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The US Army Field Manual on Interrogation, sometimes known by the military nomenclature FM 34-52, is a 177-page manual describing to military interrogators how to conduct effective interrogations while conforming with US and international law. It has been replaced by FM 2-22.3 Human Intelligence Collector Operations.

Interrogations during the 'global war on terror'Edit

Hires 060906-D-9880W-053 Kimmons FM 2-22.3

Release of the replacement manual in 2006

During the American war on terror the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld issued "enhanced interrogation techniques" that went farther than those authorized in the Army Field Manual.[citation needed] The extended techniques stimulated debate, both within the Bush administration, and outside it. Various revisions of the extended techniques were issued.

Rumsfeld intended the extended techniques to be used only on the captives the United States classified as "illegal combatants." But extended interrogation techniques were adopted in Iraq, even though captives there were entitled to protection under the Geneva Conventions[citation needed]. General Geoffrey Miller, who was then the director of interrogation of detainees held in Guantanamo Bay, and some of his staff were sent to Iraq to help transfer their interrogation experience. Military Intelligence troops had been using extended techniques in Afghanistan, notably Captain Carolyn Wood. General Ricardo Sanchez, the CO of American forces in Iraq, after input from Miller and his team, and from Captain Wood, issued his own set of extended techniques.

Detainee Treatment ActEdit

On July 25, 2005 Senator John McCain — a POW and torture victim during the Vietnam War — submitted an amendment to a military spending bill, intended to restrict all US government interrogators from using interrogation techniques not authorized in the Army Field Manual.

On October 20, 2005 Vice President Dick Cheney met with McCain to try to convince him to agree that his amendment should only apply to military interrogators. Cheney wanted to continue to allow civilian interrogators, working for US intelligence agencies, to use more extended interrogation techniques. McCain did not agree.

McCain's amendment passed, and is now called the Detainee Treatment Act.

Plans to revise the manual to allow extended techniquesEdit

On April 28, 2005 Defense Secretary Rumsfeld announced that the Army would be revising the manual. The revised manual would have spelled out more clearly which interrogation techniques were prohibited.

On December 14, 2005, the New York Times reported that the Army Field Manual had been rewritten by the Pentagon. Previously, the manual's interrogation techniques section could be read freely on the internet. But the new edition includes 10 classified pages in the interrogation technique section, leaving the public no indication about what the government considers not to be torture.[1]

On June 5, 2006 the Los Angeles Times reported that the Pentagon's revisions will remove the proscription against "humiliating and degrading treatment", and other proscriptions from article 3 of the third Geneva Convention.[2] [3] The LA Times reports that the State Department has argued against the revisions because of the effect it will have on the world's opinion of the United States.

In 2006 there was an ongoing debate over whether the interrogation section should be classified. The New York Times reported that the Pentagon was considering making the interrogation section public once again, but the Pentagon made no formal announcement of its intentions.

On September 6, 2006, the U.S. Army announced the publication of Field Manual (FM) 2-22.3, "Human Intelligence Collector Operations." The Army's news release stated that Field Manual 2-22.3 replaces Field Manual 34-52 (published in 1992). The new manual specifically prohibits many of the controversial enhanced interrogation techniques (including "waterboarding") which brought the matter to public attention, and also stipulates that the list is not all-inclusive of prohibited actions.

See alsoEdit


  1. New Army Rules May Snarl Talks With McCain on Detainee Issue, New York Times, December 14, 2005 - mirror
  2. Geneva references omitted from revised Army interrogation manual, JURIST, June 5, 2006
  3. Army Manual to Skip Geneva Detainee Rule, Los Angeles Times, June 5, 2006

Online versionsEdit

External linksEdit

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