Letter from Interrogators: Release the SSCI Report
February 25, 2014
We write to you as current and former professional interrogators, interviewers, and intelligence officials regarding the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s (SSCI) 6000-plus page study of the CIA’s post-9/11 rendition, detention, and interrogation program. We understand that the SSCI may soon take up the issue of whether to pursue declassification and public release of the study. In the interest of transparency and furthering an understanding of effective interrogation policy, we urge you to support declassification and release of as much of the study as possible, with only such redactions as are necessary to protect national security.
Since the CIA program was established over a decade ago, there has been substantial public interest in, and discussion of, the fundamental efficacy of the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” (EITs). Despite the employment of these methods, critical questions remain unanswered as to whether EITs are an appropriate, lawful, or effective means of consistently eliciting accurate, timely, and comprehensive intelligence from individuals held in custody. Based on our experience, torture and other forms of abusive or coercive techniques are more likely to generate unreliable information and have repeatedly proven to be counterproductive as a means of securing the enduring cooperation of a detained individual. They increase the likelihood of receiving false or misleading information, undermine this nation’s ability to work with key international partners, and bolster the recruiting narratives of terrorist groups.
We would like to emphasize that this view is further supported by relevant studies in the behavioral sciences and publicly available evidence, which show that coercive interrogation methods can substantially disrupt a subject’s ability to accurately recall and convey information, cause a subject to emotionally and psychologically “shut down,” produce the circumstances where resistance is increased, or create incentives for a subject to provide false information to lessen the experience of pain, suffering, or anxiety.
Despite this body of evidence, some former government officials who authorized the CIA’s so-called “enhanced interrogation” program after 9/11 claim that it produced a significant and sustained stream of accurate and reliable intelligence that helped disrupt terrorist plots, save
American lives, and even locate Osama Bin Laden. While some of the particular claimed successes of the program have been disproven based on publicly available information, the broader claim that the EIT program was necessary to disrupt terrorist plots and save American lives is based on classified information unavailable to the public.
The SSCI study—based on a review of more than 6 million pages of official records—provides an important opportunity to shed light on these important questions. We understand that the
SSCI minority and CIA have separate views regarding the meaning and significance of the official documentary record. Those views are important and should also be made public so that the American people have an opportunity to decide for themselves whether the CIA program was ultimately worth it.
It is beyond time for this critical issue of national importance to be driven by facts—not rhetoric or partisan interest. We therefore urge you to vote in favor of declassifying and releasing the SSCI study on the CIA’s post-9/11 interrogation program.
Tony Camerino – U.S. Air Force
Glenn Carle – CIA
James T. Clemente – FBI
Jack Cloonan - FBI
Gerry Downes - FBI
Mark Fallon - NCIS
Brigadier General David R. Irvine – U.S. Army (Ret.)
Steven Kleinman – U.S. Air Force
Marcus Lewis – U.S. Army
Mike Marks – NCIS
Robert McFadden – NCIS
Charles Mink – U.S. Army
Joe Navarro – FBI
Torin Nelson – U.S. Army
Erik Phillips – U.S. Army
William Quinn – U.S. Army
Buck Revell – FBI
Mark Safarik – FBI
Haviland Smith – CIA
Lieutenant General Harry E. Soyster – U.S. Army (Ret.)
Tony Camerino has spent over eighteen years in the U.S. Air Force and Air Force Reserves. He personally conducted more than 300 interrogations in Iraq and supervised more than 1,000. Camerino was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his achievements in Iraq, including leading the team of interrogators that located Abu Musab al Zarqawi, who was subsequently killed in an airstrike. Camerino has conducted missions in over thirty countries, has two advanced degrees, and speaks three languages. He is the author (under the pseudonym Matthew Alexander) of How to Break a Terrorist: The U.S. Interrogators Who Used Brains, Not Brutality, to Take Down the Deadliest Man in Iraq (Free Press, 2008) and Kill or Capture: How a Special Operations Task Force Took Down a Notorious al Qaeda Terrorist (St. Martin’s Press, 2011).
Glenn L. Carle served twenty-three years in the Clandestine Services of the Central Intelligence Agency, working in a number of overseas posts on four continents and in Washington, DC. Mr. Carle has worked on terrorism issues at various times since the mid-1980s. He has worked extensively on Balkan, Central American, and European political, security, and economic issues. His last position was as Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Transnational Threats, on the National Intelligence Council, where his office was responsible for strategic analysis of terrorism, international organized crime, and narcotics issues.
