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Did the FBI Want People Tortured?

Adam Serwer at The American Prospect tears through a weekend dump of torture documents and finds something disturbing in an FBI inspector general’s report about

Elisa Mueller
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Nov 02, 2009

Adam Serwer at The American Prospect tears through a weekend dump of torture documents and finds something disturbing in an FBI inspector general’s report about a Guantanamo detainee, Mohammed al-Qahtani, who was tortured in 2003:

[W]e also learned about a proposal advanced by certain officials from the FBI and DoJ in late 2002 to change the circumstances of [Mohammed] Al-Qahtani‘s interrogation. A draft letter prepared for the purpose of presenting this proposal to the National Security Council indicated that this proposal involved subjecting Al-Qahatani to interrogation techniques of the sort that had previously been used by the CIA on Zubaydah and another detainee. DOJ and FBI officials involved with this proposal stated to us that the rational for this proposal was to bring more effective interrogation techniques to bear on Al-Qahtani than the ineffective interrogation techniques that the military had been using up to that time. The techniques that had been previously used by the CIA on Zubaydah included methods that did not remotely resemble the rapport-based techniques that are permitted under FBI policy.

Serwer writes, “It’s unclear who within the FBI recommended that the CIA torture Al-Qahtani after the military had already done so, but it seems to me that this is a pretty harrowing example of how torture can’t be contained once its use is legitimized.”

Elisa Mueller | Elisa Mueller was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to a mother who taught reading and a father who taught film. As a result, she spent an excessive amount of her childhood reading books and watching movies. She went to the University of Kansas for college, where she earned bachelor's degrees in English and journalism. She moved to New York City and worked for Entertainment Weekly magazine for ten years, visiting film sets all over the world.


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