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Mohammed, another so-called high-value detainee who was waterboarded, was told by interrogators that if another attack takes place in the United States, “we’re going to kill your children.”

The report said the “most significant” unauthorized technique was used against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a high-ranking al Qaeda member accused of conceiving the 1998 attack on the USS Cole.

According to the report, a person who was not trained or authorized to use enhanced-interrogation tactics walked in to a cell where al-Nashiri was shackled and racked an unloaded handgun near his head. Later, on what was likely the same day, that person revved a power drill while al-Nashiri stood hooded and naked in his cell. He did not touch al-Nashiri.

The report also said that between September and October 2002, the CIA staged mock executions that included an interrogator yelling outside an interrogation room with a detainee inside before firing a gun. Then, when the detainee was moved to another room, a hooded detainee lay motionless on the floor, appearing to be shot dead.

The point of the mock execution, according to the report, was to make a detainee think he would be executed if he did not cooperate.

The effectiveness of the mock executions was unclear.

A senior operations official told investigators he “understood it went badly; it was transparently a ruse and no benefit was derived from it.” Though some who were involved told investigators that one detainee who subjected to the mock execution “sang like a bird.”

In another case, an interrogator told a detainee that “we can get your mother in here,” speaking in a country where it was widely thought that authorities would sexually assault family members in front of prisoners.

Mr. Obama has said he constantly said that he wants to focus on reworking interrogation rules and repairing the U.S. image abroad, rather than engaging in recrimination with the previous administration. But in one interview, he indicated that prosecuting the actual CIA agents would be less preferable to going after administration attorneys who told them what they could do.

For example, in April he said he did not think it “appropriate” to prosecute those CIA officers who “carried out some of these operations within the four corners of the legal opinions or guidance that had been provided by the White House.”

But the president has insisted that the decisions on whether to investigate or to prosecute are Mr. Holder’s. Obama spokesman Bill Burton reiterated that stance Monday, saying that the president thinks the attorney general should be fully independent of the White House and Mr. Holder “ultimately is going to make the decisions” on whether to prosecute in the CIA case.