The US attorney general has appointed special prosecutor John Durham to investigate allegations of abuse of terror suspects. The appointment was made after an internal CIA report released yesterday revealed new allegations of abuse against detainees in Guantanamo Bay and at other secret prisons around the world.
The report outlined treatment of prisoners as "unauthorised, improvised, inhumane and undocumented". Interrogators reportedly used a power drill and handgun during questioning and staged mock executions in adjoining cells to terror suspects. They also made aggressive threats to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the man behind the September 11th attacks claiming "we're going to kill you're children" and threatening another key suspect that his mother would be sexually abused in front of him.
The report also outlined a separate incident in July 2002 where an unnamed agent pressed his fingers into a detainees neck, causing him to pass out and then shaking him awake repeatedly to continue questioning.
The report was made in 2004 but CIA officials have fought since then to keep it secret. After court action from a civil rights group a heavily censored version was released yesterday.
CIA Director Leon Panetta has announced that it is "in many ways an old story" and that he would make "no judgments on the accuracy of the report or the various views expressed about it". He said his primary concern was "to stand up for those officers who did what their country asked and who followed the legal guidance they were given. That is the president's position, too."
Under the direction of Durham the Justice Department is reported to be reopening about a dozen prisoner abuse cases.The announcement of Durham's report comes as President Barack Obama appoints a special team to interrogate terror suspects. The 'High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group' includes members of the FBI and will be supervised by National Security Adviser James Jones.