a brush with stiff bristles

CIAThe inspector general of the CIA recently released a report detailing some of the earliest policy moves in the interrogation of high value detainees, specifically Abu Zubaydah and Al Nashiri.

The report isn’t too shocking. Really, the conclusion to draw from this report is that the CIA had careful procedures in place to ensure that enhanced interrogation techniques were used appropriately. It’s true, some untrained interrogators went beyond the techniques that the office of legal counsel approved on 8/1/02, but according to this report, some of the unauthorized techniques that were used include blowing smoke in the detainee’s face and washing the detainee with a brush with stiff bristles. Hardly too frightening.

Why all the fuss about treatment of U.S. detainees then? Well the answer is in a VERY often blurred distinction between military interrogators and CIA interrogators. To see how uncontrolled the military was in comparison to the CIA around this time, one need only look at the case of Mohammad Al-Khatani.

The logs for his interrogation are publicly available I believe, and you can read a fairly tame excerpt here. In the end, the military commissions refused to prosecute Khatani because they concluded that he had been tortured. Yes, the military commission our government set up said he had been tortured to the point where the case against him had been compromised.


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