CaseMap Facts Report - David Nahmias Interview 1

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The document includes notes from interviews conducted with FBI personnel David Nahmias, regarding his role as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division as well as disputes between the FBI and the Department of Defense related to the best methods to gather intelligence. There are also notes about his visit to the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

CaseMap Facts Report
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David Nahmias states that when he got-to Department of Justice in-late 2001 (he started part time in
Nov 2001 and full time on Jae 1), Alice Fisher was the Deputy Assistant Attorney General (DAAG).
David Nahmias came is a Counsel to 'Ached Chi:doff, the Assistant Anoreey General (AAG) for the
triminal Division. When Alice Fisher left, Christopher Wray became AAG., David Nahmias beanie
Nahmias ,
Inteiview 1
the DAAG (on Aug c11:31and libideihniCI I came over. to be Counsel to the AAG. David
Nehmias states that (b)(6111))(7)(1) come over,libir61flefiliCI bandied a fair amount of in
detainee issues. When David Nahmias left, Bianco,] took over as DAAG (U)
To Be '
David Nahmias stared that as Counsel to the AAG ibt the Criminal Division, he supervised and
coordinated terrorism investigations - all international terrorism Whee hti be4aMe the DAAG, he'
oVeitilw thi CI Section. David Nahmias stated that until he became the DAAG, he didn't have
formal re/might responsibilities, He worked with Alice Fisher and ChertoffC. His role was largely
informatia sharing. He was airman information shame He collected inib from Federal Bureau
of-Investigation aid US Attorneys office and shared it between them and the Department of Defense,
Central Intel ' and White House. .
To Be
David Nahmias stated that 'in the post 9/11 erre the first pal at the kip of the rut was prevention and
coordination and irdbrmstion sharing and then way down the hat was prosecution.' He added, 'The
goal, as we often mid, was to collect and share as much inhumation a possible and then evaluate-all
of the executives took for responding to whatever the threat was - one of which was criminal
prosecution, but there were other tools as well." David Nahmias stated that this was a thail2lie shift
for all from thrs..,.I.Jera.
David .
Interview 1
Nahmias .
To Be
David Nahmias stated that when he arrived at Department of Justine, there was a weekly detainee
video conference that was choked by White House Cetiasel John Bellinger (Polity CoOrdinating
DATE: 91-019-2010
masa: 1.4 (C)
- DECLASSIFY OV: 01-09-2015
Committee meetings for detainees - Policy Coordt Committee). It included, Central
Intelligence Agency; Department of Defense — Counsels Office who would sometimes bring
others from the Joint Chiefs, etc.; Department of Justice (Bruce Swartz was official POC *ugh
Alice Fisher and David nannies and Col Mcatamy - Counsel for National Security Affairs went
Interview I
. _ .. ._
also); Federal Bureau of InvettigationL Ohm General Counsels Office) as the cure
agencies- i (11%1C1
To Be .
Davit! Nibithas stated that the transfirevrew board was a ooff the Policy Coordinating
Cominittee. Under the pressure-of the Supreme Court cases, it got formalized into the Administrative
Review Board and Comb:dant Status Review Board. (U)
Separate from the Policy Coordinating Committee meetings, there was a group Of individuals who
looked at those being held as enemy combatants, or potential enemy combatants, to evaluate all of the
options. This was a that Alice ' iiicfNahmias, Pat Philbin (Office of
-Legal Counsel and later DAQs *Moe) and later th)(6) (Ilti)(t) had with Central Intelligence Agency
Interview 1
Interview I
To Be
and Department of Defense General Counsel. This was an infbnnal working group, formed' after the
Jose Padilla case, to make sure we were meeting regularly and coordinating and flagging list=
David Nabmias stated that ParakeyL was, at the beginning, Bruce Swartz counsel and would
sometime attend. Laura Pareky is now 'back" at the Department. The role of Department of Justice
was to share infisrmation shout people domestically whb in theory could be enemy combatants, and
to attend meet' ederaiBureau of — tie ofDofenao and Central
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Intelligence Agency to see who they had being held as enemy combatants who potentially might be
prosecuted. David Nahmias stated that Central Intelligence Agency would consider intelligence
issues with those people and DepartznerirofDefense would consider military aspects.
To Be ' David Nahmias stated that "our' interaction was primarily with the MLDU w David .
Determined headed. MLDU was overseeing Federal Bureau of Inirestigation agents at U.S. oval ease Nahmias'
Guatitananio Bay, Cuba and Baghmm. At the beginning, there_inecnuoterineneople on short TDYs. Interview 1
David Nalunias was the primary liaison to the MLDU awl later (b)(6) (b)g)(C) David Nahmias
stated he has personal no knowledge ofany Federal Bureau ofinvestigation agents complaining
about Aba Ghat& Prism - was a issue. ..._„
To Be 21:35 ,- With respect people were being treated at U,S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, David'
Determined "it was the view of the Federal Bureau of Investigation atlots of different levels, which was shared Nahmias
strongly by those of us in the CriminalDivinion and, I think, in the Department generally, that the Interview 1
FBIs approach to detainees, similar to their approach to lots of other people, that bad beep very
suctessfill with terrorism subjects in criminal cases, is to establish a rapport, treat the people with
- respect and try-to make them into long term strategic sources of information in the way we flip had
guys all the time. And that the Depattment &Defense general approach which came from, as I
understood it. thilr military police training Of their military intelligence training which Is to develop
tactical information and involves alot of things like yelling at people, as I tam* ewessed-it..Might
be an effective teehniefrie tdrind out if a tank is about to come over a hill and shootyou but doesn't
. . work in the long run. And there was as I remember from the very beginning, in the first part of 2002,
en ongoing dispute between Federal Bureau of Investigation and-Department of Defense about how
- lxistio.getherintelligence lgerterally took the Federal Bureau of
lavers:lotion. or favored yes= Duman or mvesugauon over Department of Defense in that. .
And everyone thought DODs approach didn't work and didn't make any sense. That was coupled
with the problem that the-Department ofDefense people tended to be not particularly well trained,
Hew-people who hadret dOne a lot of interrogations who fiankly'clidn't know much of anything about
M-Qaeda• David Nabmias further stated that "they didn't know what questions to ask or how to
develop a long term relationship.' David Nahtgias stated that, "That-was-an ongoing tart.
Department of Defense always won the fight because they controlled the locations and they had
ultimate control, which we acknowledged, of the people." 23:46 David Nahmias stated that although
he never had specifics, he understood that, generally, Department ofDefe.nse had an approach of
"yelling" at people and telling them they "better* talk to us (an approach which he did not understand
to include "physical violence or anything like that"). David Nabmias stated that the Federal Bureau
of Investigation approach veal tp "go id and talk to them about being a good muslitn" and ask them to
explain why they do this, and convince them that their "brothers" had given up inthrmation about
them, and confront them with facts. David Valunias stated that the Federal Bureau of Investigation
approach was a "very effective' approach, traditionally. David Mikan stated that there was this
'ongoing dispute." 24:46 (0) •

