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Sources: Feds eye CIA officer in Abu Ghraib death
Tactics such as waterboarding and sleep deprivation, which the CIA used in other overseas prisons, were prohibited at Abu Ghraib without prior approval. In videoconferences with headquarters, Mr. Stormoen and other officers in Iraq repeatedly asked for permission to use harsher techniques, but that permission never was granted, one former senior intelligence official recalled.
Current and former officials say the CIA officers at Abu Ghraib saw ambiguity in the rules, believing they could interrogate detainees before they were formally processed into the military prison. That gray area could last several days or longer.
Military investigators said the informal nature of the CIA’s ghosting program contributed to a sense that the rules didn’t apply at the prison.
At the time, the CIA station in Baghdad, which was in charge of overseeing agency operations at the prison, was in such disarray that its top two officers were pulled out for mismanagement. An internal CIA inquiry did not single out any officer as responsible for al-Jamadi’s death, and no one has been charged.
A military autopsy labeled the death a homicide. Doctors said al-Jamadi died from a combination of factors: injuries he received while being captured by Navy SEALs and breathing difficulties caused by a lung injury and made worse by having a sandbag over his head.
Shortly after al-Jamadi’s death, senior CIA officials once again circulated the rules. In January 2004, the agency sent a blunt memo flatly ordering agency officials to stop all interrogations, officials said.
Al-Jamadi’s death twice has been reviewed by the Justice Department, and prosecutors have declined to bring charges. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has appointed a new prosecutor, John Durham, to investigate CIA interrogation tactics. Mr. Durham is now re-investigating the al-Jamadi death, and Mr. Holder said the investigation has uncovered new information, though he did not say what it was.
Prosecutions for torture and war crimes are rare in the United States. The most high-profile recent case was the successful torture prosecution of the son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor in Florida in 2008.
There is no statute of limitations on war crimes if a death is involved.
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