Notes On The United States And Torture

§ 2340. Definitions
As used in this chapter—
(1) “torture” means an act committed by a person acting under the color of law specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering incidental to lawful sanctions) upon another person within his custody or physical control;
(2) “severe mental pain or suffering” means the prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from—
(A) the intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;
(B) the administration or application, or threatened administration or application, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;
(C) the threat of imminent death; or
(D) the threat that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality; and
(3) “United States” means the several States of the United States, the District of Columbia, and the commonwealths, territories, and possessions of the United States.

“On that particular quote, that people were transferred for purposes of torture, that was not the policy of the United States.”
– CIA Director-designate Leon Panetta to Senator Kit Bond, February 7, 2009

“You cannot be making statements or making judgments based on rumors and news stories.”
– Senator Kit Bond to Leon Panetta regarding allegations of extraordinary rendition for the purposes of torture

“Okay. We’ll want to talk with you some more about that in a classified kind of fashion.”
– Senator Ron Wyden, in response to Leon Panetta’s assertion that the United States had carried out extraordinary rendition for the purposes of torture

“‘If you don’t violate someone’s human rights some of the time, you probably aren’t doing your job,’ said one official who has supervised the capture and transfer of accused terrorists.”

“According to one official who has been directly involved in rendering captives into foreign hands, the understanding is, ‘We don’t kick the —- out of them. We send them to other countries so they can kick the —- out of them.’ Some countries are known to use mind-altering drugs such as sodium pentathol, said other officials involved in the process.”
– The Washington Post, December 26, 2002

“In our view, Congress may no more regulate the President’s ability to detain and interrogate enemy combatants than it may regulate his ability to direct troop movements on the battlefield.”

“We conclude that the War Crimes Act does not apply to the interrogation of al Qaeda and Taliban detainees because, as illegal belligerents, they do not qualify for the legal protections under the Geneva or Hague Conventions that section 2441 enforces.”
– Memorandum for William J. Haynes IT, General Counsel of the Department of Defense

“‘If the president deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?’
‘No treaty,’ replied John Yoo, the former Justice Department official who wrote the crucial memos justifying President Bush’s policies on torture, ‘war on terror’ detainees and domestic surveillance without warrants.”
– Salon’s Sidney Blumenthal, 2006

“Whatever was done as part of a CIA program at the time that it was done was the subject of a Department of Justice opinion through the Office of Legal Counsel and was found to be permissible under the law as it existed then.

“For me to use the occasion of the disclosure that that technique was once part of the CIA program — an authorized part of the CIA program, would be for me to tell anybody who relied, justifiably, on a Justice Department opinion that not only may they no longer rely on that Justice Department opinion, but that they will now be subject to criminal investigation for having done so.”
– Attorney General Michael Mukasey, February, 2008