David Nahmias stated that, initially, U.S, Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba was incredibly badly
organized (though he also stated tharthe 'flip side' of that was not nobody else could have built the
place to hold a lot bad guys quickly). David.Nalunias atate&that people were held in 'mixed
groups." The people who cooperated, that became known because "everyone could. see them go Into
the interrogation places and they would be there for a longtime, and they would get insetted and
there no where else tb put them.' Asa result, "people who had been cooperating before they got to
U.S. Naval base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba stopped cooperating" Logistically, David Nahtnias stated
it was a " r! . i . _• 25:26 Li
Interview 1
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David Nahrnias stated that he went to U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba David
Interview i
in the fall 0(2002 for two nights and almost three days. This trip Was during this period of
disorganization. There werebehaviorai 'science guys and agents down.there at tbetirae.whom they,
spoke to Criminal Investigative Task Force people were also there on the military .side, which was
largely investigator types who come •from traditional military law enforcement or reservists in law
enforcement. They had the same view as the Federal glifinti of Investigation about how to develop
relationships, so they were on that side of it. David Muni as stated that the military intelligence
people had a different view. 26:58 David Nahmias slated that when he was there, 863 was being held
in isolation and they were getting no information whatatever about him, and there was a 'heated
debate" about what to do with him. David Natimias stated that 63 is a 'very bad guy' who was
directly involved in 9tH. he would have been a hijacker bad he not been turned around when he tried
to enter the U.S. He was later captured: 2714 David Nalunise stated that there was a lot of debate
about what to do with 63. '[be Federal Bureau of Investigation•wanted to talk to him, but Department
of Defense saki, "no, well do it' David Nahrnias stated that Department of Defense was using
"aggressive" techniques. David Nahmias stated that he was not familiar with all the techniques
Department 'of Defense was using Re understood that they had him in isolation and they would yell
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. at him ad tell him had to and tell us ' 28: , • '
To Be

