NSA engaged in Gitmo torture, too: Snowden
The notorious US National Security Agency collaborated with the CIA and the US military in the torture of those captured over terrorism in the early days of the so-called war on terror.
The agency had appointed a liaison, or NSA LNO, in order to “coordinate” with the interrogators, show entries from an internal NSA publication released by Russia-based whistleblower Edward Snowden, the Intercept reported.
The liaison was “to collect information of value to the NSA Enterprise and Extended Enterprise” and be “responsible for interfacing with the DoD, CIA, and FBI interrogators on a daily basis in order to assess and exploit information sourced from detainees.”
Sometimes, the relations were reverse with the NSA providing “sensitive NSA-collected technical data and products to assist JTF-GTMO [Joint Task Force Guantanamo] interrogation efforts.”
The release is part — three months — of a decade’s worth of the online newsletter of the NSA’s Signals Intelligence Directorate, SIDtoday, set to be fully published in near future.
“On a given week,” an NSA liaison reported back, he would “pull together intelligence to support an upcoming interrogation, formulate questions and strategies for the interrogation, and observe or participate in the interrogation.”
According to the Intercept, the NSA’s engagement is “no surprise” but its role remains “murky,” particularly as “in the many investigations into detainee treatment, the NSA has hardly surfaced.”
The online publication also leaked another SIDtoday entry about “one of the only” operations outside Afghanistan, in which “six men were bundled away from Bosnia to Guantánamo in early 2002.”
The six Algerian natives, known as the “The Algerian Six,” had apparently plotted to bomb the US embassy in Sarajevo, an allegation dismissed by a Bosnian judge who ordered their release due to lack of evidence.
The United States, however, pushed the Bosnian government to hand them over.
“Because much of the evidence against them came from US intel, the Bosnian government didn’t have access to it, and after a couple of months in custody, the six prisoners were scheduled to be released without trial,” wrote an NSA staffer in SIDtoday. “The US did not want to let them go back into the general population,” so the commander of the unit in charge, Lieutenant General H. Steven Blum, “planned to take the prisoners into U.S. custody as soon as they were released by the Bosnians. The prisoners would be taken from Sarajevo up to Tuzla.”
The closure of Guantanamo was one of President Barack Obama’s key campaign pledges in 2008; yet the infamous military facility, which came to the fore in the wake of September 11 attacks in America, remains open despite drawing international criticisms over torture practiced there.
Snowden began leaking classified intelligence documents in June 2013, revealing the extent of the NSA’s spying activities, including the massive collections of phone records of Americans and foreign nationals as well as political leaders around the world.