[Ppnews] Guantanamo interrogations ineffectual

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Tue Mar 22 08:43:18 EST 2005

Guantanamo interrogations ineffectual

Tuesday 22 March 2005 1:24 AM GMT

Aggressive interrogation of terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay yields 
information that is suspect at best, a new FBI document says.

Besides making the admission, an internal FBI email dated 10 May 2004 also 
said Pentagon officials had been reminded by the FBI "of its success for 
many years in obtaining confessions via non-confrontational interviewing 

The document was released on Monday by Senator Carl Levin, a Michigan 

Portions that had previously been blacked out were released to Levin after 
he and Senator Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut Democrat, asked the Justice 
Department to reconsider.

But substantial portions of the document remain blacked out, even in the 
newly released version.

Casting doubts

Among the newly released passages was the statement that law enforcement 
agencies at the Guantanamo concentration camp "were of the opinion that 
results obtained from these interrogations were suspect at best".

This memo did not describe the interrogation techniques and did not say 
which results were considered suspect.

It added that the Justice Department had made its concerns known to 
Pentagon officials, who sometimes were at odds with the FBI over acceptable 
methods of interrogation at Guantanamo Bay, particularly in late 2002.

At that time the military was holding what it considered high-value 
al-Qaida members and military officials sought permission to use 
interrogation techniques that were harsher than allowed under standard 
military practice.

Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved the use of some harsher 
techniques in December 2002 but rescinded the authority in January 2003 
after some inside the military questioned whether they were appropriate.

Rumsfeld then convened a committee that eventually set clearer guidelines.

Another FBI email, also dated 10 May 2004, said that in weekly Justice 
Department meetings, officials had often discussed the military's 
interrogation techniques and "how they were not effective or producing 
intelligence that was reliable".

Mystery author

Both of those 10 May 2004 email messages were originally labelled secret 
and were addressed to Thomas Harrington, an FBI counter-terrorism expert 
who led a team of investigators to Guantanamo Bay.

The name of the author of the memos was blacked out.

Levin said in a statement on Monday that the newly released information 
highlights the fact that Justice Department attorneys had expressed 
concerns about the military's interrogation techniques.

"Today we were able to obtain some information that had previously been 
blacked out in an FBI document critical of Department of Defence (DOD) 
interrogation practices," Levin said.

"As I suspected, the previously withheld information had nothing to do with 
protecting intelligence sources or methods, and everything to do with 
protecting DOD from embarrassment."

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