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CIA Used Gun, Drill in Interrogation

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Lighthizer
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« Reply #45 on: September 06, 2009, 01:20:53 am »

Monday, August 24, 2009


Conyers and Nadler Applaud Appointment of Special Prosecutor
Policymakers and Lawyers Must Also Be Held to Account

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Judiciary Constitution Subcommittee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) issued the following statements in response to the Department of Justice decision to appoint a special prosecutor to review certain cases of alleged abuse of detainees.

"I applaud the Attorney General's decision to appoint a special US Attorney to review the interrogation abuse cases that were rejected for prosecution by George Bush's Justice Department," said Conyers. "The Obama Administration also deserves praise for the release of the 2004 CIA Inspector General report as well as related DOJ memos. These materials are truly disturbing, including the CIA's basic conclusion that 'unauthorized, improvised, inhumane, and undocumented detention and interrogation techniques were used' in its program. Reading about misdeeds such as threats to kill a detainees' children or the staging of mock executions leaves us appalled.

"Today's release --- even of these still heavily redacted materials --- is thus an important step toward restoring the rule of law in this country, and rebuilding our credibility around the world. But much more remains to be done. The gruesome acts described in today's report did not happen in a vacuum. It would not be fair or just for frontline personnel to be held accountable while the policymakers and lawyers escape scrutiny after creating and approving conditions where such abuses were all but inevitable to occur.
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« Reply #46 on: September 06, 2009, 01:21:14 am »

"I have long believed that Department rules require a special counsel to review the entire interrogation program to determine if any crimes were committed. An independent and bipartisan commission should also be convened to evaluate the broader issues raised by the Bush Administration's brutal torture program."

"The CIA Inspector General's report on interrogation practices under the Bush administration is a disturbing record of abuse that details why this must never happen again and why action on the part of the Justice Department is essential," said Nadler. "Today's news that the Attorney General has listened to our many requests and is poised to appoint a special counsel is very much welcome. I applaud the Attorney General for this first step. But, we must go further. As I have said for many months, it is vital that this special counsel be given a broad mandate to investigate these abuses, to follow the evidence where it leads, and to prosecute where warranted. This must be a robust mission to gather any and all evidence without predetermination of where it may lead. Seeking out only the low-level actors in a conspiracy to torture detainees will bring neither justice nor restored standing to our nation."
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« Reply #47 on: September 06, 2009, 01:21:36 am »

'Inhumane' CIA terror tactics spur criminal probe

By DEVLIN BARRETT and PAMELA HESS, AP
22 minutes ago


 'Inhumane' CIA terror tactics spur criminal probe
Deputy White House Press Secretary Bill Burton conducts the daily press briefing of media at a makeshift filing center in the gym at the Oak Bluffs School in Oak Bluffs, Mass., Monday, Aug. 24, 2009. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-general/20090822/US.CIA.Interrogations/
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« Reply #48 on: September 06, 2009, 01:22:14 am »

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration launched a criminal probe Monday into "unauthorized ... inhumane" interrogations of terror suspects during President George W. Bush's war on terrorism, spurred by newly declassified revelations of CIA tactics including threats to kill one suspect's children and to force another to watch his mother sexually assaulted.

At the same time, President Barack Obama ordered changes in future questioning of detainees, bringing in other agencies besides the CIA under direction of the FBI and supervised by his own national security adviser. The administration pledged questioning would be controlled by the Army Field Manual, with strict rules on tactics, and said the White House would keep its hands off the professional investigators doing the work.

Despite the announcement of the criminal investigation, several Obama spokesmen declared anew — as the president has repeatedly — that on the subject of detainee interrogation he "wants to look forward, not back" at Bush tactics. They took pains to say decisions on any prosecutions would be up to Attorney General Eric Holder, not the White House.

