During Saturday night’s Republican candidates’ debate on national security issues, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota said the United States has nowhere to take terrorists for interrogation and said the CIA does not interrogate anymore.
The statement: “When we interdict a terrorist on the battlefield, we have no jail for them. We have nowhere to take them. We have no CIA interrogation anymore,” Bachmann said.
The facts: The controversial CIA “black site” prison program, where the suspect of the USS Cole bombing and others were interrogated immediately after arrest, has been dismantled. In an April 2009 letter from CIA director Leon Panetta to employees, Panetta wrote, “CIA no longer operates detention facilities or black sites and has proposed a plan to decommission the remaining sites.”
However, the CIA is still interrogating terror suspects in the field in certain cases. For example, CNN reported in July that CIA operatives have secretly traveled to Mogadishu, Somalia, to help interrogate terrorism suspects about terror operations in East Africa and Yemen. While working in a “support” mode, the CIA has been present at a small amount of interrogations of suspects under the control of Somali forces. The U.S. government believes the Somali-based Al-Shabaab terror organization is increasing its links to the al Qaeda affiliate in nearby Yemen.
In a separate incident earlier this year, CNN reported that Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame, a Somali whom the U.S. indicted for providing material support to al Qaeda linked groups, was interrogated for weeks by U.S. authorities on a Navy amphibious assault ship before he was transferred to FBI custody and brought to the United States to make an appearance in federal court this past July.
CNN’s Jamie Crawford contributed to this report.