DOJ Inspector General Report: FBI Concerns About Torture "Ignored"

The Department of Justice's inspector general has finally released its report (434 pg pdf) on the FBI's involvement in detainee interrogations in Gua

The Department of Justice's inspector general has finally released its report (434 pg pdf) on the FBI's involvement in detainee interrogations in Guantanamo, Afghanistan and Iraq. Reuters reports that the "Bush administration's top security officials ignored FBI concerns" and that the "FBI, alarmed by interrogation techniques such as the use of snarling dogs and forced nudity, clashed with the Defense Department and CIA over their use." Please do dig into the document and let us know in the comments any parts that may merit more attention. Emptywheel noticed already that "this report does not and cannot discuss the issues that OLC, Condi Rice, and John Ashcroft apparently faced tells you what we need to know about torture." Hmmm?

Also, David Kurtz notes that:

The IG's report has been delayed in part because the Pentagon slow-rolled its review of the report for classified information.

FBI Director Robert Mueller testified to Congress last month that he had "reached out" to the Pentagon and the Department of Justice "in terms of activity that we were concerned might not be appropriate -- let me put it that way." But it was clear from his testimony that the Justice Department's essentially unilateral legalization of torture had prevented the FBI from investigating the abuses its agents witnessed.

For those interested, here is Chairman Conyers' response (via email, after the jump)

"While I take comfort in knowing that, for the most part, FBI field agents followed the agency's policies regarding interrogations, I find it very disturbing that many senior FBI and DOJ officials failed to take strong action after identifying interrogation abuses. It is my hope that upcoming testimony before our Committee from David Addington, John C. Yoo, John Ashcroft, Daniel Levin, and Douglas Feith will help me understand better why these gaps in policy existed and whether Congress needs to take further action. I will also ask FBI Director Robert Mueller and Attorney General Michael Mukasey to testify before the Committee soon about the conclusions in this report.

"This report highlights the lack of consistent policies and what seems to be a dependence on the Office of Legal Counsel's (OLC) well-known torture memos for guidance. Further, when field agents reported harsh interrogation tactics, the OIG found that senior officials in the FBI and the Justice Department failed to take effective action. The discussion of the discredited OLC opinions in this Report makes even more important our Committee's continuing review of the role of Administration lawyers concerning its troubling interrogation policies. Former Attorney General John Ashcroft did not cooperate with the OIG's requests for information but we hope to hear more from him about this as we seek his testimony on this very issue next month."


↓ Story continues below ↓

Highlights from today's report include the following:

· The vast majority of agents in the field acted in accordance with FBI policy. More than 200 FBI agents, however, observed or heard of harsh interrogation techniques by others, in some instances apparently exceeding the guidelines of military interrogation policy.

· The OIG determined that FBI leadership failed both to provide timely and effective guidance to agents about how to respond to such activity, and to take appropriate steps to end such abuses.

· The report concluded that the FBI and DOJ had little impact in changing military interrogation policies at the sites where abuses were found, in part because of much maligned, and since rescinded, Office of Legal Counsel opinions approving harsh interrogation techniques.

About Bill W.

Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.