Skip to content Skip to footer

Justice Department Closes Investigation of Interrogation Deaths

Unable to secure evidence that would sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt, charges resulting the death of two men who were killed during US interrogation will be dropped.

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.

Durham 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.

Briefly, we wanted to update you on where Truthout stands this month.

To be brutally honest, Truthout is behind on our fundraising goals for the year. There are a lot of reasons why. We’re dealing with broad trends in our industry, trends that have led publications like Vice, BuzzFeed, and National Geographic to make painful cuts. Everyone is feeling the squeeze of inflation. And despite its lasting importance, news readership is declining.

To ensure we stay out of the red by the end of the year, we have a long way to go. Our future is threatened.

We’ve stayed online over two decades thanks to the support of our readers. Because you believe in the power of our work, share our transformative stories, and give to keep us going strong, we know we can make it through this tough moment.

We’ve launched a campaign to raise $37,000 in the next 5 days. Please consider making a donation today.