FBI And Pentagon: We Stand By Our Decision Not To Waterboard

After acknowledging for the first time publicly that the CIA waterboarded three prisoners, CIA Director Michael Hayden “left open the option of reinstating” the interrogation tactic in the future.

The FBI and Department and Defense, however, are standing by their position that waterboarding is unnecessary. The Pentagon has banned employees from using the tactic, and the FBI said “its investigators do not use coercive tactics when interviewing terror suspects.”

In a hearing today, Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) asked FBI Director Robert Mueller and Lt. Gen. Michael Maples of the Defense Intelligence Agency why their agencies don’t use coercive interrogations: “Do you never interrogate people who have critical information?” The agency heads responded:

MUELLER: Our protocol is not to use coercive techniques. That is our protocol. We have lived by it. And it is sufficient and appropriate for our mission here in the United States. … We believe in the appropriateness of our techniques to our mission here in the United States.

MAPLES: The Army Field Manual guides our efforts and the efforts of the Armed Forces. … We believe that the approaches that are in the Army Field Manual give us the tools that are necessary for the purpose under which we are conducting interrogations.

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The FBI has long warned against such interrogations. In 2004, agents “repeatedly warned” interrogators at Guantanamo Bay that their tactics “were legally risky and also likely to be ineffective.”

The Defense Intelligence Agency, like the CIA, runs intelligence operations around the world. In fact, some “missions have expanded into areas traditionally under the purview of the Central Intelligence Agency.”

In December, the House passed an amendment that extends the current prohibitions in the Army Field Manual against torture to U.S. intelligence agencies and personnel. Later in the hearing, Hayden “guaranteed” that if legislation is passed prohibiting coercive techniques, the CIA will abide by it.