James T. Clemente, FBI SSA (Retired)
Retired FBI Supervisory Special Agent (for 22 years), Clemente was a member of the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC) Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU), an integral part of the Critical Incident Response Group, which provides behavioral support during all FBI crisis incidents. Clemente has analyzed hundreds of cases for and has provided investigative, prosecutive, and sentencing guidance to FBI agents, federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, psychologists, social workers, and other professional organizations across the United States and overseas in cases involving sexual exploitation of children, child pornography, child sex abuse, child prostitution, child abduction, serial rape, incest, sexual assault, sexual homicide, serial homicide, kidnapping, and equivocal death.
Jack Cloonan served as a special agent with the FBI from 1977 to 2002. He began investigating Al Qaeda in the early 1990’s and served as a special agent for the Bureau's Osama bin Laden unit from 1996 to 2002.
Former Special Agent of the FBI from 1984-2009. In 1995, Gerry was promoted to Supervisory Special Agent and transferred to the newly established Child Abduction Serial Killer Unit (CASKU) in Quantico, Virginia. He served in that position until June 2006, and during his tenure, the Unit name was changed to the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime (NCAVC), Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU). The BAU provides immediate investigative and behavioral assistance to Local, State, Federal and International Law Enforcement Agencies in all types of violent crime cases, including child abductions and mysterious disappearance of children, serial murder, single homicides, serial rape, extortion, threats, kidnapping, product tampering, arson and bombing, weapons of mass destruction, public corruption, and domestic and international terrorism.
Mr. Fallon served for more than 30 years in the federal law enforcement and counterintelligence community, including as a Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Special Agent and within the Department of Homeland Security, as the Assistant Director for Training of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC). He began his federal law enforcement career in 1979 with the US Marshals Service. His first sworn position was in 1976 as a Police Constable with the Old Lyme Police Department in Connecticut. Mr. Fallon has been involved in many high impact cases, including the prosecution of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and as the Commander of the USS Cole Task Force. Mr. Fallon is internationally recognized for his leadership ability in crisis situations, counterterrorism acumen, and training experience.
Brigadier General David R. Irvine, USA (Ret.)
Brigadier General Irvine enlisted in the 96th Infantry Division, United States Army Reserve, in 1962. He received a direct commission in 1967 as a strategic intelligence officer. He maintained a faculty assignment for 18 years with the Sixth U.S. Army Intelligence School, and taught prisoner of war interrogation and military law for several hundred soldiers, Marines, and airmen. He retired in 2002, and his last assignment was Deputy Commander for the 96th Regional Readiness Command. General Irvine is an attorney, and practices law in Salt Lake City, Utah. He served 4 terms as a Republican legislator in the Utah House of Representatives, has served as a congressional chief of staff, and served as a commissioner on the Utah Public Utilities Commission.
Steven Kleinman is a Senior Advisor and Strategist of the National Security Program for the Soufan Group. He is a career intelligence officer with more than 26 years of operational and leadership experience in assignments worldwide. He is a recognized subject matter expert in the full spectrum of human intelligence operations, intelligence support to special operations, and special survival/resistance to interrogation training. Mr. Kleinman is a highly decorated veteran of three major military campaigns – Operation Just Cause, Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom – during which he served as an interrogator, the chief of a joint and combines interrogation team, and as a senior advisor on interrogation operations to a special operations task force. He has been recognized as one of the most prolific interrogators during the first Gulf War.
Mr. Kleinman served as the director of the Air Force Combat Interrogation Course and as an advisor to the National Defense Intelligence College’s program on human intelligence and counterintelligence studies. As a senior advisor to the first contemporary study on interrogation sponsored by the Office of Director of National Intelligence and the Intelligence Science Board, Mr. Kleinman has been a major force in rethinking the American approach to strategic interrogation. He continues to serve as a senior consultant on interrogation-related studies being conducted at leading universities and research centers across America. He has testified on interrogation and detainee policy before the Senate and House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. His articles and research papers have been published in the Harvard University Press, Willan Publishing (UK), the New York City Law Review, the Defense Intelligence Journal, the American Intelligence Journal, and the National Defense Intelligence College Press. He was a contributing editor to the Encyclopedia of Intelligence and Counterintelligence published in 2004. He was also been cited in publications ranging from Newsweek, the New Yorker, and the New York Times, to Der Stern, CNN, and the BBC.
Marcus Lewis is a former army interrogator, interrogation instructor, Arabic linguist, and reserve officer. Marcus has served in national defense for over 10 years. He enlisted in the Army after 9/11, worked as an interrogation team sergeant in Iraq, and recently returned from a position as an intelligence analyst in Afghanistan.
Mike Marks is a retired NCIS agent with 23 years of experience. He has served in more than 20 countries, including Bahrain, Afghanistan, and Yemen. He assisted in the investigation of the USS Cole bombing, was assigned to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, and conducted numerous interrogations as part of the Criminal Investigations Task Force in Afghanistan.
