US justice department rules out prosecutions over CIA prison deaths

By | September 2, 2012

US justice department rules out prosecutions over CIA prison deaths

Human rights group describes outcome as ‘nothing short of a scandal’ after investigation into treatment of detainees is closed

The US justice department has announced it has ended its investigation into CIA interrogations of terrorist detainees without bringing criminal charges.

The decision in the inquiries of the deaths of two terrorist suspects marks the end of a wide-ranging criminal investigation by federal prosecutor John Durham into interrogation practices during the presidency of George Bush.

Durham has looked into the treatment of 101 detainees in US custody since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Durham’s inquiry into another episode involving the CIA began in January 2008 when the justice department chose him to conduct a criminal investigation into the agency’s destruction of videotapes it had made of its interrogations of terrorist suspects.

In August 2009, attorney general Eric Holder expanded Durham’s mandate to include a preliminary review of the CIA’s interrogation of specific detainees overseas. In June 2011, Holder approved Durham’s request to move into a full criminal investigation of the two deaths.

The 2009 expansion followed the public release of an internal CIA inspector general’s report that revealed agency interrogators once threatened to kill a 9/11 suspect’s children, and suggested another would be forced to watch his mother be sexually assaulted. The report said some CIA interrogators went beyond Bush administration restrictions that gave them wide latitude to use severe tactics such as waterboarding, a simulated drowning technique.

About the just-completed investigation of the two detainees’ deaths, Holder said that “based on the fully developed factual record concerning the two deaths, the department has declined prosecution because the admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt.”

In a message to employees Thursday, CIA director David Petraeus said that “as intelligence officers, our inclination, of course, is to look ahead to the challenges of the future rather than backwards at those of the past. Nonetheless, it was very important that we supported fully the justice department in its efforts” and “I would like to thank everyone who played a role” in doing so.

Former CIA director Michael Hayden said he was “heartened that the investigation is complete, and I’m heartened by the results. I had great confidence in Mr Durham. I just regret that many CIA officers had to go through yet another review of these activities.” …


Many? How many? How many officers tortured people to death? The Justice Department should be renamed.

Category: War

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