first monday films

The memos define “torture” shockingly narrowly – concluding that inflicted pain only amounts to torture, if it is “equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death.” Apparently written as a “get out of jail free card” to shield CIA interrogators from future prosecution, the memos present a one-sided argument about the expansive nature of presidential power, and they seem reverse engineered to provide legal cover to officials involved in excessively harsh interrogation practices. Legal experts have criticized them as being legally flawed, biased in tone and substance, and overbroad. As Jack Goldsmith, head of OLC in 2003-04 wrote, they read as if they were “designed to confer immunity on bad acts” and to “eliminate any hurdles posed by torture laws.”