Ex-Pentagon Lawyers Face Inquiry on Interrogation Role
WASHINGTON — Senior Pentagon lawyers played a more active role than previously known in developing the aggressive interrogation techniques approved for use in 2002 at the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, according to officials familiar with a Senate investigation.
Investigators with the Senate Armed Services Committee have found documents from July 2002 showing that Pentagon lawyers working for William J. Haynes II, then the Defense Department general counsel, gathered information about a program used to train American pilots to withstand captivity, according to the officials.
Some of the techniques used in the program were later approved for use on prisoners in American military custody.
It has been known for some time that Mr. Haynes played a role in recommending that Donald H. Rumsfeld, who was then the defense secretary, approve interrogation techniques beyond what military interrogators were normally authorized to use, which Mr. Rumsfeld did in December 2002.
But the timing of the Pentagon requests for information earlier that year suggest that senior Pentagon lawyers played an active role in developing the aggressive interrogation program.
The military was never authorized to carry out interrogations as aggressive as those approved for use by the C.I.A., which until the end of 2003 included water boarding. The harshest techniques that Mr. Rumsfeld approved in December 2002 were rescinded by him a month later, but Pentagon investigations have found that some were later used without authorization in combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.