The CIA’s controversial interrogation and detention programs lasted from 2002 to 2007, but the full timeline of how it developed and how it ended goes longer than that.
Here’s a look at the key dates in the report.
Sept. 11, 2001: Al Qaeda carries out terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Sept. 17, 2001: President Bush signs a classified covert action memorandum authorizing the CIA to detain terrorists.
Feb. 7, 2002: President Bush signs a memorandum stating that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to the global conflict with al Qaeda.
March-April 2002: Abu Zubaydah is captured in Pakistan and transferred to CIA custody. He is interrogated jointly by FBI and CIA officers.
June 2002: CIA officers place Abu Zubaydah in isolation for 47 days. The FBI never returns to the CIA interrogation site.
Aug. 1, 2002: The justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel issues two memoranda (one classified and one unclassified) concluding that the CIA’s proposed “enhanced interrogation techniques” did not violate the federal anti-torture statute. The classified memorandum addressed specific techniques, including waterboarding, for use on Abu Zubaydah.
Aug. 4-30, 2002: After a prolonged period of isolation, CIA interrogators subject Abu Zubaydah to near-constant coercive interrogation techniques, including the first application of waterboarding.
September 2002: Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Bob Graham and Vice Chairman Richard Shelby are first briefed on the CIA interrogation program. (Later, Senators Pat Roberts and Jay Rockefeller are briefed when they become chairman and vice chairman.)
November 2002: After being captured and detained by a foreign country, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri is transferred to CIA custody and transported to the same detention facility where Abu Zubaydah is located. Al-Nashiri is also subjected to the CIA’s coercive techniques, including water boarding. (Interrogations during this period are videotaped.)
November 2002: CIA detainee Gul Rahman dies while being held and interrogated by the CIA at a separate CIA detention facility from where Abu Zubaydah and al-Nashiri are held.
Dec. 28, 2002 – Jan. 1, 2003: Al-Nashiri is threatened with a handgun and drill during a CIA interrogation.
January 2003: The CIA Office of Inspector General begins a review of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.
March 2003: Khalid Sheikh Muhammad is captured and transferred to a CIA detention site where he is subjected to the CIA’s coercive interrogation techniques, including 183 instances of waterboarding.
July 2003: The CIA and some members of the National Security Council meet and reaffirm the use of the CIA’s so-called enhanced interrogation techniques.
Sept. 16, 2003: The CIA first briefs the Secretaries of State and Defense on the CIA’s so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, according to CIA records.
May 7, 2004: The CIA’s inspector general completes a review of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.
June 2004: The Office of Legal Counsel withdraws its unclassified Aug. 1, 2002 memorandum containing a legal analysis of the anti-torture statute. While the office begins to draft a new memorandum, the CIA continues to interrogate detainees in custody.
August-September 2004: The Office of Legal Counsel issues letters to the CIA advising that the use of the CIA’s so-called enhanced interrogation techniques against specific, named detainees does not violate the federal anti-torture statute.
Dec. 30, 2004: The Office of Legal Counsel issues a revised, unclassified memorandum that supersedes the withdrawn unclassified August 1, 2002 memorandum.
May 2005: The Office of Legal Counsel provides three classified legal memoranda. The first two, issued on May 10, 2005, address the legality of the CIA’s coercive interrogation techniques, individually and in combination, under the federal anti-torture statute. The third memorandum, issues on May 30, 2005, analyzes the techniques under Article 16 of the Convention Against Torture.
November 2, 2005: The Washington Post publishes an article about the existence of a secret, global detention and interrogation program run by the CIA.
Nov. 8-9, 2005: Contrary to the direction from the White House and the Office of the DNI, the director of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, Jose Rodriguez, authorizes the destruction of videotapes depicting the use of the CIA’s coercive interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, against Abu Zubaydah and al-Nashiri from 2002.
December 2005: Congress passes the Detainee Treatment Act, prohibiting the use of “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment” against any “individual in the custody or under the physical control of the United States Government.”
June 29, 2006: The Supreme Court, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, holds that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions applies to the U.S. conflict with al-Qaeda and that detention at Guantanamo must comply with the Geneva Conventions.
Aug. 31, 2006: The Office of Legal Counsel issues a memorandum analyzing the application of the Detainee Treatment Act to the conditions of confinement for CIA detainees.
Sept. 6, 2006: Senate Intelligence Committee members other than the chairman and vice chairman are brief on the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program for the first time. The briefing was limited, as the administration was preparing for the public acknowledgment of the CIA program by President Bush hours later that same day. In his speech, the President provides specific claims of plots thwarted and terrorists captured, attributing much of this information to the CIA’s use of an “alternative set of [interrogation] procedures.”
Sept. 28-29, 2006: Congress passes the Military Commissions Act, which provides that particular violations of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions are subject to criminal prosecution under the War Crimes Act. The law provided that that president has the authority “to interpret the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions and to promulgate higher standards and administrative regulations for violations of treaty obligations which are not grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.”
July 20, 2007: President Bush signs Executive Order 13440 stating that the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program “fully complies with the obligations of the United States under Common Article 3,” and authorizes the CIA’s continued use of certain interrogation practices as determined by the CIA director. In conjunction with the release of the Executive Order, The Office of Legal Counsel issues a memorandum analyzing the legality of the techniques under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, the Detainee Treatment Act, and the War Crimes Act.
Dec. 6, 2007: The New York Times reports that the CIA destroyed interrogation videotapes in November 2005. The CIA acknowledges that the interrogation videotapes—depicting CIA interrogations using the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques in 2002—were destroyed.
Dec. 11, 2007: In a hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, CIA Director Hayden offers to allow a small number of SSCI staff to review CIA operational cables that describe the interrogation sessions that had been videotaped, given that the video recordings had been destroyed.
Jan. 2, 2008: Attorney General Michael Mukasey selects Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham to lead a criminal investigation into the destruction of interrogation videotapes by the CIA.
March 8, 2008: President Bush vetoes the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, which would have limited CIA interrogations to techniques authorized by the Army Field Manual.
Jan. 22, 2009: President Barack Obama issues Executive Order 13491, rescinding Executive Order 13440, banning the CIA’s detention authority, and restricting the CIA to interrogation techniques authorized by the Army Field Manual.
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