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Interrogation Tactics Were Challenged at White House

The government's response to the first and most serious flare-up -- in which an FBI agent complained in 2002 that the CIA's treatment of al-Qaeda commander Abu Zubaida at a secret detention site was "borderline torture" -- was complicated, the report said.

One agent at the site, called "Thomas" in the report, objected strongly to the tactics and was ordered by D'Amuro to depart immediately. But another, called "Gibson" in the report, told investigators that he did not morally object to having FBI agents present, because he had undergone similarly harsh interrogation techniques as part of Army training.

"Gibson" was allowed by the FBI to remain at the CIA facility for several weeks, continuing to work with intelligence operatives, and to take part in the interrogations of Zubaida, about which he briefed FBI supervisors by telephone.

D'Amuro told the investigators that he protested the tactics at a meeting with Mueller at the time, an account confirmed by his colleagues. D'Amuro stated that such aggressive interrogation techniques would not be effective, that they would impede the ability of FBI agents to appear as witnesses at trials, and that the tactics would blacken the country's reputation by helping al-Qaeda spread negative views.

D'Amuro recognized that the bureau would have a "taint problem" if the FBI did the interviews after the CIA had used its aggressive approaches, the report said. Mueller subsequently decided that the FBI agents would not go back to the sessions.

Staff writer Spencer S. Hsu and staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

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