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Obama administration may establish special interrogators unit: report

[JURIST] The Obama administration may create a special unit of interrogators to handle certain terror suspects, the Wall St. Journal reported Saturday, citing unidentified government officials. In creating the unit, the administration would reduce the role of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] in interrogating suspects as the CIA has faced criticism [JURIST report] for its interrogation techniques [JURIST news archive] during the Bush administration. It is not clear which agencies the team would draw members from, but it is expected that members of both the CIA and the FBI would be included [AP report]. The interrogation team would reportedly not use certain controversial interrogation techniques like waterboarding [JURIST news archive]. A spokesperson for the White House [official website] refused to comment on the report.

The appropriateness of Bush-era intelligence policy has been hotly contested since the change in administration earlier this year. Last week, five federal agencies released a report [text; JURIST report] on the prior administration's warrantless wiretapping program that reviewed both the flawed legal origins of the program and questioned the effectiveness of information produced by wiretapping international communications of American citizens. In May, for Vice President Dick Cheney vigorously defended the national security policies [speech transcript; JURIST report] of the Bush administration in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) [organization website].

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