On Monday, the Obama administration released newly declassified 2004 CIA documents detailing the Bush administration's policy of capturing suspected terrorists and interrogating them in overseas prisons. Some highlights:
_ CIA operatives used "unauthorized, improvised, inhumane and undocumented detention and interrogation techniques" that went even farther than the already permissive Justice Department legal opinions allowed.
_ Interrogators told 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed that "if anything else happens in the United States, 'We're going to kill your children,'" one veteran officer said in the report.
_ An officer who said he'd never been trained in interrogating repeatedly pinched the carotid artery of a detainee until he started to pass out, then shook him awake.
_ Interrogators stepped up their use of waterboarding beyond the stimulated drowning tactics authorized by lawyers. One of the interrogators continuously poured large volumes of water on a cloth covering a detainee's mouth and nose. He acknowledged it was different from the methods that had been approved and said that's because it was "for real."
_ Some CIA officials said the agency had limited intelligence on al-Qaida and very little understanding about what senior leaders knew. So when it came time to conduct interrogations, analysts could only speculate about what a detainee "should know."
_ Capturing and interrogating terrorism suspects helped warn officials of terrorist plots and provided important intelligence. "In this regard, there is no doubt that the program has been effective." Measuring the effectiveness of waterboarding and other extreme tactics, however, "is a more subjective process and not without some concern."
_ One CIA officer expressed concern that agency officers would some day wind up on a "wanted list" to appear in court for war crimes. Another said, "Ten years from now we're going to be sorry we're doing this ... (but) it has to be done."
_ Interrogators conducted at least one mock execution to try to scare a prisoner into talking. Mock executions are a violation of U.S. anti-torture laws.
_ Even after interrogators believed terrorism suspect Abu Zubaydah to be cooperative, CIA officials at headquarters pressured them to keep waterboarding.
_ While questioning Abd al-Nashiri, a suspect of the 2000 USS Cole bombing, an interrogator hinted that officials would sexually assault al-Nashiri's mother in front of him. The interrogator pretended to be a member of a Middle East intelligence agency believed to use such a tactic. "We could get your mother in here," the interrogator said. "We can bring your family in here."
(This version CORRECTS spelling of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.))