William Ranney Levi
Yale University - Law School
April 17, 2009
Yale Law Journal, Vol. 118, p. 1434, 2009
Conventional wisdom states that recent U.S. authorization of coercive interrogation techniques, and the legal decisions that sanctioned them, constitute a dramatic break with the past. This is false. U.S. interrogation policy well prior to 9/11 has allowed a great deal more flexibility than the high-minded legal prohibitions of coercive tactics would suggest: all interrogation methods allegedly authorized since 9/11, with the possible exception of waterboarding, have been authorized before. The conventional wisdom thus elides an intrinsic characteristic of all former and current laws on interrogation: they are vague and contestable, and thus, when context so demands, manipulable.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 50
Date posted: April 18, 2009 ; Last revised: October 6, 2009