Monday's five-year-old report by the CIA's inspector general, released under a federal court's orders, described harsh tactics used by interrogators on terror suspects after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Seeking information about possible further attacks, interrogators threatened one detainee with a gun and a power drill and tried to frighten another with a mock execution of another prisoner.
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« Reply #49 on: September 06, 2009, 01:22:30 am »

Attorney General Holder said he had chosen a veteran prosecutor to determine whether any CIA officers or contractors should face criminal charges for crossing the line on rough but permissible tactics.

Obama has said interrogators would not face charges if they followed legal guidelines, but the report by the CIA's inspector general said they went too far — even beyond what was authorized under Justice Department legal memos that have since been withdrawn and discredited. The report also suggested some questioners knew they were crossing a line.

"Ten years from now we're going to be sorry we're doing this (but) it has to be done," one unidentified CIA officer was quoted as saying, predicting the questioners would someday have to appear in court to answer for such tactics.

The report concluded the CIA used "unauthorized, improvised, inhumane" practices in questioning "high-value" terror suspects.

Monday's documents represent the largest single release of information about the Bush administration's once-secret system of capturing terrorism suspects and interrogating them in overseas prisons.

White House officials said they plan to continue the controversial practice of rendition of suspects to foreign countries, though they said that in future cases they would more carefully check to make sure such suspects are not tortured.
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« Reply #50 on: September 06, 2009, 01:22:48 am »

In one instance cited in the new documents, Abd al-Nashiri, the man accused of being behind the 2000 USS Cole bombing, was hooded, handcuffed and threatened with an unloaded gun and a power drill. The unidentified interrogator also threatened Nashiri's mother and family, implying they would be sexually abused in front of him, according to the report.

Other interrogators told alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, "if anything else happens in the United States, 'We're going to kill your children,'" one veteran officer said in the report.

Death threats violate anti-torture laws. The interrogator denied making a direct threat.

In another instance, an interrogator pinched the carotid artery of a detainee until he started to pass out, then shook him awake. He did this three times. The interrogator said he had never been taught how to conduct detainee questioning.

Top Republican senators said they were troubled by the decision to begin a new investigation, which they said could weaken U.S. intelligence efforts. Sen. Patrick Leahy, the Democratic chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said the revelations showed the Bush administration went down a "dark road of excusing torture."
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« Reply #51 on: September 06, 2009, 01:23:04 am »

Investigators credited the detention-and-interrogation program for developing intelligence that prevented multiple attacks against Americans. One CIA operative interviewed for the report said the program thwarted al-Qaida plots to attack the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan, derail trains, blow up gas stations and cut the suspension line of a bridge.

"In this regard, there is no doubt that the program has been effective," investigators wrote, backing an argument by former Vice President Dick Cheney and others that the program saved lives.

But the inspector general said it was unclear whether so-called "enhanced interrogation" tactics contributed to that success. Those tactics include waterboarding, a simulated drowning technique that the Obama administration says is torture. Measuring the success of such interrogation is "a more subjective process and not without some concern," the report said.

The report describes at least one mock execution, which would also violate U.S. anti-torture laws. To terrify one detainee, interrogators pretended to execute the prisoner in a nearby room. A senior officer said it was a transparent ruse that yielded no benefit.

As the report was released, Attorney General Holder appointed prosecutor John Durham to open a preliminary investigation into the claims of abuse. Durham is already investigating the destruction of CIA interrogation videos and now will examine whether CIA officers or contractors broke laws in the handling of suspects.
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« Reply #52 on: September 06, 2009, 01:23:20 am »

The administration also announced Monday that all U.S. interrogators will follow the rules for detainees laid out by the Army Field Manual. The manual, last updated in September 2006, prohibits forcing detainees to be naked, threatening them with military dogs, exposing them to extreme heat or cold, conducting mock executions, depriving them of food, water, or medical care, and waterboarding.

Formation of the new interrogation unit for "high-value" detainees does not mean the CIA is out of the business of questioning terror suspects, deputy White House press secretary Bill Burton told reporters covering the vacationing president on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts.

Burton said the unit will include "all these different elements under one group" and will be located at the FBI headquarters in Washington.

