FBI Interrogation Report Shows Internal War
Complaints levied against FBI agents about abusive interrogation tactics at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and other U.S. military sites show a proverbial war of ideals between government interrogators, according to an internal audit released yesterday.
Reports that Guantanamo detainees were being subjected to extreme temperatures, religious abuses and nude interrogation were conveyed at White House meetings of senior officials in 2003, yet the questionable tactics remained in use, a lengthy report by the Justice Department's inspector general concluded.
The report was the latest revelation in a string of disclosures about the federal government's use of harsh interrogation techniques of foreign detainees and suspected terrorists, The Post's Carrie Johnson and Josh White reported today.
The 370-page report, which relied heavily on surveys from FBI agents and complaints from detainees and suspected terrorists, paints a broad picture of key interrogation methods used and the internal debate over how far federal employees should be allowed to go in getting information from suspects.
Among the more specific claims regarding FBI-linked interrogations:
-- An Iraqi detainee, Saleh Muklif Saleh, claimed he was abused by interrogators in an undisclosed military facility in Iraq in early 2004. In a statement to investigators, he said his clothes were cut off; his arms and legs were tied together behind his back in a "scorpion operation;" canned food was hung from his shoulders; and cold water was used in an act similar to simulated drowning called "waterboarding."
Testimonies from four agents who were at Saleh's interrogation -- referred to in the document by the pseudonyms Rohr, Howard, Cisco and Bennett -- differed from one another. Investigators found that Bennett "appeared to be reluctant" in describing what happened, but that his scathing testimony about the actions of other agents was the most credible.
Bennett said he was told by a fellow FBI agent that when techniques, such as the one involving pouring cold water on a detainee, occurred "you leave the room."
Saleh was later transferred to Abu Ghraib prison.
-- Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian national suspected of helping plot the 2000 "Millennium" attack on Los Angeles International Airport, told investigators that in April 2005 at Guantanamo Bay he was told he would be sent to a "very bad place" if he didn't cooperate with FBI interrogators. He was also taken on a "boat ride" to trick him into thinking he was being moved from the detention center.
It was later determined that the FBI investigator during the boat ruse, a woman named "Samantha," was actually an Army sergeant.
Slahi's case has been highlighted by civil rights advocates and prosecutors have not charged Slahi, who is still at Guantanamo Bay, in connection with terrorism plots because of alleged abuse, The Wall Street Journal has reported.
-- Zuhail Abdo Al-Sharabi, a Yemeni detainee accused of helping plot the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, said an FBI special agent used psychological torture against him, including being placed in isolation, doused with perfume and water and having pornographic magazines being placed in his cell so other suspicious inmates could see.
The special agent -- referred to as Demeter in the report -- admitted to the tactics. Other agents who witnessed Al-Sharabi's interrogation called Demeter's techniques "nonsense" that undermined his credibility.
-- Yousef Abkir Salih Al Quarani, a detainee at Guantanamo Bay linked to al-Qaeda, said he was subjected to sleep disruption tactics -- dubbed the "frequent flyer" program -- and being "short chained" for more than 12 hours to interrogation room floors, which involved chains being wrapped around the waists of detainees and being bolted to the floor so the person would be in a stressed, bent position.
Al Quarani also claimed an FBI agent named "Daoud" or "David" subjected him to psychological torture, including taking him to a dark room and having the lights turned on to show pornographic images covering the walls.
A woman in a bikini who spoke Arabic was then brought in, Al Quarani said, and the FBI agent told him that the woman would sleep with him if he cooperated. He refused, he said.
-- An internal investigation was launched after an FBI agent allegedly told his ex-fiance about the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah,al-Qaeda's field operations commander who was arrested in 2002 in Pakistan, and leaked classified information to a TV reporter.
There was no disciplinary action taken against the agent, despite evidence from the ex-fiance that indicated the agent had passed along highly sensitive information about interrogation techniques and practices. The FBI's examination into what happened was later deemed "deficient," according to the inspector general report.
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