Robert McFadden, NCIS Special Agent in Charge (Retired)
Robert McFadden is a 30-year veteran of federal law enforcement, intelligence and counterintlligence communities, where he held a number of high-impact positions to include Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS)’s Senior Representative to the Deputy Under Secretary of the Navy (clandestine, sensitive, and low visibility operations oversight and policy), Deputy Assistant Director CI and National Security Operations, and Special Agent in Charge, Global Support Field Office. He was the co-case agent for the NCIS-FBI investigation of the USS Cole attack and al-Qa’ida maritime operations cell. He conducted scores of interviews and interrogations of terrorism subjects, witnesses, and sources.
Charles Mink is a former Army interrogator and Program Coordinator for the University of Arizona's "Project GO." His research includes U.S. counterterrorism policy in the Mid East during the 21st Century, particularly extraordinary rendition and intelligence sharing between the U.S. and many (now defunct) regimes. He has advanced proficiency in Arabic, and also serves as an analyst for The Soufan Group.
For 25 years, Joe Navarro worked as an FBI special agent in the area of counterintelligence and behavioral assessment. A founding member of the National Security Division’s Behavioral Analysis Program, he is on the adjunct faculty at Saint Leo University and the University of Tampa and remains a consultant to the intelligence community. Mr. Navarro is the author of a number of books about interviewing techniques and practice including Advanced Interviewing which he co-wrote with Jack Schafer and Hunting Terrorists: A Look at the Psycopathology of Terror. He currently teaches the Advanced Terrorism Interview course at the FBI.
Torin Nelson is the President of the Society for Professional Human Intelligence. He is an eighteen-year veteran interrogator and Human Intelligence specialist. Among other locations he has served at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.
Mr. Phillips is a former Army Special Operations and contract interrogator. His operational experience spans three combat theaters, and his reporting has proven instrumental in guiding decision-making from the tactical level to national policy. He has spent the last four years earning two degrees in psychology, graduating with honors and focusing his research and studies on the science of interrogation and deception detection. Mr. Phillips is currently serving as a member of the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group Research Committee.
William Quinn is an officer in the United States Army. From 2001 to 2006, he worked as an Army interrogator. He was deployed to Iraq from February 2005 to February 2006 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and was stationed at Abu Ghraib and Camp Cropper, where he conducted hundreds of interrogations with senior members of insurgent and terrorist organizations. Will is currently stationed at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.
Mr. Revell served a 30-year career (1964-1994) in the FBI as a Special Agent and senior executive. From 1980 until 1991, Mr. Revell served in FBI Headquarters first as Assistant Director in charge of Criminal Investigations (including terrorism); then as Associate Deputy Director he was in charge of the Investigative, Intelligence, Counter-Terrorism and International programs of the Bureau (1985-91). In September 1987, Mr. Revell was placed in charge of a joint FBI/CIA/U.S. military operation (Operation Goldenrod) which led to the first apprehension overseas of an international terrorist. Prior to joining the FBI, Mr. Revell served as an officer and aviator in the U.S. Marine Corps, leaving active duty in 1964 as a Captain. He currently serves as the President of an international business and security consulting group based in Dallas.
Mark E. Safarik retired as one of the senior members of the FBI's elite Behavioral Analysis Unit. He was a Supervisory Special Agent in the National Center for Analysis of Violent Crime at the FBI Academy. He has over 30 years in law enforcement, including 23 years with the FBI (from 1984 to 2007), the last 12 as a Senior Profiler. He is now a partner (with R. K. Ressler) in Forensics Behavioral Services International, a Virginia based consulting company, and serves as an analyst with MSNBC for the television series Criminal Mindscape, which focuses on conducting interviews with serial killers.
Haviland Smith is a retired CIA operations officer and Station Chief, having focused most of his 27-year professional life on the Cold War recruitment and handling of Soviet and East European agents and on the management of that effort. During his career, he was involved in joint operations with the FBI and lectured frequently on both Counterterrorism and Soviet recruitment operations at their training courses at Quantico and at in-service sessions in FBI Field Offices. He was assigned to Prague, Berlin, Beirut, Tehran, Washington and Langley. He served as a Branch Chief and Group Chief in Soviet operations, as Chief of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Staff, as Executive Assistant in the Director’s Office and as a Station Chief, both at home and abroad.
Lieutenant General Harry E. Soyster (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Soyster served as Director, Defense Intelligence Agency during DESERT SHIELD/STORM. He also served as Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Department of the Army, Commanding General, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command and in the Joint Reconnaissance Center, Joint Chiefs of Staff. In Vietnam he was an operations officer in a field artillery battalion. Upon retirement he was VP for International Operations with Military Professional Resources Incorporated and returned to government as Special Assistant to the SEC ARMY for WWII 60th Anniversary Commemorations completed in 2006.