The structure of the new unit the White House is creating would be significantly broader than under the Bush administration, when the CIA had the lead and sometimes exclusive role in questioning al-Qaida suspects.

Obama campaigned vigorously against Bush administration interrogation practices in his successful run for the presidency. He has said more recently he didn't particularly favor prosecuting officials in connection with instances of prisoner abuse.

Burton said Holder "ultimately is going to make the decisions."

CIA Director Leon Panetta said in an e-mail message to agency employees Monday that he intended "to stand up for those officers who did what their country asked and who followed the legal guidance they were given. That is the president's position, too," he said.

Panetta said some CIA officers have been disciplined for going beyond the methods approved for interrogations by the Bush-era Justice Department. Just one CIA employee — contractor David Passaro_ has been prosecuted for detainee abuse.

___

Associated Press Writers Matt Apuzzo and Jennifer Loven in Washington and Philip Elliott in Oak Bluffs, Mass., contributed to this story.
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« Reply #53 on: September 06, 2009, 01:23:42 am »

CIA interrogators threatened to kill children of 9/11 plotter
Updated at: 0222 PST,  Tuesday, August 25, 2009
http://www.geo.tv/8-25-2009/48174.htm

 WASHINGTON: Interrogators at secret CIA prisons threatened to kill the children of September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, official documents showed Monday.

Interrogators, "said to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed that if anything else happens in the United States, 'We're going to kill your children,'" according to official CIA documents released by the Department of Justice.

Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, was held at secret CIA prisons until 2006 before his arrival at the US detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
 
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« Reply #54 on: September 06, 2009, 01:23:57 am »

CIA Withheld Medical Information From the Justice Department to Obtain Torture Approvals
 http://washingtonindependent.com/56278/cia-withheld-medical-information-from-the-justice-department-to-obtain-torture-approvals
By Spencer Ackerman 8/24/09 4:58 PM

It’s almost enough to generate sympathy for Jay Bybee and John Yoo, the two heads the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2002 who signed off on the infamous torture memos. According to the 2004 CIA inspector general’s report on torture, Bybee and Yoo didn’t make their decisions based on complete information, and information CIA provided to them on the efficacy of torture was, in some cases “appreciably overstated,” “exaggerated” and “probably misrepresented.”

A few months before the March 2002 capture of Abu Zubaydah prompted discussion at the highest levels of the Bush administration as to what interrogation policy ought to be, the CIA in late 2001 solicited a report from James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, two former SERE officials, about how to overcome “countermeasures” al-Qaeda developed to resist interrogation. As a result, the report states, the CIA’s Office of Technical Services “obtained data on the use of the proposed” torture techniques listed in Mitchell and Jessen’s report and the techniques’ “potential long-term psychological effects on detainees.” OTS also got input from the Defense Department’s Joint Personnel Recovery Agency, which oversees the SERE program, as documented in the Senate Armed Services Committee’s torture report from last year. That OTS report was the basis for the information about proposed torture techniques provided to the Justice Department in spring 2002 that Yoo and Bybee, in their August 2002 torture memos, consider for application to Abu Zubaydah.
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« Reply #55 on: September 06, 2009, 01:24:12 am »

In the August 1, 2002 memo written by Bybee and Yoo, the lawyers summarize and refer repeatedly to what the CIA told them about how the “enhanced interrogation techniques” are supposed to work, as well as to assurances that the lawyers then consider material for whether the proposed actions violate U.S. laws. For instance, discussing waterboarding, they write, that water would be applied “in a controlled manner,” and that the CIA orally informed them that “this procedure triggers an automatic physiological sensation of drowning that the individual cannot control even though he may be aware that he is in fact not drowning.”

Just one problem: CIA medical personal objected to the description that OTS gave to the Justice Department as factually inaccurate.

