For Immediate Release: November 17, 2010
Washington, D.C. – More than a dozen former interrogators have told Secretary of Defense Robert Gates that a 2006 regulation human rights advocates have long sought to overturn may severely hamper the ability of U.S. interrogators to question terrorism suspects and individuals captured on the battlefield.
In a letter to Gates, 14 interrogators – including those who have questioned high level Al Qaeda suspects and led the nation’s high value detainee interrogation operations – note that the restrictions “make it very difficult, in all but the most sensitive situations, for U.S. interrogators to create an environment of trust and protection that is often necessary to gain the cooperation of certain detainees, especially those who have been identified as ‘high value.’”
At issue is an appendix added to the manual in 2006. The interrogators wrote to Gates that the appendix – known as Appendix M – “places unnecessary restrictions on an effective interrogation technique known as ‘separation.’” Since it was adopted, rights advocates have asked the Pentagon to eliminate the appendix, noting that it contains guidelines that could be construed as permitting U.S. interrogators to use sleep deprivation and sensory deprivation techniques on high value detainees. The interrogators urged Gates to eliminate the appendix altogether.
Signatories to the letter include Ali Soufan, a leading FBI interrogator who questioned high level Al Qaeda suspects such as Abu Zubaydah; Steve Kleinman, a leading author of the 2006 Defense Science Board Educing Information report which the Obama administration has used to help chart interrogation policy; and COL Stuart Herrington, an intelligence officer who ran high value detainee interrogation operations for the U.S. Army in Vietnam, Panama, and Iraq