TRIALS BY FIRE - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

live.belfercenter.org

TRIALS BY FIRE - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs

National Security InterrogationsOn 24 August 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a preliminary investigationinto whether certain CIA employees broke the law during coerciveinterrogations of suspected terrorists in the years after the 9/11 attacks. Whilethe investigation’s scope is limited to determining whether CIA interrogatorsexceeded the bounds of legal opinions drafted by Department of Justice andCIA lawyers, 128 the investigation nonetheless represents a pivotal developmentin the ongoing controversy surrounding the US government’s use of coerciveinterrogation techniques to gain information critical to national security.Given their importance as a means of collecting vital foreign intelligence informationand evidence for law enforcement purposes, 129 national securityinterrogations have traditionally played a fundamental role in military andintelligence operations. 130 Since 9/11 they have become more critical than everto the success of these operations. 131 The recent debate, both within and outsidethe Obama Administration, 132 over whether the government should haveutilized military and intelligence resources rather than criminal law enforcementmethods to interrogate Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 133 the alleged 2009“Christmas Day Bomber,” underscores broader concerns over the proper rolesof government agencies and personnel in conducting interrogations of individualsbelieved to be in possession of information critical to national security.This chapter outlines the legal authorities and historical developments thatundergird interrogations conducted to acquire actionable intelligence information,as distinct from ordinary police interrogations performed with a viewtoward criminal prosecution.Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs | Harvard Kennedy School67

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines