Waterboarding

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In August 2002 and March 2003, in its war on terror, the George W. Bush administration, through Jay S. Bybee, the Office of Legal Counsel, Department of Justice, issued what became known as the Torture Memos after being leaked in 2004. These legal opinions (including the 2002 Bybee memo) argued for a narrow definition of torture under US law. The first three were addressed to the CIA, which took them as authority to use the described enhanced interrogation techniques (more generally classified as torture)[citation needed] on detainees classified as enemy combatants. Five days before the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, John Yoo, the acting Office of Legal Counsel, issued a fourth memo to the General Counsel of DOD, concluding his legal opinion by saying that federal laws related to torture and other abuse did not apply to interrogations overseas. The legal opinions were withdrawn by Jack Goldsmith of the OLC in June 2004 but reaffirmed by the succeeding head of the OLC in December 2004. US government officials at various times said they did not believe waterboarding to be a form of torture.