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CIA torture program violated agency’s explicit rules on ‘human experimentation’, report says

Published 15/06/2015

Report accused the CIA of going far beyond even those 'enhanced techniques' that were authorised by the Justice Department
Report accused the CIA of going far beyond even those 'enhanced techniques' that were authorised by the Justice Department

The Central Intelligence Agency conducted its torture campaign of terror suspects despite having explicit rules on “human experimentation” before, during and after that torture took place.

A recently declassified document shows that the CIA’s director had the power to “approve, modify, or disapprove all proposals pertaining to human subject research”. The Guardian published the document, obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union, on Monday.

That caveat gives the CIA’s director — who has never in the agency’s history been a medical doctor — significant power over how the US government handles procedures on people.

CIA regulations require informed consent from subjects before any human experimentation can occur.

“The CIA shall not sponsor, contract for, or conduct research on human subjects except in accordance with guidelines issued by the Department of Health and Human Services,” the agency’s regulations read.

“The subject’s informed consent shall be documented as required by those guidelines.”

The publication of the previously classified CIA document has raised questions about how the spy agency could have conducted its torture campaign — what the CIA calls “enhanced interrogation techniques — if it’s required to obtain informed consent.

“Crime one was torture. The second crime was research without consent in order to say it wasn’t torture,” Nathaniel Raymond, a former war-crimes investigator with Physicians for Human Rights and now a Harvard researcher, told The Guardian.

This revelation has reopened the debate over CIA torture after 9/11. Last year, the US Senate Intelligence Committee released a report that said the CIA deceived US government officials and the public by insisting that brutal tactics, including water-boarding, physical abuse and isolation, helped to gather intelligence which saved lives.

The report also said that the CIA's own records fail to back up the agency's claims.


Further reading

May: I did not request redactions

Call for probe into UK's alleged role in CIA torture scandal

British may have known about CIA torture, says peer

Hooded men case was used to justify CIA torture: Memo  

Robert Fisk: CIA torture report, Noam Chomsky and Dick 'Dark Side' Cheney

CIA torture: these depravities are not going to infuriate the Muslim world – because they have been enraged about these crimes for years  

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