The Armed Services Committee report says that six months earlier, in December 2001, the Pentagon's legal office already had made inquiries about the use of mock interrogation and detention tactics to a U.S. military training unit that schools armed forces personnel in how to endure harsh treatment.
In July 2002, responding to a follow-up from the Pentagon general counsel's office, officials at the training unit, the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, detailed their methods for the Pentagon. The list included waterboarding.
But the training unit warned that harsh physical techniques could backfire by making prisoners more resistant
. They also cautioned about the reliability of information gleaned from the severe methods and warned that the public and political backlash could be "intolerable."
"A subject in extreme pain may provide an answer, any answer or many answers in order to get the pain to stop," the training officials said in their memo.
Less than a week later, the Justice Department issued two legal opinions that sanctioned the CIA's harsh interrogation program. The memos appeared to draw deeply on the survival school data provided to the Pentagon to show that the CIA's methods would not cross the line into torture.
The opinion concluded that the harsh interrogation methods would be acceptable for use on terror detainees because the same techniques did not cause severe physical or mental pain to U.S. military students who were tested in the government's carefully controlled training program.
Several people from the survival program objected to the use of their mock interrogations in battlefield settings. In an October 2002 e-mail, a senior Army psychologist told personnel at Guantanamo Bay that the methods were inherently dangerous and students were sometimes injured, even in a controlled setting.
"The risk with real detainees is increased exponentially
," he said.