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Obama Wants Some Contractors in Military Interrogations; No Videotaping Interrogations

More from the White House’s letter objecting to certain provisions in the fiscal 2010 defense authorization. I thought this deserved to be quoted in full:

: The Administration objects to section 823 in its current form, which would prohibit contractor personnel from interrogating persons detained during or in the aftermath of hostilities under any circumstances. In some limited cases, a contract interrogator may possess the best combination of skills to obtain critical intelligence and this provision, therefore, could prevent U.S. Forces from conducting lawful interrogations in the most effective manner. The Administration fully supports the application of ordinary Defense Department rules and regulations to contractors engaged in interrogations (as contemplated in subsection (a)(2) of the current section 823), and could support a revised version of the section that would apply such provisions to contractors who participate in interrogations. **The Administration also would object to any amendment requiring video recording of all intelligence interrogations. ** Although the Administration is open to studying a possible video recording requirement, implementing a mandatory requirement at this time would be imprudent, unduly burdensome, and could risk significant unintended consequences in current and future military operations.

Emphasis added. CIA Director Leon Panetta banned contractor involvement in CIA interrogations. Why should contractors be acceptable in military interrogators? After all, the military has a more robust interrogation capability than CIA does. And this video provision is also noteworthy. As a state senator in Illinois, Barack Obama was instrumental in requiring police interrogations to be videotaped, which was both a civil liberties and a quality-control measure.

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