U.S. News

Interrogations advisor urges Bush-era torture probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of a body that advises U.S. terrorism interrogators on ethics on Thursday called for a special prosecutor to probe how the abuse of captured militants during the Bush administration’s “war on terror” was allowed to happen.

The call came from Mark Fallon, head of a committee that advises the interagency High Value Interrogation Group, and followed the release of a report on Thursday that accused America’s top organization of psychologists of secretly collaborating with the CIA, White House and Pentagon to help justify torture.

Fallon said the accusation of collusion of the American Psychological Association in the torture of detainees after the Sept 11, 2001 attacks highlights the need for a wider investigation.

“We need an independent counsel to take a look, with subpoena power and with the ability to have people testify under oath,” Fallon told Reuters.

Fallon’s group, known as the HIG Research Committee, includes federal government officials and provides scientific research on interrogation techniques as well as ethical guidelines to the HIG program.

The HIG was set up by President Barack Obama five years ago under FBI command and deploys teams of FBI, CIA and military officers who are supposed to question important terror suspects without resorting to harsh techniques.

A Senate Intelligence Committee report last December concluded that the CIA had failed to disrupt a single plot despite torturing al Qaeda and other captives in secret prisons overseas between 2002 and 2006, when George W. Bush was president.

On Thursday, a group of dissident health professionals and human rights activists released a report accusing the association of secretly coordinating with Bush administration officials to bolster a legal and ethical justification for the torture of prisoners in the war on terror.

The report first appeared in The New York Times, which said the association denied it had worked with the government.