Over at TPM we read
The Justice Department in 2002 told the CIA that its interrogators would be safe from prosecution for violations of anti-torture laws if they believed "in good faith" that harsh techniques used to break the will of prisoners, including waterboarding, would not cause "prolonged mental harm."
If rough treatment of prisoners does not cause
"prolonged mental harm", that doesn't mean it's not torture.
But the Justice Department wanted to redefine torture so that virtually anything goes. And it did.
"no prolonged mental harm" is an irrelevant criteria.
The newly released but heavily censored memo approved the CIA's harsh interrogation techniques method by method, but warned that if the circumstances changed, interrogators could be running afoul of anti-torture laws.
So much for the "bad apples" excuse. Torture techniques were vetted and approved at the highest levels.