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Intro: "The Justice Department announced Thursday it has ended its investigation into CIA interrogations of terrorist detainees without bringing criminal charges."

CIA Headquarters. The US Government will not bring about criminal charges for the death of Gul Rahman who died in the early hours of Nov. 20, 2002, after being shackled to a cold concrete wall. (photo: AFP)
CIA Headquarters. The US Government will not bring about criminal charges for the death of Gul Rahman who died in the early hours of Nov. 20, 2002, after being shackled to a cold concrete wall. (photo: AFP)



Justice Department Won't Bring Charges Over CIA Interrogations

By Pete Yost, Associated Press

31 August 12

 

he Justice Department announced Thursday it has ended its investigation into CIA interrogations of terrorist detainees without bringing criminal charges.

The decision in the probes 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 W. Bush.

Durham has looked into the treatment of 101 detainees in U.S. custody since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Durham's probe 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 Sept. 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.

In regard to the just-completed probe 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."

Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, called the outcome of the investigation "nothing short of a scandal."

"Continuing impunity threatens to undermine the universally recognized prohibition on torture and other abusive treatment," Jaffer said.

Durham's review examined whether CIA interrogators used any unauthorized interrogation techniques, and if so, whether the techniques could constitute violations of the torture statute or any other laws. The approach taken in the probe was not to prosecute anyone who acted in good faith and within the scope of the legal guidance given by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel regarding the interrogation of detainees.

Thursday's announcement came in the deaths of Gul Rahman and Manadel al-Jamadi.

Rahman died in the early hours of Nov. 20, 2002, after being shackled to a cold concrete wall in a secret CIA prison in northern Kabul, Afghanistan, known as the Salt Pit. He was suspected of links to the terrorist group al-Qaida. Rahman is the only detainee known to have died in a CIA-run prison.

Before Durham looked into Rahman's death, two other federal prosecutors conducted separate reviews and could not prove the CIA officer running the Salt Pit had intended to harm the detainee — a point made in a government document that has been released publicly.

Al-Jamadi died in 2003 at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. A military autopsy declared al-Jamadi's death a homicide.

At Abu Ghraib prison, instead of turning al-Jamadi over to the Army, CIA officers took him to a shower stall. They put a sandbag over his head, cuffed his hands behind his back and chained his arms to a barred window. When he leaned forward, his arms stretched painfully behind and above his back.

Within an hour, he was dead.

At least three CIA employees came under scrutiny, including a paramilitary officer who ran what was known as the detainee exploitation cell at Abu Ghraib.

The officer was on the raid when a group of Navy SEALs captured al-Jamadi. He processed al-Jamadi into the prison but he was not in the shower room when al-Jamadi died.

The officer failed to have a doctor supervise al-Jamadi before he was processed into the prison, violating agency procedures. The officer, who was reprimanded over the incident, now works for a defense contractor.

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+12 # phrixus 2012-08-31 08:49
Torture is now a formally approved US government sanctioned policy, international treaties and laws be damned. We murder US citizens as well as civilian non-combatants with impunity. The US now stands waist-deep in the slime with our enemies. We have become one and the same.
 
 
+10 # Trueblue Democrat 2012-08-31 09:11
How is it the Justice Department can "look into" and clear CIA personnel accused of torture and other reprehensible acts, but "terrorists" languishing in our dungeons at Gitmo, Bagram and CIA only knows where else cannot be brought to trial for fear of compromising "State Secrets"?

Did Durham just look until he ran into a "State Secret" and then back away? If so, then by the standard the DoJ has used in court cases involving "terrorists" the accused CIA agent should remain incarcerated until such time as the pesky "State Secret" has expired -- along about Shrove Tueday, 2050.
 
 
+3 # tedrey 2012-08-31 09:39
The statement is 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."
This is NOT a statement that there was no criminality involved. It DOES imply that there was serious cause to believe so, but the needed evidence was all withheld on the usual glib "security" grounds.
 
 
+11 # Archie1954 2012-08-31 09:42
Justice will now have to be served by foreign judicial systems. The US form of "justice" is actually non existant and has become another branch of the political system.
 
 
+2 # RMDC 2012-09-01 06:42
Good point. That is exactly what the charter of the International Criminal Court says. It will step in when the national justice system is incapable of or refuses to prosecute significant crimes against humanity.

IT is time for the ICC to indict a boatload of Americans --both in the Bush and the Obama administrations .
 
 
+3 # Dave45 2012-09-01 01:09
Since our attorney general doesn't seem to have much of a stomach either for prosecuting or convicting, I would be interested in knowing just what it is that the Dept. of Justice does these days. Furthermore, if I can find an answer to that question, I would also be interested in knowing why Mr. Obama, a constitutional lawyer by trade, seems to have so little interest in matters of law and justice.
 
 
0 # RMDC 2012-09-02 06:12
Dave -- all of our elected and appointed officials have been bought and paid for by the military industrial banking complex. This includes Israel. No president or attorney general will ever indict anyone from MIBC. Bribery and corruption work. they are stronger than the law. they are the law in the US -- he who pays the bills calls the shots.
 
 
0 # Kwelinyingi 2012-09-01 10:32
When the abuse of power gets to a point of no return (when all possible routes for redress are closed), democracy takes one more giant leap backwards. With each step backward, the people are rendered more impotent. And so the cycle continues. Yet the ongoing belief in American exceptionalism remains as deeply entrenched as ever. We are now a gangster nation. And unashamedly so.
 
 
0 # unitedwestand 2012-09-03 20:22
Okay then, start prosecuting (President)Chen ey, Bush, Rumsfeld, all the lawyers etc.
 

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