Out of a Black hole
Bush gets specific in making his case to resume CIA jailings
So controversial were the techniques that the FBI barred its agents from taking part in CIA-led interrogations. "Just because a horrible tragedy happened doesn't mean the rules have to go out the window," says Coleman, now a senior consultant at Harbinger Technologies.
Up to the line. The CIA program began as an ad hoc solution to a pressing dilemma of what to do with what the CIA calls "high value" targets. But it evolved into a surprisingly formal structure, officials say. Interrogators were drawn from an experienced pool of CIA operatives who had to undergo 250 hours of advanced training sessions. Interrogations were monitored by nonparticipants who had the power to terminate any session if an interrogator stepped over the line.
Now, Bush wants Congress to insulate CIA personnel from any legal ramifications, a move that would allow the CIA to reopen its prisons. "The CIA will tell you they are second to none as interrogators and partly because they are better trained and more effective, other peoples' rules shouldn't apply to them," says Holt. "I find that attitude troubling." Some Democrats also complain that congressional oversight was insufficient.
On September 4, 14 of the most senior al Qaeda prisoners arrived in GuantÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ¡namo Bay. In the coming weeks, they will meet with lawyers for the first time, as well as the International Committee for the Red Cross. The CIA is likely to be embarrassed as some of the accounts of the conditions of their detention begin to emerge. There is one other problem: Prosecution could be challenging, particularly because much of the evidence against the prisoners came from their own accounts, which were extracted during coercive CIA interrogations.
With David E. Kaplan and Anna Mulrine