Special terror interrogation group used 14 times in last two years
FBI Dir. Robert Mueller testifies before a House Appropriations Subcomittee
March 7th, 2012
04:24 PM ET

Special terror interrogation group used 14 times in last two years

By Carol Cratty and Pam Benson

A special group set up to interrogate captured terror suspects has been mobilized more than a dozen times in the past two years, FBI Director Robert Mueller said Wednesday.

"It's been effective," Mueller told a House appropriations subcommittee when asked about the use of the so-called High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, known as HIG. "Over the last two years I think we've had 14 instances where we've deployed elements of the HIG to conduct interrogations."

Mueller did not list the cases in which the HIG was used. A law enforcement official said the HIG can be deployed both overseas and in the United States and can be used in interrogations with U.S. citizens as well as non-citizens.

The HIG provides key research and cultural background on alleged terrorists and has regionally focused teams. The group's mobile interrogation teams, or MITs, can question suspects. The MITs are made up of FBI agents, CIA officers and others in the intelligence and homeland security community.

The HIG was created as the result of a recommendation made in the summer of 2009 by President Barack Obama's task force on terrorist detentions and interrogations. The group is housed in the FBI and led by an FBI official. There are two deputies - one from the CIA and one from the Department of Defense.

The HIG was used when Pakistani-American Faisal Shazad attempted to detonate a car bomb in Times Square on May 1, 2010, according to comments made later that month by John Brennan, the president's counterterrorism adviser.

U.S. officials also said elements of the HIG were used when Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, a Nigerian citizen, tried to set off a bomb hidden in his underwear on a Christmas Day flight to Detroit in 2009. The HIG was not fully operational at that time but a team was sent to provide support. Brennan said there was a delay in the team assisting in the Abdulmutallab case because the suspect had received his Miranda rights and had a lawyer.

Both Shahzad and AbdulMutallab pleaded guilty.

Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Virginia, chaired the hearing Mueller spoke before Wednesday. Wolf said the FBI is supposed to submit a report by March 17 outlining the research activities of the HIG and supplying any recommendations for developing new interrogation techniques. It's unclear if that report will be classified or made available to the public.

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Asia Pickman

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    July 4, 2013 at 10:30 am | Reply
  2. _no_

    First of all, declaring that this system is unethical and gestapo-like is ridiculous. Compared to what we have done as a nation to interrogate prisoners in the past 100 years this is a huge step forward. This is the a serious step towards ending wrong-doing in interrogation processes, and it is ignorant to assume that a group of trained and experienced professionals cannot perform their job appropriately. +1 to Samchanim

    April 3, 2012 at 11:27 am | Reply
  3. Jayson

    What bonehead decided that they would use the same acronym for this group as a terrorist group operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan

    March 8, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Reply
  4. sielingfan

    14 times in two years = 14 seasons of "24" just happened.

    March 8, 2012 at 10:47 am | Reply
  5. Sanchanim

    It is a good group of guys. Actually it makes a lot of sense. If you need to talk with a suspect and get the most out of them, you want folks who understand them. As a person, as an individual, what their needs and beliefs are. Basically you aren't just playing good cop bad cop, you are going in with a full understanding of what makes this person tick. No laws are broken and no one is water boarded. You just have folks who study specifically different terrorist factions, religions, and ethnic differences.
    I mean if you think that is wrong we could use shaking, water boarding, ice water, sleep deprivation, electrodes on your genitals, cutting, and drugs. But this is only if you think sending in a smart person to talk with a terrorist is unethical.

    March 7, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Reply
    • mipolitic

      you left one out so i thought i would help you.
      a very small confined space like in a drum and than beat on it with a stick if the guy falls asleep.

      March 8, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Reply
  6. ?.

    WAKE UP AMERICA!!!

    March 7, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Reply
  7. This_blank

    Wow gestapo like tactics that will be aimed 99% at muslims this is a dangerous tool our president is using

    March 7, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Reply
  8. mipolitic

    please insert the word "hour" when reading above heading.

    March 7, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Reply
  9. G. Washington

    The Obama zionist regime is full of traitors beginning with him.

    Wake up America!

    March 7, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Reply

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