Report: Agency helped with banned tactics

April 22, 2009 at 12:19 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 22 (UPI) -- A U.S. military agency offering torture resistance and survival training offered to help develop CIA interrogation methods, a Senate panel report says.

The Bush Justice Department also used that military expertise to develop the legal justifications for interrogation methods, said the Senate Armed Services Committee report, scheduled for release Wednesday.

Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., said the report "connects the dots," showing how techniques familiar to military experts wound up in memos by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel that authorized abusive interrogation practices, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The Obama administration last week released the OLC memos outlining many of the techniques used by the CIA against suspected terrorists. Most of the techniques were used at the military's Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape, or SERE, schools that prepare U.S. service personnel for possible torture in captivity overseas, the Tribune said.

The report, completed in November before the memos were released, provides details about the development of the Bush administration's controversial detention and interrogation policies that President Barack Obama ordered be discontinued. The Defense Department only recently signed off on the report's release.

Levin said civilians in the Bush administration allowed the SERE program to be used to mistreat detainees, the Tribune said.

"They took a program called SERE, totally distorted it, and put it to a purpose it was never intended to be put," Levin said.

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