediene and Al Odah - The Supreme Courts issues a decision in Boumediene v. Bush and Al Odah v. United States. The court holds that the prisoners have a right to the habeas corpus under the Constitution, and that the Military Commissions Act is an unconstitutional suspension of that right.

June 18, 2008

  • The House Judiciary Committee holds the first session of a hearing on administration development of legal rules for interrogation and detention.

June 26, 2008

  • * The House Judiciary Committee holds the second session of a hearing on administration development of legal rules for interrogation and detention.

July 2008

August 2008

August 6, 2008

  • A military tribunal convicts Salim Hamdan on five charges of material support for terrorism. He is acquitted on five other charges. (Discussion: Balkinization)

September 2008

Late Fall 2008

October 2008

October 6, 2008

October 21, 2008

  • Military commissions convening authority Susan Crawford drops charges against five Guantanamo captives. (Source: Reuters)
    • Binyan Mohammad.
    • Jabran al Qahtani, Ghassan al Sharbi, and Sufyian Barhoumi. Identical charge sheets for the three from 2005 had referenced Abu Zubaydah. 2008 charge sheets had the Abu Zubaydah references omitted. (Discussion: Wikipedia)
    • Noor Uthman Muhammed.

November 2008

November 20, 2008

  • The Senate Armed Services Committee publishes a report, "Inquiry into the Treatment of Detainees in US Custody". The report will be released in April 2009.

December 2008

December 23, 2008


January 2009

January 15, 2009

  • Jack Goldsmith at OLC writes an administration turnover memo for the files on the status of OLC opinions. The memo lists nine memos that should not be treated as authoritative.
    • March 13, 2002 Bybee.
    • April 8, 2002 Philbin.
    • June 27, 2002 Yoo (previously withdrawn).
    • August 1, 2002 Bybee (previously withdrawn).
    • March 14, 2003 Yoo.
    • January 22, 2002 Bybee.

January 20, 2009

  • Barack Obama takes the oath of office as 44th President of the United States.

January 22, 2009

  • Obama executive orders - President Barack Obama issues three executive orders, setting out new interrogation and detention policies and rolling back Bush administration policies.
    • Review and Disposition of Individuals Detained at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and Closure of Detention Facilities.
      • Detention facilities at Guantanamo will be closed within one year.
      • All Guantanamo detentions will be reviewed.
      • Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions will apply at Guantanamo.
    • Review of Detention Policy Options.
      • A task force is set up to review detention policies.
    • Ensuring Lawful Interrogations.
      • Executive Order 13440 of July 20, 2007, is revoked.
      • Common Article 3 is invoked as a minimum baseline standard.
      • All interrogations are to fall under Army Field Manual 2 22.3
      • Bush-era DOJ opinions may not be relied on.
      • CIA black sites are to be closed.
      • A task force on interrogation policies is set up.

February 2009

February 23, 2009

  • Binyan Mohamed is released from Guantanamo, and repatriated to the U.K.

March 2009

April 2009

April 15, 2009

April 16, 2009

  • Some details of the interrogation and detention program are declassified. (Source: Hilton declaration, 9/17/2009)
  • Four memos released.

April 21, 2009

  • The Senate Armed Services Committee releases their November 2008 report, "Inquiry into the Treatment of Detainees in US Custody".

April 30, 2009

June 2009

June 11, 2009

  • David Barron at OLC sends Attorney General Eric Holder a memo officially withdrawing the July 20, 2007 memo on dietary manipulation and other techniques.

September 2011

September 21, 2011

Rumsfeld Stripped Of Immunity In Torture Case

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