Saturday, June 19, 2004

CIA Contractor Indictment Helped by Patriot Act

Via Intel Dump

CIA contractor David Passaro was indicted in a NC Federal Court for beating Afghani Abdul Wali over two days of questioning. Passaro faces 40 years in prison if convicted on the four counts facing him - two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon and two counts of assault resulting in serious bodily injury. Abdul Wali was found dead in his cell on June 21, 2003.

It is interesting to note how the Patriot act is being used to make this indictment possible. If Passaro did what he is accused of, he could have easily been outside of the jurisdiction of federal law without the Patriot Act.

U.S. Attorney Frank Whitney added, "Once again we see evidence that the USA PATRIOT Act is a valuable tool for law enforcement. Not only is it vital to investigating and prosecuting terrorists, but also it is instrumental in protecting the civil liberties of those on U.S. military installations and diplomatic missions overseas, regardless of their nationality."

The USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 gives the United States jurisdiction in the Passaro case. In the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, the PATRIOT Act expanded the law enforcement powers of the United States and eased the challenges of prosecuting crimes and terrorist attacks abroad. Section 804 of the Act, later codified as 18 USC Section 7(9), provides jurisdiction over crimes committed by or against any U.S. national on lands or facilities designated for use by the United States government, such as the Asadabad Base.

Although I wasn't an interrogator, everything I have ever been told as a member of the Intelligence Community has underscored one fundamental - perhaps forgotten these days - point. As soon as you threaten violence or put your hands on a detainee, in order to extract information, you have just killed the credibility of anything the detainee might say.

I am glad to see DOJ doing something about this - even if it is warring with itself in the process. Apathy toward brutal treatment of detainees/prisoners is unacceptable. If Passaro is guilty as accused, he deserves the maximum possible sentence.


At 8:08 PM, Blogger Brian said...

The use of torture is just incompatible with our society. Agents serving the American people should just not engage in this kind of behavior. I'm not interrogation expert, but I've read that building a rapport with the victim, isolation, and controlling the environment stand a better chance of producing real results. Someone being tortured is likely to give whatever information he thinks his questioner wants to hear.

Some food for thought though: You have a terrorist in custody that you believe knows the location of a nuclear bomb set to go off in a few hours. Is torturing him to get that information justified? The lives of millions at stake?

At 11:32 PM, Blogger Joel Gaines said...


I think your hypothetical raises the understanding that there may be extreme situations where brutality is called for to save innocent lives. To me that means non-combatants and a lot of them.


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