WASHINGTON, Oct. 15 (UPI) -- Aggressive CIA interrogation tactics, including waterboarding, were endorsed by the Bush administration in secret U.S. memos, newly released documents indicate.
The documents, issued to the CIA in 2003 and 2004, were prompted by worries in the intelligence community about potential backlash if interrogation details became public, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
The previously undisclosed classified memos were sought by former CIA Director George Tenet more than a year after the covert CIA interrogations began, officials in the intelligence community and with the Bush administration told the Post.
Several White House officials, including U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser at the time, confirmed to congressional investigators recently that briefings on the matter occurred and acknowledged that Tenet pressed the White House for policy approval.
Requests for a paper trail demonstrated the depth of concern in the CIA that U.S. President George Bush and his administration would try to distance themselves from major decisions on how to handle captured al-Qaida terrorist suspects, former intelligence officers told the Post.
"It came up in the daily meetings. We heard it from our field officers," a former senior intelligence official said. "We were already worried that we" were going to be blamed.