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ACLU: US Justice Department Memo Allows Certain Violations of Anti-Torture Laws

By VOA News
24 July 2008

A newly released memo shows the U.S. Department of Justice told the Central Intelligence Agency in 2002 that violations of anti-torture laws were acceptable under certain conditions.

The memo, which is dated August 2002, was obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union under the Freedom of Information Act. It states that techniques such as waterboarding - a form of simulated drowning - are legal as long as they do not cause prolonged mental or physical harm.

The ACLU says the CIA initially refused to confirm or deny the existence of the memo. It says the agency dropped that position after President Bush disclosed in 2006 that the CIA had been operating detention centers overseas.

The memo was one of three such documents the ACLU obtained that request legal advice from the Justice Department on interrogation techniques.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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