Wolfowitz Directive Gave Legal Cover to Detainee Experimentation Program
Jason Leopold and Jeffrey Kaye - 10/14/2010
Editor’s Note: When President George W. Bush authorized waterboarding and other forms of torture on “war on terror” detainees, the patterns of abusive treatment and the gauging of physiological responses always had an experimental feel, as if the interrogators were testing how best to break a person’s resistance.
Now, after a seven-month investigation, Jason Leopold and Jeffrey Kaye report that some technical revisions in US government policies on human experimentation created apparent loopholes that allowed the detainees to be used as human guinea pigs for studies in behaviorial modification.
In 2002, as the Bush administration was turning to torture and other brutal techniques for interrogating “war on terror” detainees, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz loosened rules against human experimentation, an apparent recognition of legal problems regarding the novel strategies for extracting and evaluating information from the prisoners.
Wolfowitz issued a little-known directive on March 25, 2002, about a month after President George W. Bush stripped the detainees of traditional prisoner-of-war protections under the Geneva Conventions. Bush labeled them “unlawful enemy combatants” and authorized the CIA and the Department of Defense (DoD) to undertake brutal interrogations.