Now that President Obama has released the controversial memos, what have we learned about the CIA's interrogation methods? While many of the torture techniques were previously described in other media reports, the tactics described are nonetheless shocking in their ruthlessness and detail. Among the lowlights:
- Interrogators were allowed to keep detainees awake for up to 11 days straight in order to break their will.
- Detainees could be doused with ice-cold water from a hose. Waterboarding, a technique that has been acknowledged by the government as torture, could be performed for no longer than 40 seconds at a time.
- One approved, but never used, tactic: placing harmless insects in a box with al Qaeda official Abu Zabaydah, who was scared of bugs, and telling him they were dangerous and would sting him.
- Prisoners could be slapped in the face or stomach. "Walling" was also permitted, in which detainees were slammed into walls by their collar. The walls were flexible so as not to do physical damage and the technique was intended more for intimidation.
- Detainees were shackled naked or with a diaper for long stretches. Clothing and food could be withheld as a bargaining chip.
- Memo included specific "stress positions" to cause extreme discomfort over long periods of time, like sitting on the floor with legs extended and arms raised over one's head.