DoD Directive Closes Loopholes in Detainee Interrogation Policy

10.14.08 | 1 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

A newly reissued Department of Defense directive (pdf) explicitly prohibits several of the more controversial interrogation techniques that have previously been practiced against suspected enemy combatants.

So, for example, the new directive states that “Use of SERE [Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape] techniques against a person in the custody or effective control of the Department of Defense or detained in a DoD facility is prohibited.” Waterboarding, in which a sensation of drowning is induced, is one such SERE technique.

In another new prohibition, the directive states that “No dog shall be used as part of an interrogation approach or to harass, intimidate, threaten, or coerce a detainee for interrogation purposes.”

Yet another new prohibition limits the role of psychologists advising interrogators: “Behavioral science consultants may not be used to determine detainee phobias for the purpose of exploitation during the interrogation process.”

The new directive states that it simply “codifies existing DoD policies.” The restrictions noted above, however, did not appear in the prior edition of this directive (pdf), dated 2005.

See “DoD Intelligence Interrogations, Detainee Debriefings, and Tactical Questioning,” DoD Directive 3115.09, October 9, 2008.