3,687. 8/1/2002

“In the view expressed by the Justice Department memo [the Bybee memo, written on August 1, 2002], which differs from the view of the Army, physical torture ‘must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.’ For a cruel or inhuman psychological technique to rise to the level of mental torture, the Justice Department argued, the psychological harm must last ‘months or even years.’ A former senior [Bush] administration official involved in discussions about CIA interrogation techniques said Bush’s aides knew he wanted them to take an aggressive approach. ‘He felt very keenly that his primary responsibility was to do everything within his power to keep the country safe, and he was not concerned with appearances or politics or hiding behind lower-level officials,’ the official said. ‘That is not to say he was ready to authorize stuff that would be contrary to law. The whole reason for having the careful legal reviews that went on was to ensure he was not doing that.’ “

 – Mike Allen and Dana Priest, “Memo on Torture Draws Focus to Bush,” The Washington Post, June 9, 2004

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