The memo to the CIA discussed 10 requested interrogation techniques and how each should be limited so as not to violate the statute. The lawyers warned that no procedure could be used that "interferes with the proper healing of Zubaydah's wound," which he incurred during capture. They observed that all the techniques, including waterboarding, were used on our military trainees, and that the CIA had conducted an "extensive inquiry" with experts and psychologists.
But now, safe in ivory towers eight years removed from 9/11, critics demand criminalization of the techniques and the prosecution or disbarment of the lawyers who advised the CIA. Contrary to columnist Frank Rich's uninformed accusation in the New York Times that the lawyers "proposed using" the techniques, they did no such thing. They were asked to provide legal guidance on whether the CIA's proposed methods violated the law.
A pretty straight definition of torture
I wrote extensively about torture, what it is, what it ain't and what it means on CBK.com this week. Victoria Toensing, former chief counsel for the Senate Intelligence Committee, just penned as instrucive a primer as you're going to find on what legally constitutes torture by the standards of United States and United Nations law.
Not to say I told you say, but you'll note the language of Ms. Toensing's piece and my definition of torture fall neatly in line, even though I'm far removed from the gods on The Hill.