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FBI memos suggest top military officials endorsed harsh Gitmo interrogations

[JURIST] FBI memos [documents log] released [press release] Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act action [ACLU materials] suggest that senior US military officials, up to and including former Undersecretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, were aware of and endorsed the use of harsh interrogation techniques against Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees, including putting hoods on prisoners, threatening them with violence, and humiliation. FBI agents assigned to temporary duty at the prison warned that these techniques were of questionable legality, but were ignored. The documents also indicate that FBI agents in Iraq were aware of detainee abuses at the US-run Abu Ghraib prison [JURIST news archive] before those become publicly known, but chose not to press military officials on the subject because it was outside their jurisdiction and they needed to sustain a good working relationship with the military.

The documents released Thursday first came to light [JURIST report] in more limited form in January 2005, prompting a military investigation [JURIST report] which recommended a reprimand for Guantanamo commander Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller [Wikipedia profile], later rejected by a senior officer [JURIST report]. A military spokesman Thursday downplayed the latest release of the documents, saying that they were "secondhand allegations made by people not directly involved" and that many of the allegations, including those involving the Undersecretary of Defense, had proven to be unsubstantiated. AP has more.

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