For Immediate Release
14 Interrogators Call on Secretary Gates to Eliminate Appendix M to the Army Field Manual
WASHINGTON - More than a dozen former interrogators have told Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
that a 2006 regulation human rights advocates have long sought to
overturn may severely hamper the ability of U.S. interrogators to
question terrorism suspects and individuals captured on the battlefield.
In a letter to Gates, 14 interrogators – including those who have
questioned high level Al Qaeda suspects and led the nation's high value
detainee interrogation operations – note that the restrictions "make it
very difficult, in all but the most sensitive situations, for U.S.
interrogators to create an environment of trust and protection that is
often necessary to gain the cooperation of certain detainees, especially
those who have been identified as 'high value.'"
At issue is an appendix added to the manual in 2006. The
interrogators wrote to Gates that the appendix – known as Appendix M –
"places unnecessary restrictions on an effective interrogation technique
known as 'separation.'" Since it was adopted, rights advocates have
asked the Pentagon to eliminate the appendix, noting that it contains
guidelines that could be construed as permitting U.S. interrogators to
use sleep deprivation and sensory deprivation techniques on high value
detainees. The interrogators urged Gates to eliminate the appendix
Signatories to the letter include Ali Soufan, a leading FBI
interrogator who questioned high level Al Qaeda suspects such as Abu
Zubaydah; Steve Kleinman, a leading author of the 2006 Defense Science
Board Educing Information report which the Obama administration
has used to help chart interrogation policy; and COL Stuart Herrington,
an intelligence officer who ran high value detainee interrogation
operations for the U.S. Army in Vietnam, Panama, and Iraq
Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington D.C. Human Rights First believes that building respect for human rights and the rule of law will help ensure the dignity to which every individual is entitled and will stem tyranny, extremism, intolerance, and violence.