Daniel DellOrto

Torture Connection: 
Point man for torture
  • B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, Notre Dame
  • MBA, Pepperdine University
  • J.D., St. John's University
  • LLM, Georgetown University
  • Served 27 years in U.S. Air Force, retiring at rank of colonel
  • In 1998, as a civilian, named Principal Deputy General Counsel for the Air Force
  • From 2000, served as Principal Deputy General Counsel for the Department of Defense
  • Since 2009, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for A&M General, a military contractor manufacturing Humvee vehicles

Dell'Orto became the go-to guy for defending torture

Throughout the Bush years, Daniel Dell'Orto served as point man for legal issues involving the military, especially at Guantanamo and in Iraq. He was known not so much for developing policy as for explaining it and assuring that it was implemented in a way that pleased higher-ups in the Pentagon and the White House. Dell'Orto led press conferences, testified before congressional committees, and briefed military officers about interrogation techniques, Geneva protections or lack of same, and procedures regarding trials before military commissions. As one of the few Bush officials with an actual military background, his voice had additional credibility, particularly with the media and congress.

Dell'Orto presented torture as a battlefield measure

Dell'Orto participated in meetings in September 2002 that focused on interrogation methods. He later claimed that al Qaeda was familiar with U.S. methods and taught resistance techniques, according to a document that he claimed was an al Qaeda training manual found "on the battlefield." Thus, he said, U.S. soldiers and civilian interrogators working with detainees sought permission to use more extreme interrogation methods, e.g., torture. It has since become clear that the pressure for legalized torture that Dell'Orto described came not from below but from the highest levels of the Bush White House, certainly from Cheney and probably from Bush himself.

Oversaw development of military commissions

Dell'Orto was also active in development of military procedures for putting detainees on trial before military commissions and restricting their rights. At a press conference in 2007, he presented a new Manual for Military Commissions describing a procedure that permitted hearsay testimony and did not provide for habeas corpus. He argued that prisoners at Guantanamo should not be provided with lawyers to help them challenge their imprisonment.

Sources on Daniel DellOrto

Global Research
Washington Post
Senate Judiciary Committee hearing