Justice

CIA's 'enhanced interrogation' sessions described as 'completely out of control'

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Magid Khan gained political asylum in the United States in 1998.

Magid Khan gained political asylum in the United States in 1998. 

Credit:

Center for Constitutional Rights

We thought we'd heard the most gruesome torture allegations last December, when the US Senate released its infamous report detailing the CIA's use of so-called "enhanced interrogation" methods.

Now a Guantanamo detainee says there's more. 

Pakistani Majid Khan says those working for the CIA never cabled back to Langley about some of the worst torture methods they used, including sexual abuse. He alleges interrogators and guards working for the US government repeatedly touched his "private parts," poured ice water on his genitals and videotaped him naked, twice. None of these allegations were included in the Senate torture report. Khan maintains that some of his guards smelled of alcohol, and threatened to beat him with baseball bats, sticks and leather belts. 

The new allegations are included in a story today from Reuters investigative reporter David Rohde

"Do those CIA officials know what really went on?" Rohde asks. "Or was this a completely out of control, almost carnival-like situation with guards doing all kinds of things that weren't reported back to headquarters?" 

Khan remains in detention in Guantanamo Bay where he's a cooperating witness for the US government. He's a Pakistani citizen who received political asylum in the US in 1998 and attended high school in Maryland. After 9/11, he returned to Pakistan, joined al-Qaeda and began working with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the attacks on the World Trade Center. Khan was apprehended in Pakistan and held at an unidentified CIA "black site" from 2003 to 2006.

Khan made the torture allegations to his lawyers with the Center for Constitutional Rights during seven years of meetings at Gitmo. But the charges are only now surfacing. That's because CIA officials had prohibited detainees and their lawyers from publicly describing their CIA interrogation sessions.

"The CIA ruled that the detainees own memories of the interrogations were classified," Rohde recalls. After the Senate released the torture report in December, the agency and government officials agreed to declassify the recollections.  

It's impossible to corroborate Khan's torture charges. CIA officials have said the detainee repeatedly lied to them in interrogations. But the US government's relationship with him is complicated. 

"In a response to the Senate report, CIA officials said they did not find Khan credible, and basically said they don't trust him," Rohde says. "His lawyers say 'Well then why has the government agreed to use him as a government witness?'"

As part of his plea agreement, Khan is willing to testify against al-Qaeda operatives and says he regrets his involvement in terrorism. 

"So why are his stories of torture not credible?" Rohde asks. 

Khan's lawyers are asking that their client be moved to the US from Cuba to be tried in US federal court.  They want Khan to be used as a "test case" for Gitmo detainees who've pleaded guilty and are cooperating with the US government.

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