New Documents Provide Further Evidence That Senior Officials Approved Abuse of Prisoners at Guantánamo

Newly acquired documents obtained by the ACLU show that senior Defense Department officials approved aggressive interrogation techniques that FBI agents deemed abusive, ineffective and unlawful.

"We now possess overwhelming evidence that political and military leaders endorsed interrogation methods that violate both domestic and international law," said Jameel Jaffer, an ACLU attorney. "It is entirely unacceptable that no senior official has been held accountable."

Included in the release is a memorandum prepared by FBI personnel on May 30, 2003, which supplies a detailed discussion of tensions between FBI and Defense Department personnel stationed at Guantánamo in late 2002. According to the memo, Defense Department interrogators were encouraged by their superiors to "use aggressive interrogation tactics" that FBI agents believed were "of questionable effectiveness and subject to uncertain interpretation based on law and regulation."

While some of the documents indicate that FBI personnel objected to Defense Department interrogation policies at Guantánamo, others raise serious questions about the FBI's own policies -- and particularly about the agency's response to the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. In one e-mail, dated January 24, 2004, the FBI's on-scene commander in Baghdad discusses whether the FBI should investigate the abuse or whether it should leave the task to military investigators. The e-mail, which was sent to senior FBI officials at FBI headquarters, advises that the FBI should decline to investigate. "We need to maintain good will and relations with those operating the prison," the e-mail states. "Our involvement in the investigation of the alleged abuse might harm our liaison."

To date, more than 90,000 pages of government documents have been released in response to the ACLU's Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The ACLU has been posting these documents online at //www.aclu.org/torturefoia

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