Senators Call for Investigation of Alleged Drugging of Detainees

May 8, 2008 11:05 a.m.

As The Washington Post reported late last month, a host of former detainees have come forward to say that they were drugged by CIA and military interrogators. Put that together with the fact that John Yoo’s 2003 torture memo authorized the use of drugs on detainees, and you have plenty of grounds for suspicion.

Today Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI), Joe Biden (D-DE) and Chuck Hagel (R-NE) followed up and signed letters to both the CIA and Defense Department inspectors general calling for an investigation. The letter to the DoD IG is below.

April 24, 2008

The Honorable Claude M. Kicklighter

Department of Defense

400 Army Navy Drive

Arlington , VA 22202-4704

By Facsimile & U.S. Mail

Dear Inspector General Kicklighter:

We are deeply concerned about the allegations reported in the April 23rd Washington Post article entitled Detainees Allege Being Drugged, Questioned regarding the alleged use of drugs on detainees to facilitate interrogations. They are the most recent in a series of allegations relating to the abuse and mistreatment of detainees in United States custody. Although such conduct is prohibited by U.S. law and international treaties and inconsistent with our national values, some similar allegations have since been confirmed by public reports.

As with other types of abuse, the forced administration of mind-altering drugs to facilitate interrogation appears to have been authorized by the legal analysis of John Yoo, then a lawyer in the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel. His memorandum authorizing such abuse reportedly overturned a decades-old U.S. ban on the use of mind-altering drugs to facilitate interrogation. President Bush recently confirmed in an interview with ABC News that the Administration’s overall interrogation policy was discussed by Cabinet level national security officials, and that the President himself was aware of these discussions.

The allegations reported in the Washington Post article warrant a thorough investigation by the Inspectors General of the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligence Agency. Investigation of alleged abuse and mistreatment of detainees is squarely within the purview of the Inspector General’s office.

Only by identifying and reforming policies and practices that violate United States law and international treaties and are inconsistent with our national values can we strengthen the international coalitions we need to fight terrorism, decrease the success of terrorists’ recruitment efforts, and restore America’s standing in the world. Thorough investigations are an important step in that process.

Joseph R. Biden, Jr.


Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Carl Levin


Senate Armed Services Committee

Chuck Hagel

Senior Member

Senate Select Intelligence Committee

Senate Foreign Relations Committee

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