Category Archive 'Interrogation'

15 Dec 2014

Don’t Let’s Be Beastly to al Qaeda

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Laura Ingraham: The popular approval of what Jack Bauer does on television is “as close to a national referendum that it’s O.K. to use tough tactics against high-level Al Qaeda operatives as we’re going to get.”

Meanwhile, the Brits have been forbidden by the politicians in Whitehall from so much as yelling or calling terrorists hard names, reports the Telegraph.

British soldiers have “lost their capability” to interrogate terrorist insurgents because of strict new rules on questioning that even ban shouting in captives’ ears, military chiefs have warned.

The rules — detailed in court papers obtained by The Telegraph — also prevent military intelligence officers from banging their fists on tables or walls, or using “insulting words” when interrogating a suspect.

The regulations replaced a previous policy that had to be withdrawn after a series of legal challenges and the death in custody of Baha Mousa, an Iraqi detainee in Basra.

But there is growing disquiet within the ranks that the latest guidelines, officially called Challenge Direct, are so stringent that it makes interrogation pointless.

There is also concern that the rules can be so easily breached — especially given the pressure under which soldiers are operating — that military personnel will be left exposed to legal claims and possible disciplinary action.


Of course, nothing is new under the sun. Remember Noel Coward mocking similar attitudes on the part of the holier-than-thous back in the 1940s?

28 Feb 2010

How Does This Administration Handle High Value Interrogations?

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There were little gasps of surprise last December, when it was learned that Barack Obama’s new politically correct High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG) was not yet operational, and therefore not available to wheedle information out of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab concerning Al-Qaeda-in-the-Arabian-Peninsula (AQAP)’s nefarious plots against the lives of American civilians, using the latest and most advanced forms of Tea and Sympathy.

Apparently, the president’s crack team of sympathetic listeners is now actually in business, but anonymous sources have revealed to Newsweek’s Mark Hosenball that the immaculate inquisitors are not actually being deployed to deal with Taliban military commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

Last summer, the Obama administration announced that, as a replacement for the Bush administration’s secret CIA terrorist detention and interrogation program, it would create a SWAT-style team of interrogation experts to travel the world squeezing terrorist suspects for vital information. Administration officials say that the interrogation unit, known as the HIG (for High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group) is now operational. But for reasons that are unclear, the administration has not deployed HIG personnel to question Afghan Taliban military commander Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, arguably the most important terrorist suspect captured since the detention of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in spring of 2003.

Mullah Baradar was captured by Pakistani security forces in Karachi earlier this month following a tip-off from U.S. intelligence about a planned meeting involving some of his cohorts. … [S]ome sources say that U.S. intelligence personnel in Pakistan, who are believed to include both CIA and military counterterrorism experts, were not given access to Baradar until more than a week after his capture. Obama administration officials now say that Baradar is talking a little, that U.S. personnel in Pakistan do have access to him, and that any intelligence that has been squeezed out of him has been shared with American representatives.

But five U.S. officials, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information, tell Declassified that the HIG—which the Obama administration has billed as a less-controversial alternative to the Bush administration’s use of secret CIA prisons and “enhanced” interrogation techniques that human rights advocates had described as torture—is not being deployed to participate in the questioning of Mullah Baradar. Some of the officials say they find this puzzling, since Baradar, who before his capture served as the Afghan Taliban’s top military commander, is widely believed to possess information that might be very useful to U.S. and allied forces fighting his Taliban comrades in Afghanistan. …

Officials from several government agencies involved in counterterrorism say that the HIG now is operational and that some of its personnel, who are formed into mobile interrogation teams, have already been sent out on highly classified interrogation assignments. But Mullah Baradar’s interrogation is not one of them, the officials affirm. Two of the officials say their understanding was that the reason that HIG personnel had not been sent to question Baradar was because Pakistan’s government was reluctant to allow them to do so. However, two other officials say that the Obama administration did not ask Pakistan for permission to send a HIG team to question Baradar, though these officials would offer no explanation for why the administration would not want to use HIG in this case. A White House official declined to comment on the matter

This leak obviously represents a rejoinder to Obama Administration pious poses regarding enhanced interrogation, drawing Newsweek’s attention to the fact that, since the Obama Administration has forbidden US Intelligence to question captured insurgents rigorously, what do they do when they get a high value prisoner who obviously possesses important information? They don’t rely on their publicly proclaimed policy, or use their shiny new white glove team of nice interrogators. Instead, they turn the prisoner over to the Pakistanis who can get right to work using forms of coercion far beyond anything ever imagined in the Bush Administration playbook.

26 Feb 2010

Democrat Effort to Insert Criminal Penalties into Intel Bill Fails

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With the media and the country distracted yesterday by President Obama’s health care summit, House democrats tried to slip provisions into the intelligence authorization bill that would not only have criminalized a number of controversial interrogation tactics, an “includes but is not limited to” provision would have made anything done by a US interrogator allegedly “degrading” to a prisoner potentially punishable by imprisonment.

Faced with strong Republican opposition and fearing the reaction of the public, the House leadership backed off and removed the entire bill from consideration.

The Hill:

[Intelligence committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) added language, originally offered by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.)] into the intelligence authorization bill that would establish criminal punishment for CIA agents and other intelligence officials who engage in “cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” during interrogations.

Democrats inserted an 11-page addition into the bill late Wednesday night as the House Rules Committee considered the legislation.

The provision, previously not vetted in committee, applied to “any officer or employee of the intelligence community” who during interrogations engages in beatings, infliction of pain or forced sexual acts. The bill said the acts covered by the provision would include inducing hypothermia, conducting mock executions or “depriving the [detainee] of necessary food, water, sleep, or medical care.”

The language gave Congress the discretion to determine what the terms mean, and it would have imposed punishments of up to 15 years in prison, and in some cases, life sentences if a detainee died as a result of the interrogation.


Andrew McCarthy explains just how far the language went:

The provision is impossibly vague — who knows what “degrading” means? Proponents will say that they have itemized conduct that would trigger the statute (I’ll get to that in a second), but it is not true. The proposal says the conduct reached by the statute “includes but is not limited to” the itemized conduct. (My italics.) That means any interrogation tactic that a prosecutor subjectively believes is “degrading” (e.g., subjecting a Muslim detainee to interrogation by a female CIA officer) could be the basis for indicting a CIA interrogator. …

Waterboarding is not all. The Democrats’ bill would prohibit — with a penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment — the following tactics, among others:

    – “Exploiting the phobias of the individual”

    – Stress positions and the threatened use of force to maintain stress positions

    – “Depriving the individual of necessary food, water, sleep, or medical care”

    – Forced nudity

    – Using military working dogs (i.e., any use of them — not having them attack or menace the individual; just the mere presence of the dog if it might unnerve the detainee and, of course, “exploit his phobias”)

    – Coercing the individual to blaspheme or violate his religious beliefs (I wonder if Democrats understand the breadth of seemingly innocuous matters that jihadists take to be violations of their religious beliefs)

    – Exposure to “excessive” cold, heat or “cramped confinement” (excessive and cramped are not defined)

    – “Prolonged isolation”

    – “Placing hoods or sacks over the head of the individual”

Naturally, all of these tactics are interspersed with such acts as forcing the performance of sexual acts, beatings, electric shock, burns, inducing hypothermia or heat injury — as if all these acts were functionally equivalent. …

Democrats are saying they would prefer to see tens of thousands of Americans die than to see a KSM subjected to sleep-deprivation or to have his “phobias exploited.”

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