White House: Documents Show Humane Prisoner Policy

The White House releases hundreds of pages of documents that it says lay out the administration's policies on interrogation methods to be used on foreign detainees suspected of having terrorist ties.

Documents on Detainees
The Bush administration has released a series of documents on the status and treatment of detainees captured in Afghanistan and in the war on terrorism. Below are some of those memos:

DOD Documents
Jan. 19, 2002, Memo from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the Status of Taliban and al Qaida Detainees

Oct. 11, 2002, Defense Dept. Joint Task Force Memo on Interrogation Techniques

Oct. 25, 2002, U.S. Southern Command Memo Endorsing Joint Task Force Recommendations on Interrogation Techniques

Dec. 2, 2002, Rumsfeld Memo Approving Interrogation Techniques

Jan. 15, 2003, Rumsfeld Memo on Establishing a Working Group on Interrogation Issues

April 16, 2003, Rumsfeld Memo Approving Interrogation Techniques for Detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba



DOJ Documents
Jan. 22, 2002, Justice Dept. Memo to White House, Defense Dept. on Effect of International Treaties, U.S. Laws on Taliban, Al Qaeda Detainees in Afghanistan

Feb. 1, 2002, Letter from Attorney General John Ashcroft to President Bush on Afghanistan Detainees

Feb. 7, 2002, DOJ Memo to the White House on the Status of Taliban Forces Under the Geneva Convention

Feb. 26, 2002, DOJ Memo to the Defense Dept. on Interrogation of Afghanistan Detainees

Aug. 1, 2002, DOJ Letter to the White House on Interrogation Methods in the War on Terrorism

Aug. 1, 2002, DOJ Memo to the White House on Standards of Conduct Under U.S. Law (Bush aides have subsequently disavowed this memo.)


Administration officials say they wanted to make public the discussion that led to the government's stand on interrogation. The White House says the documents show a policy of treating detainees humanely.

But critics note the absence of any memos from the State Department, which analysts say expressed grave concerns about the administration's interpretation of the Geneva Conventions.

The release of the documents follows the negative publicity the White House has received over the abuse of Iraqi prisoners. NPR's Jackie Northam reports.

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