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Government Hands Over More Torture Documents

The documents were handed over as a part of our ongoing litigation.
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November 3, 2009

On Friday, the government released more documents detailing the Bush administration’s torture program. The documents were handed over as a part of our ongoing litigation under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for information related to the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody overseas.

The documents released include: a less-classified version of a report from the Justice Department’s (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General relating to the involvement of FBI agents in the interrogations in Guantánamo Bay, Afghanistan and Iraq; documents gathered by the DOJ’s Office of the Inspector General in preparing its report; and CIA documents relating to interrogations at black sites overseas. The newly released documents are among thousands of pages of government records detailing the interrogation of prisoners by the FBI, Department of Defense (DOD) and CIA that have been made public as a result of our lawsuits.

An Associated Press story about the documents reports on some of the gruesome details contained within the documents:

As the CIA began to use harsh interrogation techniques against captured terror suspects, the FBI became wary of the legality of the methods, which ranged from forced nudity to waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning. As a result, FBI agents were ordered not to participate in such harsh interrogations.

Yet sometime in late 2002, an FBI agent interviewed accused Sept. 11 plotter Ramzi Binalshibh at a CIA site. The agent later said he got valuable information out of Binalshibh before the CIA shut down the questioning.

According to one document, FBI officials told investigators when they arrived at the unidentified CIA site “the detainees were manacled to the ceiling and subjected to blaring music around the clock.”

The FBI agents worked with the CIA in developing questions, but were denied direct access to Binalshibh for four or five days, according to a report on detainee interrogations by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine.

The report says eventually one agent was allowed to speak to Binalshibh for about 45 minutes.

“Binalshibh was naked and chained to the floor,” the report said. The FBI agent later said “he obtained valuable actionable intelligence in a short time but that the CIA quickly shut down the interview.”

The report said FBI officials later had serious misgivings about their participation in the Binalshibh interrogation.

The documents released last week add to our knowledge about the origins, scope and consequences of the Bush administration’s torture program. The documents are a reminder of the gross human rights abuses that have yet to be investigated seriously by Congress or the Justice Department

In a press release, Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU’s National Security Project stated, “The last administration’s decision to endorse torture undermined the United States’ moral authority and compromised its security, but the failure of the country’s current leadership to fully confront the abuses of the last administration is only compounding these harms.”

You can find the newly disclosed documents here, search through the over 130,000 pages we’ve unearthed through our lawsuit on our Accountability for Torture site, and read our ongoing account of the Bush administration’s torture program at The Torture Report. After you’ve seen the evidence for yourself, we hope you’ll join us in urging Attorney General Holder to launch a full and thorough torture investigation that follows the facts wherever they may lead.

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