Newsweek reports that a forthcoming CIA Inspector General report that will be released next week “reveals that CIA interrogators staged mock executions as part of the agency’s post-9/11 program to detain and question terror suspects.” CIA interrogators used a handgun and an electric drill to try to frighten captured al-Qaeda detainee Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri into giving up information:
Nashiri’s interrogators brandished the gun in an effort to convince him that he was going to be shot. Interrogators also turned on a power drill and held it near him. “The purpose was to scare him into giving [information] up,” said one of the sources. A federal law banning the use of torture expressly forbids threatening a detainee with “imminent death.”
Marcy Wheeler notes that the torture of Nashiri compelled him to falsely confess that al Qaeda was working on a nuclear bomb. Conveniently, the Bush administration destroyed tapes of Nashiri’s interrogations in 2005.
The Washington Post notes that Jay Bybee, the head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, advised the CIA in an August 2002 memo that threats of “imminent death” were not illegal unless they deliberately produced prolonged mental harm.