Durham Targeting More Contractors?

Time reports that John Durham has sent out recent subpoenas for grand jury testimony pertaining to torture and war crimes, specifically as it relates to Manadel al-Jamadi, the dead Iraqi depicted in one of the most graphic Abu Ghraib photo.

It has been nearly a decade since an Iraqi prisoner known as “the Iceman” — for the bumbled attempt to cool his body and make him look less dead — perished in CIA custody at Abu Ghraib prison. But now there are rumbles in Washington that other alleged CIA abuses as well as the notorious case could be coming back to haunt the agency. TIME has learned that a prosecutor tasked with probing the CIA — John Durham, a respected Republican-appointed U.S. attorney from Connecticut — recently began calling witnesses before a secret federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va., looking into, among other things, the lurid Nov. 4, 2003, “homicide,” documented by the magazine in 2005.

TIME has obtained a copy of a subpoena signed by Durham that points to his grand jury’s broader mandate, which could involve the charging of additional CIA officers and contract employees in other cases. The subpoena says that “the grand jury is conducting an investigation of possible violations of federal criminal laws involving War Crimes (18 USC/2441), Torture (18 USC 243OA) and related federal offenses.”

As Time points out, the likely target of any inquiry focusing on al-Jamadi’s death would be Mark Swanner, a contract CIA interrogator.

Perhaps most importantly, according to someone familiar with the investigation, Durham and FBI agents have said the probe’s focus involves “a specific civilian person.” Durham didn’t name names, but those close to the case believe that person is Mark Swanner, a non-covert CIA interrogator and polygraph expert who questioned Jamadi immediately before his death.

Don’t get me wrong, I would lose no sleep if someone–Swanner–actually paid a legal price for al-Jamadi’s death. But it does seem remarkable that the only criminal torturers our government can find are either low-level people like Lynndie England or contractors like David Passaro. The apparent immunity of everyone else involved in our torture system sure leads to cynicism, as if the only reason to go after a contractor whose role has been discussed for years was just to show a scalp to the international community.

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
emptywheel Acc to CIA's official story, torture didn't start until after Jose Rodriguez became CTC head. So why is Cofer Black involved in pushback?
1mreplyretweetfavorite
JimWhiteGNV Debate in DC right now comes down to nothing more than whether the CIA is or is not subject to oversight. Sadly, I fear that "is not" wins.
2mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Cofer Black Gets to Rebut Torture Report that Shouldn’t Include Him http://t.co/JFDmoh5cG3
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JimWhiteGNV RT @AdamSerwer: Former CIA chief George Tenet is trying to discredit the Senate report on torture because it makes him look bad http://t.co
6mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel The things you shouldn't have to do on a Saturday morning; Consult Rizzo and Rodriguez' novels.
19mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel "Tenet is...relying on his close relationship with Mr. Brennan" to be able to craft "response" to torture report. http://t.co/0tYEznK4pM
55mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Wondering how many of the 5 quarts of tart cherries I brought home I can get spouse to pit in exchange for one pie?
57mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @moselmensch Did not know that--think the diner was gone by the time I ever went into KMart. @MichiganHist
2hreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel @PaulBaer1 Egads. You're right: 10 extra characters to weasel!
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bmaz @dbaich @azcentral So, they planned a two hour long death process? Uh huh, sure. Charles Ryan just comes off as sick saying that.
9hreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz RT @HaroldItz: I love the idea of calling a 12 hour ceasefire a "humanitarian pause." After 12 hours they resume being inhuman. #Gaza #Isra
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bmaz @GregoryMcNeal @WSJ Neat story, but pretty stiff ticket for the watch
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June 2011
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