[JURIST] US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld [official profile] kept tabs on the 2002 interrogations of Mohamed al-Qahtani [Wikipedia profile], the so-called "20th hijacker" from the Sept. 11 attacks, every week at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive], according to a report [subscription required] from Salon.com. The online magazine used a Freedom of Information Act [text; summary] request to obtain portions of a December 2005 Army inspector general's report on its investigation of then-Guantanamo commander Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller [Wikipedia profile], which includes a sworn statement [PDF text] by Lt. Gen. Randall Schmidt and an interview [PDF text] with Gen. James Hill. Rumsfeld reportedly monitored the Army's interrogations of Al-Qahtani by speaking to Miller weekly, while the Saudi detainee was subjected to allegedly abusive treatment, including tactics resembling those employed in the Abu Ghraib [JURIST news archive] prison scandal. In his statement, Schmidt said that Rumsfeld did not specifically authorize the questionable interrogation techniques, but that the abuses were able to occur due to Rumsfeld's vague instructions. Schmidt also said that he found Miller's claims that he was unaware of the allegedly abusive interrogation methods employed at Guantanamo Bay "hard to believe."
Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] issued a statement Friday calling on the government to appoint a special prosecutor [press release] to investigate the allegations. Just last month, Al-Qahtani recanted information [JURIST report] he had provided implicating about 30 Guantanamo Bay detainees, claiming the his statements were coerced by torture. Saturday's Boston Globe has more.