On December 2, 2002 the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, signed his name at the bottom of a document that listed eighteen techniques of interrogation--techniques that defied international definitions of torture. The Rumsfeld Memo authorized the controversial interrogation practices that later migrated to Guantanamo, Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, as part of the policy of extraordinary rendition. From a behind-the-scenes vantage point, Phillipe Sands investigates how the Rumsfeld Memo set the stage for a divergence from the Geneva Convention and the Torture Convention and holds the individual gatekeepers in the Bush administration accountable for their failure to safeguard international law.
The Torture Team delves deep into the Bush administration to reveal:
- How the policy of abuse originated with Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush, and was promoted by their most senior lawyers
- Personal accounts, through interview, of those most closely involved in the decisions
- How the Joint Chiefs and normal military decision-making processes were circumvented
- How Fox TV's 24 contributed to torture planning
- How interrogation techniques were approved for use
- How the new techniques were used on Mohammed Al Qahtani, alleged to be "the 20th highjacker"
- How the senior lawyers who crafted the policy of abuse exposed themselves to the risk of war crimes charges