DOJ Official: Rumsfeld Personally Approved of Brutal Interrogations
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld personally authorized the use of brutal interrogation techniques against suspected terrorists imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay despite warnings from the FBI that the methods amounted to inhumane treatment, was possibly illegal, and would not produce reliable intelligence, a Department of Justice inspector general testified Tuesday.
“The FBI believed that these techniques were not getting actionable information, that they were unsophisticated and unproductive,” said Glenn Fine, the DOJ’s inspector general, in testimony Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “They raised their concerns with the Department of Defense, but the Department of Defense, from what we were told, dismissed those concerns and that no changes were made in the Department of Defense’s strategy.”
Rumsfeld, who resigned immediately after the 2006-midterm elections, has vehemently denied that he approved of torture. The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel provided the Defense Department with legal guidelines that authorized techniques such as waterboarding, the use of military dogs, and “slaps” and concluded that as long as “organ failure” did not occur the methods could not be construed as torture.
Fine issued a 437-page report last month on the Bush administration’s interrogation policies, which found that White House officials ignored FBI concerns about the treatment of detainees.
His testimony comes on the heels of a letter signed by 56 House Democrats that was sent to Attorney General Michael Mukasey last week Friday requesting that he appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether White House officials, including President Bush, violated the War Crimes Act when they allowed interrogators to use brutal interrogation methods against detainees suspected of ties to terrorist organizations.
“The Bush administration may have systematically implemented, from the top down, detainee interrogation policies that constitute torture or otherwise violate the law,” the letter to Mukasey says. “We believe that these serious and significant revelations warrant an immediate investigation to determine whether actions taken by the President, his Cabinet, and other Administration officials are in violation of the War Crimes Act, the Anti-Torture Act, and other U.S. and international laws.”
In October 2002, Fine said, FBI agents raised concerns with Marion Bowman, the Justice Department’s deputy general counsel in charge of national security, about the methods used during interrogations at Guantanamo Bay. An FBI agent stationed at Guantanamo then sent the agency an analysis on November 27, 2002 calling into question the legality of the interrogation techniques, stating that the methods used appeared to violate the U.S. Torture statute. Bowman then alerted Jim Haynes, the DOD’s general counsel.