United States: Interrogation of Detainees

Lord Sheikh:

    To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the methods of interrogation of detainees revealed in the documents declassified by the Government of the United States.

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, we welcome the decision to disclose this material. We also welcome President Obama’s Executive Order of 22 January restricting methods of interrogation to those outlined in the US army field manual. The UK does not employ any of the techniques set out in these memos during interrogation. The Foreign Secretary has made clear that we consider waterboarding to be torture.

Lord Sheikh: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his response. The Obama Administration have been very honest and have told the world about the interrogation techniques. Will the Minister be equally honest and tell your Lordships’ House whether we were aware that these techniques were being used and whether we used the information obtained by them in the United Kingdom?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, as I indicated in my original Answer, these techniques are not used by any British personnel during interrogation. The information obtained by the United States is taken in good faith. The noble Lord will appreciate that it is not possible for us alone to conduct the necessary defensive strategy against terrorism. We need co-operation with other states, and that co-operation is based on the information which they supply. We would not knowingly use any information that involved techniques of interrogation which we were not prepared to use.