Interrogation

Petty Officer 1st class Shane T. McCoy, U.S. Navy / Ben Balter (background)

No post-9/11 official government program was hotly debated, or as ultimately reviled, as the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques.” The CIA's program engendered a robust moral, empirical and legal debate. Today, it still raises questions about congressional oversight, accountability, international law, and human rights at moments of supreme emergency. The military also struggled with coercive interrogation during the early years of overseas counterterrorism operations. And as it seeks to bring former CIA detainees to trial for war crimes, it continues to deal with the lasting consequences of the CIA's program. 

Latest in Interrogation

Interrogation

Special Interrogation Gone Bad: The Samer Al-Arbeed Case

Israel is confronting a national scandal over the hospitalization of an alleged terrorist detained by the Israel Security Agency (ISA). On Aug. 23, three Israeli civilians were hiking near a West Bank water spring when a hidden explosive was detonated by remote control. Seventeen-year-old Rina Shnerb was killed instantly, and her father and brother were injured.

Interrogation

Tabish v. Attorney General and the Legal Framework Governing Physical Coercion in ISA Interrogations

Recent legal developments have again brought the interrogation practices of the Israeli Security Agency (ISA) to the fore. As new details emerged about the first-ever criminal investigation against ISA interrogators over gross misconduct during an interrogation, the ISA’s interrogation practices survived another legal challenge at the Israeli Supreme Court.

Interrogation

‘Special Interrogations,’ Confessions and the Duma Arson Attack

An Israeli district court issued a lengthy decision last month related to the Duma arson attack, the July 31, 2015, fire-bombing of two Palestinian houses by two young Jewish settlers that burned alive an 18-month-old, fatally injured the baby’s parents, and badly wounded the family’s 4-year-old.

Interrogation

What the CIA Could Learn From the U.K. Government Apology Over a Libyan Rendition Case

Abdul-Hakim Belhaj and Fatima Boudchar were my clients. Belhaj led a Libyan Islamist group that sought to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi; Boudchar, a Moroccan citizen, is his wife. The CIA abducted them in 2004 with the help of Libya and the United Kingdom. CIA officers roughed them up at a “black site” in Thailand—a year and a half after Gina Haspel, recently confirmed as director of the CIA, had reportedly shut down the Thai site code-named “Cat’s Eye”—and shipped the couple to Gadhafi’s Libya. At the time, Boudchar was heavily pregnant.

Interrogation

Now that Gina Haspel is CIA Director, It’s Time to Come to Terms With the Torture Program

On Thursday, the Senate voted to make Gina Haspel the next director of the CIA. I don’t know Haspel myself, but I have no reason to doubt that she is someone with a deep-rooted patriotism and a sense of duty to the officers who work under her. By all accounts, she appears to be a highly effective administrator. Her long career in the CIA makes her well suited to understand the agency and its operations, and having served as acting director, she already knows how to run the CIA day-to-day.

Appointments, Confirmations & Budgets

Why We Don’t Support Gina Haspel for CIA Director: A Response to Benjamin Wittes

In his Tuesday post in support of Gina Haspel’s nomination to be director of the CIA, Benjamin Wittes wrote about “the insulation that Haspel stands to provide for the agency from a president hostile to the task of intelligence gathering and analysis.” For this and other reasons, Wittes argued, Haspel should be confirmed—even though President Trump has linked her nomination to his “enthusiasm for torture.” He also wrote that “barring revelations about her role” in running a Thailand “black site” at which d

Interrogation

CIA Releases Declassified Memo on Haspel Involvement in Destruction of Tapes

The CIA released a declassified December 2011 memo by Michael Morell, then the deputy director, about Gina Haspel’s involvement in the destruction of detainee interrogation tapes in 2005. President Trump has nominated Haspel, the current deputy director, to serve as CIA director.

Interrogation

Trump and the Law on Torture

Given President Trump’s enthusiasm, as a presidential candidate, for enhanced interrogation, waterboarding, torture, and “worse,” as well as his eagerness to contrast himself at every opportunity with President Obama, one might have expected to see the use of such methods reinstated after he became President. At the one year mark, however, the issue seems conspicuously absent.

Supreme Court of Israel

‘Pressure Techniques’ and Oversight of Shin Bet Interrogations: Abu Gosh v. Attorney General

Last week, the Supreme Court of Israel issued a decision concerning one of the most sensitive areas of counterterrorism policy and practice. The decision considered so-called “pressure techniques” the Israeli Security Agency (the ISA, known colloquially as the Shin Bet) applied during the interrogation of a terrorism suspect in 2007.

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