Justice Dept. Report: Reopen Alleged CIA Abuse Cases
The Justice Department's ethics office recommends pursuing alleged prisoner-abuse cases, which could expose CIA employees and contractors to prosecution for their treatment of terror suspects.
The Justice Department's ethics office has recommended to Attorney General Eric Holder that a number of alleged CIA prisoner-abuse cases that were closed under the Bush administration be reopened, FOX News confirms.
Holder considers the guidance as his department is set to make public a 2004 report by the CIA's inspector general detailing allegations of prisoner abuse.
Several details in the report have already been reported, including claims that interrogators threatened at least one prisoner with a gun and power drill and also conducted mock executions to scare detainees.
A source with knowledge of the Office of Professional Responsibility's recommendations suggested as many as 10 cases could be reopened.
The move would reverse the policy of the Bush administration and could expose CIA employees and agency contractors to criminal prosecution for the alleged mistreatment of terror suspects in the years after the Sept. 11 attacks.
In another development, President Obama signed off on setting up a special interrogation team that would be placed at the FBI but report directly to the White House-based National Security Council.
Though such work typically falls under the CIA, one senior U.S. official told FOX News that the CIA did not want to house the new initiative.
"They're glad to be out of the long-term detention business," the official said.
According to the Washington Post, the new unit would be named the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group and would be composed of experts in this field from the law enforcement and intelligence community. Obama was said to have approved creation of the unit late last week.
The Associated Press reported July 18 that such an endeavor was in the works. A government official said at the time that a special presidential task force on interrogation methods concluded the unit should be created, but was uncertain which agencies would have a role.
The unit's structure would depart significantly from such work under the Bush administration, when the CIA had the lead and sometimes exclusive role in questioning Al Qaeda suspects. The task force had not at that juncture in early summer reached a conclusion as to which agency should lead the unit or where it should be based, the official said.
One official, who spoke on grounds of anonymity because a final decision was still pending, said such a unit would not alter the administration's decision banning harsh interrogation techniques such as waterboarding, that were authorized by the Bush administration, saying the task force was examining what other techniques could be used.
For his part, Holder is considering whether to appoint a special criminal prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration's interrogation practices, a controversial move that would run counter to Obama's wishes to leave the issue in the past.
But Holder reportedly reacted with disgust when he first read accounts of prisoner abuse earlier this year in a classified version of the IG report.
A federal judge has ordered the IG report made public Monday, in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Change - to a banana republic.