ACLU Interested Persons Memo on FBI documents concerning detainee abuse at Guantanamo Bay

Document Date: July 12, 2005

To: Interested Persons
From: Christopher Anders, ACLU Legislative Counsel
Re: FBI documents concerning detainee abuse at Guantanamo Bay

Below is a list of documents obtained by the ACLU and other public interest organizations concerning the abuse of detainees at Guantanamo. All of the documents on this list were obtained through litigation under the Freedom of Information Act. The list is not exhaustive. A more complete index of the documents obtained through the FOIA litigation is available here:

I. RECORDS CONCERNING ABUSIVE INTERROGATIONSFBI Electronic Communication (EC) dated Nov. 25, 2003

Memorandum “”to document information concerning the impersonation by DOD interrogators at GTMO who represented themselves as officials of the FBI in conjunction with interrogation techniques not endorsed by the FBI.”” The memo states that “”DIA has never advised the FBI that they were impersonating an FBI agent as part of their interrogation plan with [REDACTED].””

FBI e-mail dated Dec. 5, 2003

“”Of concern, DOD interrogators impersonating Supervisory Special Agents of the FBI told a detainee that REDACTED. These same interrogation teams then REDACTED. The detainee was also told by this interrogation team REDACTED. These tactics have produced no intelligence of a threat neutralization nature to date and CITF believes that techniques have destroyed any chance of prosecuting this detainee. If this detainee is ever released or his story made public in any way, DOD interrogators will not be held accountable because these torture techniques were done the “”FBI”” interrogators. The FBI will be left holding the bag before the public.””

FBI e-mail dated May 7, 2004

Describes 3 reported incidents, including use of low room temperature, strobe lights and possibly loud music. Another incident involved detainee debriefed for approximately 15 hours, who “periodically threw up in a trash can.”

FBI e-mail dated May 10, 2004

Includes notification of interview of [REDACTED]. “I acknowledged that I was aware and had read the DoD policy on special interrogation techniques that DoD personnel may employ in unique circumstances I stated to the IG that it would be inappropriate for FBI or DOJ personnel to employ these methods.”

FBI interview translation dated May 22, 2004

“”REDACTED stated that he had been beaten unconscious approximately three or four weeks ago when he was still at Camp X-Ray. According to REDACTED, an unknown number of guards entered his cell, unprovoked, and started spitting and curing at him. . . . REDACTED rolled onto his stomach to protect himself, REDACTED state a soldier named REDACTED jumped on his back and started beating him in the face REDACTED then choked him until he passed out. REDACTED stated that REDACTED was beating him because REDACTED was a Muslim . . . .””

FBI e-mail dated July 12, 2004

“”I am responding to your request for feedback on aggressive treatment and improper interview techniques used on detainees at GTMO. I did observe treatment that was not only aggressive, but personally very upsetting, although I can’t say that this treatment was perpetrated by Bureau employees. It seemed that these techniques were being employed by the military, government contract employees and REDACTED””

FBI memorandum dated July 13, 2004

“”On several occasions, I did hear loud music being played and people yelling loudly from behind closed doors of interview rooms but I could not say that detainees were present in those rooms. I also observed strobe lights in interview rooms on several occasions but never observed these being used on detainees.”” “”There were many comments made by investigators during my tenure at GTMO that every time the FBI established a rapport with a detainee, the military would step in and the detainee would stop being cooperative. The military… routinely took control of the detainee when the interview was completed. The next time that detainee was interviewed, his level of cooperation was diminished.””

FBI e-mail dated July 28, 2004

Notes statistics re emails sent and responses to “”GTMO Special Inquiry””: 503 emails sent, 464 have responded, 23 observed aggressive treatment by interrogators/GTMO staff. Email notes that no FBI personnel were involved in the mistreatment, “”it was all conducted by outside agencies. Have you designated a point of contact to review these positive contacts?… The INSD has no knowledge as to what DOD authorized for the legal interrogation process of detainees at GTMO.””

FBI e-mail dated July 30, 2004

“”I saw [a] detainee sitting on the floor of the interview room with an Israeli flag draped around him, loud music being played and a strobe light flashing. I left the monitoring room immediately after seeing this activity. I did not see any other persons inside the interview room with the Israeli flag draped detainee, but suspect that this was a practice used by DOD DHS . . .””

FBI e-mail dated August 2, 2004

“”Here is a brief summary of what I observed at GTMO. On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand a foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food, or water. Most times they had urinated or defecated on themselves and had been left there for 18 24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold. . . . On another occasion, the A/C had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room probably well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his own hair out throughout the night. . . .””

FBI e-mail (undated)

“”BAU personnel witnessed sleep deprivation, REDACTED and utilization of loud music/bright lights/growling dogs in the Detainee interview process by DOD representatives.””

FBI e-mail dated August 2, 2004

States that author observed detainee interviews which included “”tactics that, while not overly aggressive, were clearly not consistent with Bureau interview policy/guidelines To my knowledge there were no FBI personnel involved.””

FBI e-mail dated August 2, 2004

Describes witnessing an “”interview”” with little talking “”because the lights had been turned off and a strobe light was flickering on and off, and loud rock music was being played? for 30 to 60 minutes. I was told by quite a few FBI personnel that tactics such as this were quite common there at the time.”” Author was member of NCAVC in CIRG on tour at GTMO from July 2-24, 2003. In previous email, author states that these tactics were not consistent with Bureau interview/policy guidelines.

