BLITZER: Waiting to hear from the president of the United States. We'll go there as soon as he starts speaking. He's expected to respond to Raul Castro. The latest overture is going back and forth between the U.S. and Cuban governments. Stand by for that.
Images of hooded detainees we've seen this before but secret memos just released are giving America and the world a whole new look at some interrogation tactics okayed by the Bush administration. Techniques some consider torture and now there's new fallout from the decision to make the documents public. We asked CNN's Brian Todd to take a closer look at these unfolding developments. Brian?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the images presented in these memos are still reverberating. For example, the sanction of waterboarding where Bush administration lawyers outline how to pour water on a suspect's face to create the sensation of drowning, rules which according to the memos released were often broken by using larger volumes of water than allowed. Sleep deprivation where a suspect is shackled standing up sometimes for almost 11 days straight, all designed to get information from terror suspects. But now the release of these memos is turning into one of President Obama's most scrutinized moves.
TODD (voice-over): Much of the push back comes from those who served on President Bush's security team, who say his successor is tying his own hands in the future fight against terror. Former CIA director Michael Hayden and former attorney general Michael Mukasey write in the "Wall Street Journal", "The release of the opinions on interrogations will invite the kind of institutional timidity and fear of recrimination that weakened intelligence gathering in the past. And that we came to sorely regret on September 11." They and former homeland security adviser Fran Townsend, a CNN analyst, also argue that methods like cramped confinement for a limited time used against al Qaeda suspect Abu Zubaydah worked in locating the 9/11 mastermind.
FRANCES TOWNSEND, FORMER BUSH HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER: The use and technique led to the ultimate capture of Khalid Sheikh Muhammad. So there is an argument to be made that in limited circumstances these techniques can be effective in preventing terrorist attacks.
TODD: But techniques that were not as harsh have worked just as well says a former army lawyer who's now a human rights advocate.
BRIG. GE. JAMES P. CULLEN (RET.), HUMAN RIGHTS FIRST: We got the top guy in al Qaeda and Mesopotamia by using techniques that army military intelligence used in accordance with the manual and we got excellent information.
TODD: Another key question moving forward, consequences for those involved in the use of these techniques. The Obama administration says CIA officials won't be prosecuted. But what about Bush administration lawyers who wrote that methods like stress positions and sleep deprivation were legal, like top Justice Department officials Jay Bybee and Steven Bradbury.
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: We need to know the facts, but we don't need a witch hunt. I don't think that's appropriate for the people who are working in the agency. I also don't think it's something that Barack Obama needs in his presidency right now.
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TODD: Still Senator Patrick Leahy and Congressman John Conyers, democrats who head the judiciary committees in congress are both calling for independent commissions outside congress to investigate the drafting of these memos. When we pressed them, aides to Leahy and Conyers would not say whether they would want Jay Bybee and Steven Bradbury specifically called before those commissions. Wolf?
BLITZER: Brian, there's still very much the possibility that officials elsewhere around the world, especially in Spain could not only investigate but charge some of these Bush administration officials.
TODD: That is possible. A Spanish judge just today went against recommendations of prosecutors and kept alive an investigation into whether Jay Bybee, also former attorney general Alberto Gonzales and other Bush administration officials broke international law when writing some of these interrogation guidelines. So those possibilities still technically exist.