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Mr. Blair also said in his testimony that the charter for a special unit to interrogate terrorists known as the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, or HIG, was signed last week and that the HIG was now fully operational.

Last month, Mr. Blair, appearing before the Senate homeland security committee, criticized the Obama administration’s handling of Mr. Abdulmutallab and the fact that he was read his constitutional rights instead of being sent to the HIG. He later issued a statement acknowledging that the HIG at the time was not yet operational.