ACLU Says “Clean Teams” Cannot Wash Away Dirty Interrogation Tactics

February 13, 2008 12:00 am

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NEW YORK – Just days after the Bush administration announced its intention to seek the death penalty for six men allegedly involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Department of Justice and the Pentagon confirmed the existence of “clean teams” of agents and investigators who allegedly conducted traditional law enforcement interviews with the prisoners after they had already been subjected to torture or “dirty” interrogation practices. The effort began in 2006 when the administration became concerned over legal challenges based on the abuse of these former CIA prisoners.

The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union:

“If information gleaned from a so-called ‘clean’ interrogation merely piggy-backs the results of a brutal, coerced interrogation or torture, there is nothing ‘clean’ about it. Any information derived that way is inherently suspect; you cannot clean information or an interrogation process that is indelibly dirty.

“For the administration to employ ‘clean teams’ to somehow legitimize the intelligence acquired through ‘enhanced’ interrogations makes it doubly clear that torture was wrong in the first place. And prisoners who’ve once been tortured by government interrogators are not going to stop feeling unduly coerced or threatened once the government tries to ‘clean up’ its act, especially when officials say the government still has the right to waterboard or use other ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ in the future. The government can’t have it both ways.”

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