After Torturing Prisoners, "Albert" Rejoins the CIA as a Contractor
It’s safe to say that many employers might frown upon a potential hire who violated domestic and international law.
Not so at the CIA. The Associated Press reported yesterday that a former CIA agent known as “Albert,” who was previously disciplined for torturing detainee Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, has once again found gainful employment with the CIA, this time as a contractor.
Al-Nashiri is accused of planning the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole, and is one of three detainees in CIA custody who were repeatedly waterboarded. But thanks to “Albert,” a more novel act of torture was inflicted upon al-Nashiri.
Last June, during our Document-a-Day Torture Awareness Month initiative, Larry Siems, author of The Torture Report, pointed to a passage in the CIA inspector general’s May 2004 report on the agency’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program. This passage describes the “gun and drill” incident, wherein al-Nashiri was threatened with execution in a secret CIA prison in Poland:
Sometime between 28 December 2002 and 1 January 2003, the debriefer used an unloaded semi-automatic handgun as a prop to frighten Al-Nashiri into disclosing information. After discussing this plan with [REDACTED] “the debriefer entered the cell where Al-Nashiri sat shackled and racked the handgun once or twice close to Al-Nashiri’s head. On what was probably the same day, the debriefer used a power drill to frighten Al-Nashiri. With [REDACTED] consent, the debriefer entered the detainee’s cell and revved the drill while the detainee stood naked and hooded.
“The debriefer,” we learned yesterday, is “Albert.” And as Larry points out in the Torture Report, death threats are specifically prohibited under international and U.S. laws banning torture.
Last week, a New York Times op-ed cited the government’s poor track record of losing 37 out of 52 federal court cases brought by Guantanamo detainees challenging their detention. Over the weekend, in a letter responding to that op-ed, Larry and ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer write:
The Bush torture program was […] a kind of Ponzi scheme of torture, with one prisoner’s tainted confession supplying the basis for the detention of another, and that prisoner’s tainted confession supplying the basis for the detention of still another. This repugnant scheme is what the courts are now uncovering.
Truly repairing America’s reputation will require demonstrating that the architects of such schemes are not above the law.
That “Albert” is again gainfully employed by the CIA is repugnant. Those who authorized and carried out the Bush torture program must be held accountable.