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Chairman Conyers on DOJ IG Interrogation Report

Posted on by Jesse Lee

From the Judiciary Committee:

Conyers Seeks More Answers at Upcoming Hearings on Administration Interrogation Abuses

(Washington, DC)- Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) said he is seeking answers to questions raised in a report issued today by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a report entitled, “A Review of the FBI’s Involvement in and Observations of Detainee Interrogations in Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan and Iraq.” He released the following statement in response to the report's release:

“While I take comfort in knowing that, for the most part, FBI field agents followed the agency’s policies regarding interrogations, I find it very disturbing that many senior FBI and DOJ officials failed to take strong action after identifying interrogation abuses. It is my hope that upcoming testimony before our Committee from David Addington, John C. Yoo, John Ashcroft, Daniel Levin, and Douglas Feith will help me understand better why these gaps in policy existed and whether Congress needs to take further action. I will also ask FBI Director Robert Mueller and Attorney General Michael Mukasey to testify before the Committee soon about the conclusions in this report.

“This report highlights the lack of consistent policies and what seems to be a dependence on the Office of Legal Counsel’s (OLC) well-known torture memos for guidance. Further, when field agents reported harsh interrogation tactics, the OIG found that senior officials in the FBI and the Justice Department failed to take effective action. The discussion of the discredited OLC opinions in this Report makes even more important our Committee’s continuing review of the role of Administration lawyers concerning its troubling interrogation policies. Former Attorney General John Ashcroft did not cooperate with the OIG’s requests for information but we hope to hear more from him about this as we seek his testimony on this very issue next month.”

Highlights from today’s report include the following:

· The vast majority of agents in the field acted in accordance with FBI policy. More than 200 FBI agents, however, observed or heard of harsh interrogation techniques by others, in some instances apparently exceeding the guidelines of military interrogation policy.
· The OIG determined that FBI leadership failed both to provide timely and effective guidance to agents about how to respond to such activity, and to take appropriate steps to end such abuses.
· The report concluded that the FBI and DOJ had little impact in changing military interrogation policies at the sites where abuses were found, in part because of much maligned, and since rescinded, Office of Legal Counsel opinions approving harsh interrogation techniques.

A copy of the report may be found here.

Read more on the upcoming hearing >>

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