The interrogation techniques used during the Bush years became a major new source of anti-Americanism. The Bush administration approved techniques such as waterboarding (a simulation is pictured) and sleep deprivation (defended recently by Dick Cheney) but we are also now learning that other unauthorised techniques were used. These included threatening to kill a detainee's children and revving a power drill near next to the head of a hooded detainee. The Obama administration is now investigating whether CIA operatives who used unauthorised detainees should be prosecuted.
Present Obama has said that there need be no conflict between American safety and American ideals and has set up a new unit to ensure ethical and scientific interrogation of suspects who could help provide information about America's enemies.
The High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group will be headquartered at the FBI but will include expert operatives from other parts of the security establishment.
The Washington Post reports:
"Members of the new interrogation unit will have the authority to travel around the world to talk to suspects and will be trained to handle certain high-interest people, such as al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Linguists and cultural and interrogation specialists will be assigned to the group and will have "some division of responsibility" regarding types of detainees, a senior administration official said. Most of the group's members will work there full time, although they will have part-time support from the FBI. Interrogators will not necessarily read detainees their rights before questioning, instead making that decision on a case-by-case basis, officials said. That could affect whether some material can be used in a U.S. court of law. The main purpose of the new unit, however, is to glean intelligence, especially about potential terrorist attacks, the officials said."