New Report Will Allege More Harsh CIA Interrogation Measures

Sources: Handgun, electric drill used to interrogate al Qaeda commander.

ByABC News
August 22, 2009, 4:40 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 22, 2009— -- In the past, reports on CIA tactics during interrogations of terrorist suspects have ranged from waterboarding to sleep deprivation.

Now, according to media reports, a redacted and partly declassified report from 2004 by the CIA inspector general (IG) will say a handgun and an electric drill were used to try to break down a captured al Qaeda commander, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. First reported by Newsweek, the report will say the CIA wanted to frighten him into thinking he would be shot or tortured.

Former CIA agent Bob Baer says federal law prohibits threatening a prisoner with imminent death.

"I think it is clear that law has been violated in terms of interrogation," he said. "I frankly myself don't see how we can just let this pass."

To some observers, President Obama has seemed unenthusiastic about prosecuting possible crimes during the Bush administration -- -- even before taking office.

"When it comes to national security, what we have to focus on is getting things right in the future as opposed to looking at what we got wrong in the past," Obama told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos last January on "This Week."

But Obama says the decision is up to Attorney General Eric Holder, who could name a special prosecutor to investigate the Bush years.

Holder recently told ABC News' Pierre Thomas that "my obligation as head of the Justice Department is to make sure that the laws are followed and to the extent that we find the laws were broken, to hold people accountable."