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Hassan Ghul Timeline

The known dates pertaining to Hassan Ghul’s capture and subsequent OLC memos authorizing his torture. The interesting things about this timeline are:

  • The Abu Ghraib scandal and IG Report come after they’ve detained Ghul but before they start torturing him in earnest
  • The claims to what Ghul knew changed over time
  • The approvals for his torture take place after Tenet is gone but before Goss arrives
  • Between the Cheney briefing of the Gang of Four, the CIA lie to HPSCI about torture, and Rockefeller’s requests for CIA IG materials, BushCo really was under pressure from Congress
  • Two documents to prove efficacy were created during the drafting of the Bradbury memos–but they don’t appear to claim Ghul’s torture was useful

March 16, 2003: Detainee testifies that Ghul took intended 9/11 participant, Mushabib al Hamlan, to Abu Zubaydah guest house in March 2000

January 19, 2004: General Sanchez requests investigation of Abu Ghraib abuse

January 22 or 23, 2004: Hassan Ghul detained by Kurds

January 31, 2004: Taguba appointed to conduct investigation

February 2 to 29, 2004: Taguba’s team investigating in Iraq

February 21, 2004: Directorate of Intelligence document, "US Efforts Grinding Down al-Qa’ida," says Ghul was captured while on a mission "to establish contact" with Zarqawi

February 24, 2004: Tenet mentions Ghul–along with top al Qaeda members–in hearing before SSCI

March 9, 2004: Taguba submits report

March 12, 2004: Letter to Goldsmith (possibly in support of GC opinion) claims Ghul "perform[ed] critical facilitation and finance activities for al-Qa’ida," including "transporting people, funds, and documents," and says CIA suspected Ghul of playing an active part in planning attacks against United States forces 

March 18, 2004: Jack Goldsmith concludes non-Iraqi members of al-Qaeda not "protected persons" under Geneva Convention

March 19, 2004: Jack Goldsmith drafts memo finding that US can remove some people of Iraq

April 28, 2004: Hamdi and Padilla argued before SCOTUS; Paul Clement assures the Court that we don’t torture; 60 Minutes breaks Abu Ghraib story and proves he’s wrong

May 7, 2004: CIA IG report finds torture program cruel and inhuman

June 3, 2004: Tenet announces resignation–seeks explicit approval of torture

June 15, 2004:Goldsmith informs Ashcroft he will withdraw Bybee Memo and resigns

June 17, 2004:Jack Goldsmith announces his resignation.

July 2004: Scott Muller resigns as General Counsel of CIA

July 11, 2004: Tenet resignation effective

July 20, 2004: CIA requests new legal advice from OLC (13 page letter)

July 22, 2004: Ashcroft confirms to Acting DCI (McLaughlin?) that all techniques except waterboarding legal under CAT

July 23, 2004: Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan arrested by Pakistani authorities

July 25, 2004: Capture of Ahmed Khalifan Ghailani

July 26, 2004: DNC begins

July 30, 2004: Letter to Daniel Levin including description of torture techniques

August 1, 2004: Government raises threat level, announces surveillance of financial institutions, though reports are years old; NYT publishes Khan’s name

August 2, 2004: Letter from John Rizzo to Levin, including details on when the CIA would use waterboarding and a medical and psychological assessment of Ghul

August 6, 2004: Daniel Levin advises that subject to reservations, CIA’s use of waterboarding not illegal

August 19, 2004: Letter to Daniel Levin detailing new limits on waterboarding

August 25, 2004: In letter to Daniel Levin asking to water douse Ghul, CIA claims the CIA believed (when it got custody) Ghul had actionable intelligence on "pre-election" threat to United States, had extensive connections to various al Qaeda leaders, members of the Taliban, and Zarqawi, and had tried to set up a meeting "at which elements of the pre-election threat were discussed"

December 30, 2004: Levin torture memo and CIA Background Paper on Combined Techniques

January 5, 2005: CIA faxes Daniel Levin a new definition of High Value Detainee

February 2005: Senior CIA official provides incomplete account of CIA treatment of detainees at HPSCI briefing

March 2, 2005: Memorandum for Steven G. Bradbury, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, from [redacted], DCI Counterterrorist Center, Re: Effectiveness of the CIA Counterintelligence Interrogation Techniques created

March 7 2005: CIA briefs Roberts and Rockefeller on torture

March 8, 2005: CIA briefs Roberts, Rockefeller, Goss, and Harman on torture

April 8, 2005: May 10, 2005 Bradbury memos drafted

April 15, 2005: Fax from [redacted], DCI Counterterrorist Center, Briefing Notes on the Value of Detainee Reporting created

April 20, 2005: DOJ announces Comey’s resignation

April 22, 2005: CIA sends Steven Bradbury fax on combining waterboarding and sleep deprivation

May 2005: Jello Jay Rockefeller writes to CIA IG requesting terror tape investigation materials; he doesn’t receive them

May 10, 2005: "Techniques memo" apparently addresses Ghul specifically; "Combined memo" may address Ghul as well

May 30, 2005: "CAT memo" describes Ghul’s torture and describes him as someone typical of the "High Value Detainee" subject to torture

July 9, 2005: Date of letter, purportedly from al-Zawahiri to al-Zarqawi

October 11, 2005: Release date of Zawahiri-Zarqawi letter

June 29, 2006: SCOTUS rules in Hamdan that Geneva Convention applies to al Qaeda detainees

Late summer 2006: Ghul shipped to prison in Pakistan

September 6, 2006: Other High Value Detainees shipped to Gitmo

January 2007: Ghul moved from Pakistani prison, whereabouts unknown

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