Bush-era memo saw no-long term waterboarding harm

Former President George W. Bush outside the White House, May 25, 2007. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Waterboarding represented a “threat of imminent death” to a terrorism suspect but the interrogation technique did not constitute torture because there was no evidence it caused lasting mental harm, according to a 2002 U.S. Justice Department legal memo released on Thursday.

The memo also approved interrogation techniques included placing an insect into a suspect’s “confinement box,” slapping, sleep deprivation and shoving a suspect into a wall.

As it released them to the public, the department formally withdrew as no longer valid that memo and three others on interrogations issued during the administration of former President George W. Bush.

Waterboarding is an interrogation technique using simulated drowning that has been widely condemned as torture by human rights advocates.

Reporting by Randall Mikkelsen, Editing by Frances Kerry