Addressing the discrepancies between how waterboarding worked in the SERE school and how it worked at CIA and other torture techniques that changed between on-paper justification and in-the-field practice, a footnote to the inspector general’s 2004 report reads:
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« Reply #56 on: September 06, 2009, 01:24:25 am »

According to the Chief, Medical Services, OMS [the CIA's Office of Medical Services] was neither consulted nor involved in the initial analysis of the risk and benefits of EITs [”enhanced interrogation techniques,” nor provided with the OTS report cited in the OLC opinion. In retrospect, based on the OLC extracts of the OTS report, OMS contends that the reported sophistication of the preliminary EIT review was probably exaggerated, at least as it related to the waterboard, and that the power of this EIT was appreciably overstated in the report. Furthermore, OMS contends that the expertise of the SERE psychologist/interrogators on the waterboard was probably misrepresented at the time, as the SERE waterboard experience is so different from the subsequent Agency usage as to make it almost irrelevant. Consequently, according to OMS, there was no a priori reason to believe that applying the waterboard with the frequency and intensity with which it was used by the psychologist/interrogators was either efficacious or medically safe.

This is hardly the only time during the Bush administration where the CIA cut out of the loop elements from within its own ranks that might not ratify a decision desired by the Bush administration. During the lead-up to the war with Iraq — indeed, during this same time period of early-mid 2002 — the CIA’s chief analyst, Jami Miscik, cut out of CIA analysis on the alleged relationship between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda the agency’s own Mideast analysts, who were dubious of any substantive connection.

It is unclear if Yoo or Bybee would have changed their analysis had they been treated to a full account of OMS’s perspective. But it’s crystal clear from the report that fateful decisions were made without the benefit of complete information.
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« Reply #57 on: September 06, 2009, 01:24:52 am »

CIA Threatened To Kill Suspect's Children
Interrogator Told Sheikh Mohammed If Any Other Attacks Happened, 'We're Going To Kill Your Children'
Attorney General Eric Holder To Reopen Investigation
http://cbs2.com/national/prisoner.abuse.probe.2.1142061.html?detectflash=false
Aug 24, 2009 12:29 pm US/Pacific

    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, arrested al Qaeda leader and mastermind of September 11 terrorist attacks, is seen on March 1, 2003, after capture during a raid in Pakistan. (File)

    Attorney General nominee Eric Holder testifies during his confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill on Jan. 15, 2009, in Washington DC.

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« Reply #58 on: September 06, 2009, 01:25:07 am »

A newly declassified CIA report says interrogators threatened to kill the children of a Sept. 11 suspect.

The document, released Monday by the Justice Department, says one interrogator said a colleague had told Khalid Sheikh Mohammed that if any other attacks happened in the United States, "We're going to kill your children."

Another interrogator allegedly tried to convince a different terror suspect detainee that his mother would be sexually assaulted in front of him - though the interrogator in question denied making such a threat.

The report, written in 2004, examined CIA treatment of terror detainees following the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It has been declassified as part of a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union.

    * CIA Used Inappropriate Interrogation Tactics?
    * Department Of Justice Office Of Professional Responsibility
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« Reply #59 on: September 06, 2009, 01:25:18 am »

Meanwhile, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. named John Durham, a Justice Department prosecutor, to investigate whether interrogators may have broken any laws by threatening terror suspects.

"I don't think that the attorney general had much choice, politically anyway, but to take this step and launch this criminal investigation," writes CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen. "And even the CIA itself acknowledges that some of its agents, current and former, went beyond legal limits in interrogation. The question is whether crimes were committed and can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt."

This is just an initial step," Cohen adds. "Just because there is now a prosecutor doesn't guarantee we'll see any CIA trials and certainly doesn't ensure any convictions. All of the problems that existed before-problems with classified information and inadmissible evidence-still remain."

Obama campaigned vigorously against President George W. Bush's interrogation policies in his successful run for the presidency. He has said more recently he didn't particularly favor prosecuting Bush administration officials in connection with instances of prisoner abuse. But Holder's decision means the new administration will do precisely that: reopen several such cases with an eye toward possible criminal prosecution.
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