More than 25 of the CIA’s war-on-terror prisoners were subjected to sleep deprivation for as long as 11 days at a time during the administration of former president George Bush, according to The Los Angeles Times.
At one stage during the war on terror, the Central Intelligence Agency was allowed to keep prisoners awake for as long as 11 days, the Times reported, citing memoranda made public by the Justice department last month.
The limit was later reduced to just over a week, the report stated.
Sleep deprivation was one of the most important elements in the CIA’s interrogation programme, seen as more effective than more violent techniques used to help break the will of suspects.
Within the CIA it was seen as having the advantage of eroding a prisoner’s will without leaving lasting damage.
The technique is now prohibited by President Barack Obama’s ban on harsh interrogation methods issued in January, although a task force is reviewing its use along with other interrogation methods, The Times said.
But details in the Justice Department memos released by Mr Obama suggest that the method, which involved suspects standing for days on end, dressed only in a nappy and shackled to the floor, was more controversial than previously known.