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August 30, 2012

Justice Dept. closes investigation of interrogation deaths

The Justice Department on Thursday announced it has closed a criminal investigation into the deaths of two terrorist suspects who were under interrogation by U.S. officers overseas. No charges will be brought.

Attorney General Eric Holder, in a statement, said the department "declined prosecution because the admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt." The investigation, by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham, was an outgrowth of Durham's inital investigation into the CIA's destruction of interrogation tapes.

"Our inquiry was limited to a determination of whether prosecutable offenses were committed and was not intended to, and does not resolve, broader questions regarding the propriety of the examined conduct," Holder said in a statement.

One of the cases reportedly involved an Iraqi man who died at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad in 2003. The other reportedly involved an Afghan who was imprisoned at a secret CIA detention facility in Afghanistan in 2002. Holder did not provide details of the cases that had been under investigation.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2011/06/30/116822/justice-department-probing-cia.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpyDurham began his initial investigation in 2008, following revelations that high-ranking CIA official Jose Rodriguez had ordered the destruction of the interrogation videotapes. All told, 92 tapes were destroyed, eliminating evidence of how several top al-Qaeda suspects had been questioned using harsh "enhanced interrogation techniques' including waterboarding.Durham closed the videotape end of his investigation in late 2010, without bringing any criminal charges. His initial inquiries, though, brought to light other allegations concerning the alleged mistreatment of suspects and, ultimately, the deaths of two men.

During his preliminary review and subsequent investigations, Holder said, Durham examined possible CIA involvement with the interrogation and detention of 101 detainees who were alleged to have been in U.S. custody after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

"He determined that a number of the detainees were never in CIA custody," Holder said in his statement.



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"Suits & Sentences" is a legal affairs blog written by Michael Doyle, a reporter for McClatchy's Washington Bureau. He was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Yale Law School, where he earned a Master of Studies in Law; he also earned a Masters in Government from The Johns Hopkins University with a thesis on the Freedom of Information Act. He teaches journalism as an adjunct instructor at The George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs.

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