CIA interrogation manuals written in the 1960s and 1980s described “coercive techniques” such as those used to mistreat detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, according to the declassified documents posted today by the National Security Archive. The Archive also posted a secret 1992 report written for then Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney warning that U.S. Army intelligence manuals that incorporated the earlier work of the CIA for training Latin American military officers in interrogation and counterintelligence techniques contained “offensive and objectionable material” that “undermines U.S. credibility, and could result in significant embarrassment.”
The two CIA manuals, “Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual-1983” and “KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation-July 1963,” were originally obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the Baltimore Sun in 1997. The KUBARK manual includes a detailed section on “The Coercive Counterintelligence Interrogation of Resistant Sources,” with concrete assessments on employing “Threats and Fear,” “Pain,” and “Debility.” The language of the 1983 “Exploitation” manual drew heavily on the language of the earlier manual, as well as on Army Intelligence field manuals from the mid 1960s generated by “Project X”–a military effort to create training guides drawn from counterinsurgency experience in Vietnam.
Recommendations on prisoner interrogation included the threat of violence and deprivation and noted that no threat should be made unless the questioner “has approval to carry out the threat.” The interrogator “is able to manipulate the subject’s environment,” the 1983 manual states, “to create unpleasant or intolerable situation, to disrupt patterns of time, space, and sensory perception.”
After Congress began investigating reports of Central American atrocities in the mid 1980s, particularly in Honduras, the CIA’s “Human Resource Exploitation” manual was hand edited to alter passages that appeared to advocate coercion and stress techniques to be used on prisoners. CIA officials attached a new prologue page on the manual stating: “The use of force, mental torture, threats, insults or exposure to inhumane treatment of any kind as an aid to interrogation is prohibited by law, both international and domestic; it is neither authorized nor condoned”–making it clear that authorities were well aware these abusive practices were illegal and immoral, even as they continued then and now.
Indeed, similar material had already been incorporated into seven Spanish-language training guides. More than a thousand copies of these manuals were distributed for use in countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala, Ecuador and Peru, and at the School of the Americas between 1987 and 1991. An inquiry was triggered in mid 1991 when the Southern Command evaluated the manuals for use in expanding military support programs in Colombia.
In March 1992 Cheney received an investigative report on “Improper Material in Spanish-Language Intelligence Training Manuals.” Classified SECRET, the report noted that five of the seven manuals “contained language and statements in violation of legal, regulatory or policy prohibitions” and recommended they be recalled. The memo is stamped: “SECDEF HAS SEEN.”
The Archive also posted a declassified memorandum of conversation with a Southern Command officer, Major Victor Tise, who was responsible for assembling the Latin American manuals at School of the Americas for counterintelligence training in 1982. Tise stated that the manuals had been forwarded to DOD headquarters for clearance “and came back approved but UNCHANGED.” (Emphasis in original)
Follow the link below to view the documents: