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Defense Department News Briefing on Detainee Policies

CQ Transcripts Wire
Wednesday, September 6, 2006 4:58 PM

SEPTEMBER 6, 2006

SPEAKERS: CULLY STIMSON, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR DETAINEE AFFAIRS

LIEUTENANT GENERAL JOHN KIMMONS (USA), ARMY DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF FOR INTELLIGENCE

BRYAN WHITMAN, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS

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WHITMAN: Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us. Our briefers today, I think you're familiar with, but it's Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs Cully Stimson and Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence Lieutenant General John Kimmons.

They're here today to brief you on two documents that the department is releasing today. The first is the Defense Department directive for detainee programs, and the second is the Army field manual for human intelligence collector operations.

We have a limited amount of time, so I'd like to keep it to those two topics. They have brief introductions to introduce the manuals to you, and then we'll take some questions. But they do have another engagement. I know we started a little late. So I'll get out of here and turn it over to Mr. Stimson, who will start with the directive.

STIMSON: Good afternoon, everybody. My name is Cully Stimson. I'm the deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs.

Today I'm pleased to announce the revised and re-issued DOD directive 2310.01E -- or echo -- entitled "The Department of Defense Detainee Program."

This revised directive provides the overarching DOD policy guidance on detention operations conducted by DOD worldwide. This directive, which I'll refer to as 2310, represents the culmination of over a year of discussion and debate within the department and the U.S. government in developing a solid foundation upon which to build future detention operations policy.

It represents the considered effort of many people in the United States government and the various components of the Department of Defense. It reaffirms our commitment in DOD to treat humanely those individuals under DOD control.

The revision of 2310 took time, and it took time because it was important to get it right, and we did get it right.

This directive historically has defined how the department conducts detention operations in a traditional war. The revised version, the version before you today, sets forth the policies and responsibilities for all detention operations conducted by DOD, but provides the flexibility we need to fight any foe, while, as I said, affirming the values and practices that are at the heart of what we do.

STIMSON: This directive is the cornerstone of DOD detention policy. And that's important to understand. The Army Field Manual, for instance, falls under this DOD directive.

It sets out policy guidance for all DOD detention operations that is necessary and appropriate to ensure the safe, secure and humane detention of enemy combatants, both lawful and unlawful, regardless of the nature of the conflict.

It consolidates existing direction and instructions of the president and the secretary of defense and incorporates the lessons we have learned over the past few years in waging the global war on terror.

It does so in a number of ways: It incorporates key policy changes recommended in the 12 major investigations conducted by DOD over the past two years. In fact, by publishing this document and the Army Field Manual, we will have addressed over 95 percent of the recommendations from those 12 major investigations since Abu Ghraib.

I want to highlight five key elements of 2310. First and foremost, the directive describes the core policies that this department believes are critical in ensuring that all detainees are treated humanely and that the laws pertaining to detainee care and treatment are implemented.

It incorporates the prohibitions against cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment of the Detainee Treatment Act and articulates, for the first time in DOD history, a minimum standard for the care and treatment of all detainees.

These minimum standards of care and treatment can be found in Enclosures 3 and 4. Enclosure 3, which you should have in front of you and on the screen, contains the text of Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, verbatim.

Enclosure 4 contains other requirements of the law of war we believe, as a department, are essential to ensure humane care and treatment of all detainees.

Taken together, this is the baseline standard for care and treatment for all detainees in the custody and control of the Department of Defense.

In addition to the baseline standard of care and treatment articulated in those two enclosures, some detainees, obviously those such as enemy prisoners of war or others with protected status in the Geneva Conventions, are entitled to additional protections.

STIMSON: However, we sought to ensure that in this global war on terrorism, even when fighting unconventional forces, the department articulated a minimum standard of care for all detainees.

There are prohibitions in this directive, and they are as follows: Obviously, as I'd said before, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment; outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment; murder; torture; corporal punishment; mutilation; taking of hostages; collective punishments; execution without trial by proper authority; threats or acts of violence, including rape or forced prostitution; assault and thefts; public curiosity; bodily injury; and reprisals.

Additional prohibitions include being subjected to medical or scientific experiments and being subjected to sensory deprivation.

The standard of humane treatment articulated in this directive reflects U.S. law and policy, and provides detainees protections that reflect our values as Americans.

And I'll tell you that, in my opinion, that our armed forces are doing a superb job handling detainees and the standard of care and treatment that appears in this directive is actually second nature to them. And I should commend them for the good job that they're doing.

Number two, this directive reinforces the requirement to account for detainees by stating our policy to properly and timely register detainees. And, in that context, it reaffirms our policy that the ICRC plays an important role in DOD detention operations.

Number three, it requires that all persons subject to this directive report possible, suspected or alleged violations of the law of war or our detention operations laws, regulations or policy. DOD has and we will continue to hold accountable those who violate the laws or our detention policies.

Fourth, it assigns responsibilities to components within DOD.

STIMSON: For instance, the undersecretary of defense for policy, or USDP, is responsible for policy oversight of the DOD detention program. DOD components are required to work with policy to ensure review, coordination of and approval of implementing policy or guidance. In other words, everything flows into policy where I work.

It really re-designates the Army as the executive agent who, under this directive, is charged with ensuring that policies and procedures are developed, and is also charged with ensuring that they are working properly and being carried out.

The directive provides guidances to the combatant commander. It gives them the guidance they need to promulgate their theater-specific procedures and policies to ensure the safe, secure and humane detention of combatants, be they lawful and unlawful enemy combatants, or regular forces detained in traditional international armed conflicts.

Also, the directive assigned responsibilities among several of the other undersecretaries of defense for things such as medical policy development, ensuring our contracts; include provisions regarding detainee operations, for contractors operating at DOD detention facilities, training and instruction of those participating in detention operations and, finally, intelligence-gathering operations. And that list is by no means exhaustive. You can read the directive yourself.

Fifth and finally, this directive provides the key policy guidance needed for detention operations. And I will note that the Army is currently revising the joint service publication on detention operations, which around here is called AR-8.

As the DOD executive agent for administration of detention operations, it is the secretary of the Army's responsibility to develop regulations, training, tactics, techniques and procedures for the conduct of detention operations.

Likewise, the Joint Chiefs of Staff are revising appropriate instructions to ensure implementation of 2310 in joint operations.

Now, when this process is complete, we will have revised, from top to bottom, detention operations policy within DOD. So we have accomplished a lot today by publishing 2310.

It reflects the lessons we have learned in the GWAT (ph) and Iraq. It complies with the requirements of the law. It unambiguously articulates the values and traditions of our nation, values that John Adams called the policy of humanity, which has been the cornerstone of the American ethos of warfare.

More importantly, it provides our forces in the field the policy guidance needed to ensure the safe, secure and humane detention during armed conflicts however those are characterized.

Now, I'll turn the podium over to General "Jeff" Kimmons for his prepared remarks regarding the Army Field Manual.

KIMMONS: Good morning. I'm Lieutenant General "Jeff" Kimmons on the Army G-2 senior intelligence officer within the Army.

I will tell you that, by way of following Secretary Stimson, the Army has taken pretty dramatic steps over the last two and a half years to improve our human intelligence capabilities and capacity to include interrogation but not limit it to that.

And by "interrogation" I really mean getting truthful answers to time-sensitive questions on the battlefield, also military source operations, which is leveraging access, which our foreign counterparts have within their own respective societies and culture and analysis, really making sense of all of it so that we can integrate it with other kinds of operations.

KIMMONS: The Army is more than doubling the size of its human intelligence capability, growing the HUMINT force, if you will, by more than 3,000 soldiers over the next several years.

Our combat training centers now incorporate foreign role players in realistic training exercises and rehearsals to prepare our soldiers for combat operations in really tough complex environments.

We have integrated battlefield experiences into the courses of instruction on detention, interrogation and other human intelligence training at our military intelligence school, our military place school, our legal and even our combat arms training centers.

And cultural awareness and language training are now integral parts of that process, and also the preparation of our units as they get ready to deploy to combat.

There are more than 500 interrogators deployed around the world working seven days a week, 24 hours a day, to accomplish their wartime mission. Over 4/5ths of those are Army soldiers, to generate actionable intelligence of practical, tactical relevance to our combat commanders.

No service has greater equity in a effective, doctrinal base or training program than does the Army. And so it's appropriate that we be executive agent for this purpose.

The work which our interrogators do, of all the services, worldwide, saves lives, both U.S. lives, coalition lives and innocent civilian lives. And we are immensely proud of the accomplishments of our interrogator work force.

The Field Manual 2-22.3 which, as the secretary mentioned, is human intelligence collector operations, was recently approved for distribution to our forces worldwide. It replaces our 1992 field manual on interrogation.

The new manual is broader in scope and incorporates hard-won wartime lessons learned since 9/11, the cross-interrogation, military source operations, analysis, screening, debriefing, document exploitation and more.

We have used straightforward language in the field manual for use by soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. It is not written for lawyers. The new field manual is wholly unclassified. It can be shared with our coalition partners. And it establishes the DOD-wide interrogation standard consistent with law, the Geneva Convention and Department of Defense policy.

KIMMONS: The new field manual incorporates a single standard for humane treatment, as was alluded to, for all detainees, regardless of their status, under all circumstances, in conjunction with all interrogation techniques that are contained within it. And there are no others.

That is, as a matter of law, to include the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions, to include Common Article 3, as well as Department of Defense policy and service doctrine.

The field manual explicitly prohibits torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. To make this more imaginable and understandable to our soldiers -- and I use that in a joint context -- we have included in the field manual specific prohibitions.

There's eight of them.

Interrogators may not force a detainee to be naked, perform sexual acts of pose in a sexual manner. They cannot use hoods or place sacks over a detainee's head or use duct tape over his eyes. They cannot beat or electrically shock or burn him or inflict other forms of physical pain, any form of physical pain. They may not use water boarding. They may not use hypothermia or treatment which will lead to heat injury. They will not perform mock executions. They may not deprive detainees of the necessary food, water and medical care. And they may not use dogs in any aspect of interrogations.

As you know, dogs can be used legally by our military police for security, but not as an adjunct part of the interrogation process.

The interrogation approach techniques in this field manual have undergone favorable interagency legal review and been judged to be consistent with the requirements of law, Detainee Treatment Act and the Geneva Conventions, as well as policy.

KIMMONS: The field manual was reviewed and endorsed by senior DOD figures at the secretarial level, by the Joint Staff, by each of the combatant commanders and their legal advisers, by each of the service secretaries and service chiefs and their legal advisers, in addition to the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and the director of national intelligence, who coordinated it laterally with the CIA.

It has also been favorably reviewed by the Department of Justice.

The field manual contains 19 interrogation approaches. No other techniques are authorized within the Department of Defense. Sixteen of these are traditional interrogation approaches which were enshrined in the old Field Manual, 34-52.

Based on battlefield lessons learned, we have added two additional approaches to the main body of the field manual, and those are Mutt and Jeff; good cop, bad cop; and false flag -- portraying yourself as someone other than an American interrogator.

Those were added for general purpose use across all detainees categories. Those 18 techniques are authorized for use Department of Defense-wide and worldwide, regardless of status.

Our four star combatant commanders also specifically requested, based on battlefield experience, that we include one restricted technique, called separation, for use on a by exception basis only with unlawful combatants. That is, it is not authorized for use on prisoners of war and other protected persons.

Separation allows interrogators to keep unlawful enemy combatants apart from each other as a normal part of the interrogation process so they can't coordinate their stories and so that we can compare answers questions which interrogators have posed to each other without there having been collusion.

It is for the same reason that police keep murder suspects separated while they are questioning them, although this is within an interrogation context.

Separation meets the standard for humane treatment, the single standard that exists across DOD and it is enshrined in this manual. But the Geneva Conventions afford additional protections, privileges, if you will, to lawful combatants above and beyond the humane standard.

KIMMONS: It authorizes lawful combatants to receive mail, and send packages. It authorizes them to receive pay for work that they perform. It also protects them from being separated from their fellow prisoners of war with whom they were captured without their expressed consent.

These additional privileges, above and beyond the humane standard, are not an entitlement which our unlawful combatants enjoy. And you can imagine for practical reasons why we would want to keep unlawful combatants and include terrorists separated from one another, albeit within a humane environment.

Nonetheless, special interrogator training and certification is required for our interrogators to use this restricted approach. A very high level of command oversight is also required. Four star combatant commanders must approve the use within their respective theaters of operation. A second general officer or flag officer must review and approve each interrogation plan which incorporates the use of separation. And typically a number of techniques will be included in any given interrogation plan.

We've built mandatory safeguards for interrogation into all of the interrogation approach techniques in the field manual to ensure humane application. The field manual also includes many examples of correct usage of these techniques. It tries to leave as little to the imagination as possible without being overly prescriptive, and we think we've done a good job.

The field manual clarifies military intelligence and military police's roles, which are complementary but discrete in some important respects. Military police do not participate in interrogation, they do not set conditions, they do not soften up our detainees. That is explicitly written into the field manual and will be trained.

The field manual also defines the roles and functions which health care providers may perform within the context of interrogation, which is very limited and essentially limited to normal precautionary medical inspection and care, as well as emergency services.

KIMMONS: But they are not authorized to assist in -- directly assist interrogators.

The field manual reiterates a standard established by Department of Defense Director 3115-09 for strict control of access to detainee by non-DOD personnel, other government agencies or other foreign governments. And basically it requires a joint task force commander or a feeder commander to approve that access. And if access is granted, the non-DOD agency must be escorted and observed by a trained, certified DOD member.

And, also, the non-DOD agency must agree to comply with the safeguards, provisions, and use the techniques and only the techniques enshrined in this field manual.

The field manual makes clear that commanders of forces which conduct detention operations or interrogation operations are directly accountable and responsible for humane detainee treatment, in addition to their other command responsibilities. It emphasizes the responsibility of every service member to report observed, suspected or alleged detainee abuse, and it tells them how to do it. It also gives them guidance on how to report if they suspect their chain of command is complicit.

The bottom line is, this is a very good -- this is a very good field manual. Our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines need it to get this tough work done. And we need to put it into their hands without further delay.

What I'd like to do now is invite Secretary Stimson back up and we'll take your questions.

QUESTION: Sir, are you concerned, as an intelligence officer, that specifying exactly the 19 techniques that can be used and not having anything else classified will hinder your troops' ability to gather the intelligence that they need?

KIMMONS: That's a good question, and it's one that we, frankly, wrestled with for several months.

We initially considered taking the additional techniques I described, the three new ones, and putting them into a classified appendix of some sort to keep them out of the hands of the enemy, who regularly reads our field manuals as a matter of course.

KIMMONS: We weighed that against the needs for transparency and working openly with our coalition partners who don't have access to all of our classified publications and also the need to be as clear as we can be in the training of these techniques to our own soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, to reduce the risks of inadvertent migration from a classified domain into an unclassified text by virtue of them being separated.

We also felt that even classified techniques, once you use them on the battlefield over time, become increasingly known to your enemies, some of whom are going to be released in due course.

And so on balance, in consultation with our combatant commanders, we decided to go this route. We're very comfortable with it. So are our combatant commanders.

Now, having said that, I'd just add, this manual is going to be revised or at least reviewed for revision on an annual basis. That's no different than any other doctrinal publication. Based on battlefield lessons learned, new policy which may come out, we may revise this downstream. And so I think we have flexibility to make adjustments as required.

QUESTION: General, why was the decision made to keep these categories, these separate categories, of detainees? You have traditional prisoners of war and then the unlawful enemy combatants. Why not treat all detainees under U.S. military custody the exact same way?

KIMMONS: Well, actually the distinction is in Geneva, due to the Geneva Convention, which describes the criteria that lawful combatants such as enemy prisoners of war, which attributes they possess -- wearing a uniform, fighting for a government, bearing your arms openly and so on and so forth. It is all spelled out fairly precisely inside Geneva.

Geneva also makes clear that traditional unlawful combatants, such as -- 50 years ago, we would have talked about spies and saboteurs, but also now applies to this new category or new type of unlawful combatants, terrorists, Al Qaida and Taliban. They clearly don't meet the criteria for prisoner of war status, lawful combatant status. And so they are not entitled, therefore, to the extra protections and privileges which Geneva affords.

STIMSON: And let me jump in, too. It's important to remember that for the first time in DOD history, here we are establishing for all detainees, regardless of their legal status, a baseline standard of care and treatment. And those are the standards announced in and shown in enclosure 3 and 4. So Common Article 3 plus the additional protections articulated in enclosure 4.

So with respect to how they're treated at a minimum, there is no difference. But people earn their rights into certain categories in the Geneva Conventions. And as the general said, an enemy prisoner of war is a person who abides by, among other things, the laws of war, fights for a country, open arms, wears a uniform, et cetera. But you have to differentiate between legal status and then standard of care and treatment.

QUESTION: Mr. Stimson, does the directive change the policy on detention operations or merely define it more clearly?

STIMSON: The directive lays out the overarching policy guidance to combatant commanders and the Department of Defense. It clarifies the older 1994 policy. The 1994 policy was written mainly with enemy prisoner of war in mind, not this category of nonstate actors with global lethality; here, unlawful enemy combatants. And so it incorporates those lessons learned. It is applicable to today, moving forward. So that's the answer to that question.

QUESTION: The policy is not different, it's just applied more broadly?

STIMSON: The policy incorporates lessons learned. It takes into consideration now that the foe that we're fighting today and perhaps in the future will be a nonstate actor, such as a terrorist, and differentiates in terms of legal status those categories, but articulates very firmly a baseline standard of care and treatment for all detainees, regardless of legal status, and that's the important aspect of 2310.

QUESTION: Sir, some legal experts on Common Article 3 suggest that solitary confinement is banned by Common Article 3, in the affront to human dignity and other provisions. Are you confident that separation is permitted under Common Article 3?

STIMSON: Yes. Not only am I satisfied, because it doesn't matter necessarily what I think, the service JAGs believe that, the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel believes that, the combatant commanders believe that through the advice of their legal counsel, and the various departments within the United States government who have looked at this also believe that.

QUESTION: Does separation mean solitary confinement or is it a different -- does it mean a different thing?

STIMSON: Separation does not mean solitary confinement. Separation, as anticipated and announced in Appendix M of the Army Field Manual, is a specific interrogation technique, and I'd ask Jeff to sort of explain how we got there.

KIMMONS: We have always segregated enemy combatants on the battlefield at the point of capture and beyond to keep them silent, and segregate the officers from the enlisted, the men from the women and so forth. That's traditional. It goes back to World War II and beyond.

Once they get back to a point where they can be interrogated -- that could be fairly far forward or it could be further back in the chain -- and an interrogator devises an interrogation plan to question that person. It's no longer a matter of battlefield evacuation and segregation.

And so we chose, consciously, not to be cute with this thing. We chose to bring it into the field manual as an explicit interrogation technique so that we could train at the standard and we could build in safeguards and a high level of command oversight which otherwise, if it wasn't addressed at all, would have been left up to the digression of people on the ground. That does them a disservice and it places the burden at a level where it shouldn't be.

QUESTION: One follow-up. Several months ago, the Defense Department was considering not including Common Article 3 within the directive, but just saying that it will adhere to the principles. And I was told that there were some concerns that the use of humiliating and degrading conduct could be used by detainees to argue that they were being mistreated.

What was the argument within DOD, what were the concerns about Common Article 3, and how did you overcome them?

STIMSON: I'm not going to do a rewind of the internal discussions within the department or in the U.S. government regarding the development of 2310. Suffice to say that it was a robust discussion, that there were people who believed that this war that we're in was of an international character.

If I polled all of you a month before the Hamdan decision, I bet most of you would raise your hand and say that this is a war of international character. Well, the Supreme Court would have said you're wrong.

And so the debate was robust, it was important, and it produced ultimately the document which is before you today, which obviously embraces not only Common Article 3, which the Supreme Court said applied to Al Qaida, but additional protections that are included in Enclosure 4. So we have gone beyond what the Supreme Court said with respect to Al Qaida in the Hamdan decision.

QUESTION: Did the manual set limits on the use of separation -- time limits -- or does it specify how to ensure that this doesn't become long term?

KIMMONS: Yes, it does. That was one of the reasons we brought it into the manual.

Not only does it require a high level of command -- four-star commander, general officer review -- but also there are -- and you can read for yourself. I mean, there's limitations in terms of how long someone can be separated and what the process and procedures and approval levels are if you want to extend that as a function of military necessity.

QUESTION: General and Mr. Stimson, some of the tactics that were used, in particular in Guantanamo Bay, that were considered by investigators to be abusive when used together are now prohibited, for example, the use of nudity, hooding, that sort of thing.

In looking at those particular tactics and now not being able to use them, does that limit the ability of interrogators to get information that could be very useful? In particular on one detainee in Guantanamo Bay, some of those tactics that are now prohibited were deemed to be very effective in getting to that information.

Also, are there going to be safeguards to prevent whether it be interrogators or commanders from interpreting the tactics that are approved in ways that could be abusive, as some of those tactics were derived from standard interrogation tactics?

KIMMONS: Let me answer the first question. That is a good question. I think -- I am absolutely convinced -- the answer to your first question is no. No good intelligence is going to come from abusive practices. I think history tells us that. I think the empirical evidence of the last five years, hard years, tell us that.

Moreover, any piece of intelligence which is obtained under duress, through the use of abusive techniques, would be of questionable credibility, and additionally it would do more harm than good when it inevitably became known that abusive practices were used. And we can't afford to go there.

Some of our most significant successes on the battlefield have been -- in fact, I would say all of them, almost categorically all of them, have accrued from expert interrogators using mixtures of authorized humane interrogation practices in clever ways, that you would hope Americans would use them, to push the envelope within the bookends of legal, moral and ethical, now as further refined by this field manual.

We don't need abusive practices in there. Nothing good will come from them.

STIMSON: And let me add another piece to that. Obviously, because of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, the Army Field Manual now is in effect law, the law of the land.

I can tell you, I'm not an interrogation expert. I'm just a lawyer who happened to end up in a policy job. But as a prosecutor in my former life, and when I spend time in Guantanamo talking to the interrogators there, they'll tell you that the intelligence they get from detainees is best derived through a period of rapport-building, long-term rapport-building; an interrogation plan that is proper, vetted, worked through all the channels that General Kimmons is talking about, and then building rapport with that particular detainee.

So it's not like Sipowicz from the TV show where they take them in the back room. You're not going to get trustworthy information, as I under it, from detainees. It's through a methodical, comprehensive, vetted, legal and now transparent, in terms of techniques, set of laydown that allows the interrogator to get the type of information that they need.

QUESTION: What about safeguard for interpretation? As, again, some of those tactics originally were derived from very standard, straightforward approaches, is there something in the field manual that deals with that?

KIMMONS: We've infused into it a number of text boxes. For example, there's one on impermissible coercion. I can coerce you to stand in the corner. It's not impermissible. It's authorized.

So we've tried to describe those, I guess what you'd call gray areas, as best we can. In fact, we've discussed back and forth and polished the wording on those to make it as clear and crisp and unambiguous as possible. And I think we've done a pretty good job.

QUESTION: General, going on that point, where you're talking about making it as clear as possible, can you touch on some of the approved interrogation techniques and how you've put it from lawyer's terms to soldier's terms so they can understand them?

KIMMONS: Well, I mean, we have infused into this thing examples. I mean, when we describe a technique, you will see repeatedly in the field manual, in the text, where it says, "for example." It tells you what to do and what's approved, and it describes the use of a technique, and then it says, "for example." And then it talks to a real-world example of when something has worked, where it's been proven to be effective or proven to be ineffective or counterproductive.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) of the 16 techniques that are still approved?

KIMMONS: Oh, well all of the techniques that were in the hold field manual are still approved. There were 17. We combined two of them into one. That's why there are 16 that were carried forward.

But if you have a copy of the old field manual, it's exactly the same techniques. All we have done is expand on them and make them more comprehensive, if you will. And then added those three that I described before.

QUESTION: General, as an expert in interrogations, do you believe that sensory deprivation was abusive, or did it ever prove to be helpful in interrogations?

KIMMONS: Sensory deprivation is abusive and is prohibited in this field manual. And it's absolutely counterproductive in my understanding of what we have used productively.

Sensory deprivation, just to be clear -- and we define it in the field manual -- but, basically, it comes down to the almost complete deprivation of all sensory stimuli -- light, noise and so forth -- to the point where it can have an adverse mental/psychological effect, disorienting effect on a detainee.

