GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba — Within the torturous historical past of the U.S. authorities’s black websites, the F.B.I. has lengthy been portrayed as appearing with a robust ethical compass. Its brokers, disgusted with the violence they noticed at a secret C.I.A. jail in Thailand, walked out, enabling the bureau to later deploy “clear groups” untainted by torture to interrogate the 5 males accused of conspiring within the assaults of Sept. 11, 2001.
However new data that emerged this week within the Sept. 11 case undermines that F.B.I. narrative. The 2 intelligence companies secretly organized for 9 F.B.I. brokers to quickly change into C.I.A. operatives within the abroad jail community the place the spy company used torture to interrogate its prisoners.
The once-secret program got here to gentle in pretrial proceedings within the loss of life penalty case. The proceedings are at present analyzing whether or not the accused mastermind of the Sept. 11 plot, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and his 4 co-defendants voluntarily confessed after years within the black website community, the place detainees have been waterboarded, crushed, disadvantaged of sleep and remoted to coach them to adjust to their captors’ needs.
At problem is whether or not the navy choose will exclude from the eventual trial the testimony of F.B.I. brokers who questioned the defendants in 2007 at Guantánamo and likewise forbid using experiences that the brokers wrote about every man’s account of his position within the hijacking conspiracy.
A veteran Guantánamo prosecutor, Jeffrey D. Groharing, has referred to as the F.B.I. interrogations “probably the most crucial proof on this case.” Protection attorneys argue that the interrogations have been tainted by the years of torture by U.S. authorities brokers.
In open court docket on Thursday, one other prosecutor, Clayton G. Trivett Jr., confirmed the bizarre association, wherein 9 F.B.I. brokers have been “formally detailed” to the company “and thus turned a member of the C.I.A. and labored inside C.I.A. channels.”
He stated that the brokers served as “debriefers,” a C.I.A. time period for interrogators, and questioned black website prisoners “out of the coercive setting” and after using “E.I.T.s.”
E.I.T.s, or enhanced interrogation strategies, is a C.I.A. euphemism for a sequence of abusive ways that the company used towards Mr. Mohammed and different prisoners in 2002 and 2003 — ways that have been then accredited however are actually unlawful. They embrace waterboarding, painful shackling and isolating a prisoner nude, shivering and at midnight to interrupt his will to withstand interrogation.
Mr. Trivett provided no exact time interval however made clear that the F.B.I. brokers have been absorbed by the C.I.A. someday between 2002, when the black websites have been established, and September 2006. On their return to the F.B.I., they took on the standing of C.I.A. belongings, he stated, and so their identities are categorised.
5 of the 9 brokers had roles within the interrogations of among the defendants within the case, Mr. Trivett stated, and their names have been supplied to protection attorneys on the idea that they not be disclosed.
The F.B.I. declined to touch upon the association, as did the C.I.A.
A protection lawyer, James G. Connell III, added extra particulars in the identical court docket listening to.
He stated that the 9 brokers “stopped being F.B.I. brokers and have become C.I.A. brokers quickly” below a memorandum of understanding that established a unique association than the extra typical task of a consultant of 1 regulation enforcement company to work out of the group of one other.
A former C.I.A. historian, Nicholas Dujmovic, stated there was a precedent for “taking workers from one other authorities company and rapidly making them C.I.A. workers for particular capabilities.”
Within the Fifties, the C.I.A. remodeled U.S. Air Drive pilots into C.I.A. workers throughout their stints flying U-2 spy planes after which returned them to the Air Drive with out the lack of seniority or advantages. “President Eisenhower thought it was necessary that U-2s not be piloted by U.S. navy pilots,” Dr. Dujmovic stated. The method was referred to as “sheep dipping,” he stated.
Earlier testimony confirmed the F.B.I. taking part remotely within the C.I.A. interrogations via requests despatched by cables to the black websites looking for sure data from particular detainees, together with Mr. Mohammed after he was waterboarded 183 occasions to pressure him to speak.
The pretrial hearings are of their ninth 12 months and the navy choose, Col. Matthew N. McCall of the Air Drive, is the fourth choose to listen to testimony at Guantánamo. In arguing over potential trial proof, the prisoners’ attorneys have repeatedly accused prosecutors of redacting data that the protection wants to organize for the capital trial. Within the navy commissions, prosecutors are the gatekeepers of potential trial proof and may withhold data they deem not related to the protection’s wants.
In a single instance, Mr. Connell confirmed the choose a November 2005 cable the F.B.I. despatched to the C.I.A. that contained questions for 3 of the defendants whereas they have been in a black website — out of attain of the courts, attorneys and the Worldwide Purple Cross.
The F.B.I. launched the cable to the general public this month below an government order by President Biden to declassify details about the F.B.I. investigation of the Sept. 11 assaults.
Mr. Connell had earlier acquired a model of the identical cable from prosecutors. But it surely was so redacted that it obscured the truth that the F.B.I. wished Mr. Mohammed and the opposite defendants questioned within the black websites.
Mr. Trivett sought to minimize the disclosure of the F.B.I.-C.I.A. collaboration as routine enterprise at a time when the U.S. authorities was devoting super assets to investigating the Sept. 11 assaults. “This isn’t some large bombshell,” he instructed the choose.
A lawyer for Mr. Mohammed, Denny LeBoeuf, forged the collaboration as a part of a conspiracy to painting F.B.I. accounts of interrogations of the defendants at Guantánamo in 2007 as “clear staff statements,” a regulation enforcement expression.
“They have been by no means clear,” Ms. LeBoeuf stated. “Torture isn’t clear. It’s filthy. It has sights and sounds and penalties.”