Canadian spies interrogated Afghan prisoners, insiders reveal – Security experts stunned by CSIS’s role in questioning Taliban fighters who may have been tortured
Officers of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service have played a crucial and long-standing role as interrogators of a vast swath of captured Taliban fighters, The Canadian Press has learned.
The spies began working side-by-side with a unit of military police intelligence officers as the Afghan war spiralled out of control in 2006, according to heavily censored witness transcripts filed with the Military Police Complaints Commission.
The spy agency’s previously unknown role in questioning detainees adds a new dimension to the controversy about the handling and possible torture of prisoners by Afghan security forces.
It also raises more questions about the critical early years in Kandahar when the Canadian military found itself mired in a guerrilla war it had not expected to fight.
CSIS acknowledged in 2006 that its members gathered intelligence in Afghanistan, but the spy service’s precise role has remained in the shadows until now.
Maj. Kevin Rowcliffe, former staff adviser to Canada’s overseas operations commander, told investigators with the complaints commission there were questions about how much experience the army’s intelligence officers had in grilling prisoners.
“There was a lot of discussion in my headquarters about who was qualified to do interrogations, because we’re not talking the normal police interview, we’re talking interrogations, which (censored) were doing, not (military police),” says an edited transcript of the Dec. 6, 2007, interview.
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