QUESTION: Could there be deprivation of light alone for extended periods of time, as opposed to complete sensory deprivation?

KIMMONS: I think the total loss of an external stimulus, such as deprivation of light, would not fit what we have described here as -- for example, if you're hinting about separation, separation does not involve the darkness or lack of that type of sensory stimulation.

QUESTION: That wasn't the question, though. Would the deprivation of light alone be permitted under the current manual? Because you describe sensory deprivation as total deprivation.

KIMMONS: That's correct.

QUESTION: So deprivation of light alone for extended periods would be permitted.

KIMMONS: I don't think the field manual explicitly addresses it. It does not make it prohibited. It would have to be weighed in the context of the overall environment. If it was at night time, during sleep hours, then it would make perfect sense to turn the lights off.

QUESTION: You know what I'm talking about. I'm trying to get at -- because you said specifically, "total sensory deprivation." So deprivation of any one sense might be permitted. Like light, for example: They could be kept in the dark for extended periods of time, beyond the usual night-time hours.

STIMSON: Questions like this are good questions to ask. What is important to remember is that interrogation plans are put together for a reason, so that not just one person can decide what he or she wants to do and then run off and do it.

They are vetted. It is laid out how they are vetted. General Kimmons could go into that in exhaustive detail. Typically there would be a JAG, as I understand it, General Kimmons...

KIMMONS: That's correct.

STIMSON: ... who would have to review that. It goes up through various chains of command. Questions like this would have to be asked and then vetted through that process.

QUESTION: How does this affect the attempt to gain real time, actionable intelligence, during, like for example, battlefield interrogations?

KIMMONS: Well, interrogations can occur at any level where there is a trained and certified interrogator. And that could be at the point of capture, although more commonly it's further back in the process.

Every soldier, regardless of his skill set or military occupational specialty, can perform direct questioning. So infantrymen can perform direct questioning of someone they have detained -- "Who are you? Where did you come from? Where's your family?" -- either directly or in language or through use of an interpreter. That is not considered to be interrogation. That is a battlefield practice which all soldiers have the ability to do.

If you get beyond that, into an interrogation plan, mixing any of these techniques involved, then you have to -- that transcends into interrogations.

QUESTION: Just one final, quick question: If any soldier violates any of these guidelines, are they then subject to prosecution under the UCMJ?

KIMMONS: This manual is doctrine, so it's not a law enforcement mechanism. But it forms the foundation for orders and directives, and violating those could subject a soldier, sailor, airman, Marine to punishment under the UCMJ. And since this enshrines law, Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, Geneva Conventions, violation of those, to the extent that those are in contravention to directives, SOPs and lawful orders, could result in punishment.

QUESTION: General, it seems to me that this all got rolling when the folks down at Guantanamo were looking for exceptions to the current standards. Does this field manual prevent that from happening again? Wholly separate from the annual review that you talked about, is there any possibility that somebody could again come to secretary of defense and say, "Look, we need a little bit more latitude"?

KIMMONS: I defer to secretary. There's no provision for exceptions to this field manual.

QUESTION: Was there a provision for the exception -- was there a provision in the last field manual? And how did we get here from there?

KIMMONS: Well, I think we got here, if you're talking about the transgressions and mistakes that were made in the past, those were not people complying with the old field manual. Those were people who were abusing prisoners, sometimes in conjunction with interrogation and sometimes outside of the interrogation envelope, in a willful, malicious manner.

QUESTION: I think that they thought that they were doing it not in a willful, malicious manner. They went to OSD and said: We need extra latitude.

STIMSON: Remember, because of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, this field manual is law. And the directive and the field have no provisions for waivers from the Detainee Treatment Act.

QUESTION: And were there provisions for waivers before? I'm just unclear as to what the status of this was before.

STIMSON: I'm aware that waivers were asked for, but I don't know the answer exactly to your question, how you phrased it.

QUESTION: Thank you.

KIMMONS: Thanks very much.

END

.ETX

Sep 06, 2006 13:32 ET .EOF

Source: CQ Transcriptions © 2006, Congressional Quarterly Inc., All Rights Reserved

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