Report warned of abuses


WASHINGTON -- A classified report issued last year by the CIA's inspector general warned that interrogation procedures approved by the CIA after the Sept. 11 attacks might violate some provisions of the international Convention Against Torture, current and former intelligence officials said.

The previously undisclosed findings from the report, which was completed in the spring of 2004, reflected deep unease within the CIA about the interrogation procedures, the officials said. A list of 10 techniques authorized early in 2002 for use against suspected terrorists went well beyond those authorized by the military for use on prisoners of war.

The convention, which was drafted by the United Nations, bars torture, which is defined as the infliction of "severe" physical or mental pain or suffering, and prohibits lesser abuses that fall short of torture if they are "cruel, inhuman or degrading." The United States is a signatory, but with some reservations set when it was ratified by the Senate in 1994.

The report, by John L. Helgerson, the CIA's inspector general, did not conclude that the techniques constituted torture, which is also prohibited under American law, the officials said. But Helgerson did find, the officials said, that the techniques appeared to constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under the convention.

The CIA said in a written statement in March that "all approved interrogation techniques, both past and present, are lawful and do not constitute torture."

The agency reaffirmed that statement yesterday, but would not comment on any classified report issued by Helgerson.

The statement in March did not specifically address techniques that could be labeled cruel, inhuman or degrading, and which are not explicitly prohibited in American law.

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