Army Memo Reiterates Ban On Waterboarding To Clear Up ‘Confusion’ From Mukasey’s Testimony

mukasey3833.JPGOn Nov. 9, the Senate voted to confirm Michael Mukasey as Attorney General, despite concerns about his consistent refusal to declare waterboarding torture.

The AP reports today that three days earlier, on Nov. 6, the Army issued a memo to “senior leaders” reiterating that the technique is prohibited by the Army. The memo was to be relayed to soldiers’ families and employees in order to “eliminate any confusion that may have arisen as a result of recent public discourse on the subject”:

The service issued a “strategic communication hot topic” alert to its senior leaders two days before the Senate confirmed Mukasey, asking them to make sure every soldier, family member and Army civilian employee understands the ban on waterboarding. Mukasey was sworn in Nov. 9.

“The U.S. Army strictly prohibits the use of waterboarding during intelligence investigations by any of its members. It is specifically prohibited by Field Manual 2-22.3 and is not a sanctioned interrogation technique in any training manual or any instructions to soldiers in the field,” the statement says.

The Army Field Manual specifically prohibits “waterboarding” in intelligence interrogations, along with “mock executions,” “using military working dogs,” and “inducing hypothermia or heat injury.” The CIA reportedly used waterboarding on three different prisoners before 2003.

Several former administration officials have attempted to eliminate or condemn the use of waterboarding. Inspector General John Helgerson quit in protest of the administration’s torture policies. Former acting assistant attorney general Daniel Levin was forced out by the Justice Department for his dissent on waterboarding.

Last week, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Rep. William Delahunt (D-MA) introduced legislation requiring “that interrogations comply with the standards set forth in the Army Field Manual, to all government agencies.”