FBI e-mail dated August 17, 2004

Update on inquiry requiring personnel at GTMO since 9/11/01 to respond. 530 employees served at GTMO and were notified by email. 478 have responded. 26 of those stated they observed what was believed to be some form of mistreatment and provided summaries of their observations. There were no observations of mistreatment by FBI personnel. The 26 summaries were reviewed by General Counsel Caproni who determined 17 to be approved DOD techniques, and sent 9 for interviews to be conducted this week.

FBI document titled “”FBI Background”” (undated)

Describes abuses witnessed by FBI agents in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo.


“”Attached are some documents that may be of interest to Spike Bowman who I understand is reviewing legal aspects of interviews here in GTMO. They were provided to me by one of the JAG lawyers working at CITF. One of these is a review of interrogation methods by a DOD lawyer. Basically, it appears that the lawyer worked hard to write a legal justification for the type of interviews they (the Army) want to conduct here.””

FBI e-mail dated May 22, 2004

Request for guidance regarding the OGC’s EC regarding detainee abuse, referring to “”interrogation techniques made lawful”” by the “”President’s Executive Order.””

FBI e-mail dated Jan. 20, 2004

“”We had a meeting with TJ Harrington today and he inquired about the outcome of your meeting with DOD (General Miller) regarding REDACTED interrogations in June 2003 where an FBI agent was impersonated. Was that ever resolved? Is there any paper on your meeting we can provide to TJ?””

FBI e-mail dated Jan. 21, 2004

“”Regarding the ‘impersonation,’ I’m still not sure what our issue is here. It’s fairly clear to me that the “”FBI Agent”” wasn’t successful in gaining the detainees cooperation. Thereafter, (months later) REDACTED carried the day with his ruse regarding REDACTED. Once again, this technique, and all of those used in these scenarios, was approved by the Dep Sec. Def.””

Document titled “”Detainee Interview (Abusive Interrogation Issues)”” dated May 6, 2004

“”In late 2002 and continuing into mid-2003, the Behavioral Analysis Unit raised concerns over interrogation tactics being employed by the U.S. military. As a result an EC dated 5/30/03, was generated summarizing the FBI’s continued objections to the use of [REDACTED] techniques to interrogate prisoners. This EC is attached and includes a collection of military documents discussing and authorizing the techniques. We are not aware of the FBI participating directly in any [REDACTED] interrogations. It should be noted that FBI concerns and objections were documented and presented to Major General Geoffrey Miller….””

FBI e-mail dated May 10, 2004

States that given interest in “”interrogation”” and detainee handling techniques at GTMO following Abu Ghraib issues, each BAU member must maintain and be willing to produce emails, notes etc. re GTMO. “”The BAUs are officially on record via ECs to FBIHQ regarding our concern about DOD interrogation techniques and our position recommending ‘rapport based’ doctrine.””

FBI e-mail dated May 13, 2004

“”After we got off the phone, I found the attached E-mail which we sent to General Miller last year. Also, there is a copy of the military’s use of approved coercive techniques which are quite different I am sure from the Bureau guidelines you are preparing.””

FBI e-mail dated May 13, 2004

“”From what cnn reports, gen karpinsky at abu ghraib said that gen miller came to the prison several months ago and told her they wanted to ‘gitmoize’ abu ghraib. I am not sure what this means. However if this refers to intell gathering as I suspect, it suggests he has continued to support interrogation strategies we not only advised against, but questioned in terms of effectiveness.”” Refers to Gen Miller reported comments re rapport-building approach: “”this is not what he was saying at gitmo when i was there.”” Refers to the BAU EC and one written by Miami Division as a “”must read.””

Document titled “”GTMO Issues for SAC Wiley”” (undated)

“”DoD Interrogation Tactics: BAU personnel witnessed sleep deprivation [REDACTED] and utilization of loud music/bright lights/growling dogs in the Detainee interview process by DOD representatives. These tactics were brought to the attention of the appropriate DoD legal personnel who requested that BAU members write out ‘statements’ concerning these matters.””

FBI e-mail dated June 23, 2004

Refers to request by DAD Harrington that speak to General Miller re FBI impersonation, but suggests that meet with [REDACTED] instead.

FBI e-mail dated July 1, 2004

E-mail re “”detainee treatment”” refers to letter to DoD “”to report events that have never formally been reported.””

FBI letter dated July 14, 2004

Describes 3 situations observed by FBI agents of highly aggressive interrogation techniques used against detainees at GTMO. 1. Late 2002, female agent applied lotion, caressed detainee during Ramadan, hands moved to detainees lap, detainee grimaced in pain. Marine said [REDACTED] grabbed detainee’s thumbs and bent them back, and grabbed detainee’s genitals. Marine implied that this was less harsh than her treatment of others, that would result in detainees in fetal position on floor crying in pain. 2. Oct, 2002, [REDACTED]. 3. Sep/Oct 2002, canine used in aggressive manner to intimidate detainee; Nov, 2002, intense isolation for over 3 months in cell always flooded with light – detainee exhibited behavior consistent with extreme psychological trauma.

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