David Nalunias stated that at seine point 'Lahr in the. :, , -* 12.- was not sure if It was before of after
his tern to U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba ' - Nil be saw interrogation plans for 63
I I David Nahmias - , -' Ir'' .. -- plans were discussed at some Interview I
meetings with the Federal Bureau of Investigatica and military at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay,
Cuba and in Washington, at the Pentagon, with people from the venous organization& They would
go over their plan and 'lit was our general view-that it was not going to work." David Nahnias stated
thathe did not recall there being a *specific concerns* about this being illegal. David Nahmias stated
that be does recall concerns about 'this is not the way we would treat people." David Nahmias stated
that was *not that it is necessarily illegal-, you can yell at a guy who is sitting in an interrogation
room - just that it was very unlikely to he effective.* They had a graduated plan that got more
"severe," but you would only "get there' if everything else failed, and I doettliink they ever 'got
there,' as far as David Nahrnias recalls. It was "typical Department,of Defense stuff that never got
anywhere.* 29:51 Ultimately, at some point prior to David Nahmias trip to U.S. Naval Base
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Department ofDdense claimed to have "broken' 63 and got him to
cooperate. David Nahotias stated that they were trying to 'sort out* what he had 'actually said,"
David Nabs:aim stated that 'we were told that he had blurted out the name that that he know
Mohammed Atm.' David Nabndas_stated that thebehavieral piano's peoplethere mid tbalhe,had.
bail:ally been interrogatffl for hours and hours and blurted it-out. The Department of Deilmse said
they maden.breakthrough. The behavioral science reaction was just that he was giving them what
they wanted so that they would let him do whatever - eat, cc go to the bathroom, or just stop. 30:40
To Be
David Nahratas stated that he made another trip to U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bey, Cuba later
with the Policy Coordinating,Corarnittee when General General Geoffrey D. Wilier had taken over.
David Nahmias stated that U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba was much more logically
organized with different camps for people at different ntages of cooperation. You got some rewards
for being well behaved or .. • . , ,• ve. If • . 'd "bad side . invere 'shed, not in a physical
David -
Interview I
sense, but you didn't moraup. th)(51
David Nabmnis stated that there were two separate issues." Une issue was the "general pnitosopity•
(putting aside whether people were being 'mistreated"), We would "weigh-in on the FBIs behalf' not
usuegy in the big Policy Coordinating Committee meetings, but an the 'margins' of those, or in
talking to Dellinger l'Bellinger,flos in talking ta Central Intelligence Agency octc, or Denartment of
Defense ROC people. David Nshmirts stated that "It was out understendingthet there was an
Ongoing debate about that at the senior levels of the Federal Bureau of Investigation with senior
people at Department ofDefense," David Nahmias stated that it may have been Defense Intelligence
Agency, people on the Department of Defense side, and on the Federal Bureau of bfvestigation side it
was John S. Pistole. 34.06
During the summer of 2003, aised issues. Then there was a sei of conemns_abont
miMw.Mel,ahM,David recalls coming up in the summer of 2003. David Nehmies
stated thatl twu concerned about what be called 'anecdotal' shrift* were hearing, which
included Defenseintelligence.Agency women either rubbing themselves against or flashing their
breaks. There was a story about dropping the Koran on the floor. They were concerned about it
because "stupidii wC10441 work and was demeaningto people, David .Nahmlas stated-that -
we shared that information with John Bellinger - not in writing. We went over to brief him.
Someone from the DAGs ogee went with David Nehmias, maybe Stuart Levey. John Bellinger was
concerned *wally abote the . We were getting "huge heat" from the international community.
Everyone agreed that these were devolve's people and we needed to have_a _place to hold them The
theory was they had a lot of intelligence, and we weren't seeing much of anything. Mesa examples
were part of the FBIs ikuitradon. David Nabmias stated that he rant recall what examples we gave to
John Bellinger We were careful tu say we haven't investigated them. I never heard about "physical
mistreatment, striking or pushing or anything like that.' John Bellinger had the same ieaction we did
- I hope that atuff didn't happen. Re is in the General Counsels office. Ent fide was not to set
interrogation policy. David Nahmias stated that he did not knowif John Bellinger fOilowed up on it.
DaVid Nahniiaa stated that he did not hear from the Federal Bureau of Investigation whether nide
was any change as a emit of the meeting with Jobn Bellinger. David Nathan stated that be did not
hear More about these kinds of concerns until the MIA stuff came out and it in the Koss.
Determined •
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(WO) David
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David Nam= stated that it was clear we would never get any ofd esidence admitted in an article
III court, both because a decision was made that they wouldn't be Atfirandized, and they had beeiliffieL
for weeks. net was not the purpose. We wefelet i401.0% et them for crirdinal prosecution. (b)(5) I mbirview i
1(0(5) On 63, they were unhappy enough ttlet
they dial want to be associated, with it. David Nahmias stated that a big pan-of the (lisped% was
"who would take the lead.' Ls Delkiise.Inteligence Agency going to gg hi and yell and people and
basically "ruin' them and then have Federal Butmau of liwistigation -come in-and try to develop a
relationship. 63 was a Lase in point on the Department of YuStice, side about his potential Value as a
witness in-the ?manias Adoussacui prosecidion. The Federal Bureau of Investigation wanted to be in
the lead. When Dellinse Intelligence Agency realized who he was, they wanted the lead,
To Be. Almost all the time, the decision as to who would lie lead was done on the ground at U.S. liavall3ase
Determined . Guantanamo Bay, These were a few times when we would go to &Defense
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General Counsel. Theptanced to their people. AAG Criminal Division call GC at Dv/minim cif
Defense. Then go up to DAG and then ultimately AG In the case of 63, there were discussions at
"higher levels" about who should be in the lead in tiYaag to elicit intelligence (not from en abuse
. Interview I
standpoint). 0)(5)

To Be
55:47 There wereall kinds of discussions•in terms of the operations OTIS. Naval BaseGuantanamo
Bay, Cuba and how tltat affected our litigation position la habeas corpus and Supreme Court cases, or
how that affected intelligence gathering. The abuse stuff was not the focus until after Abu Ghraib
Interview 1
To Be
Paul Zimmerman asked was-there a request from the Federal Bureiu of investigation for guidance on
how should agents proceed? David Nahmias stated that he does not remember that being done in a
formal way. David Nahmiaa noted that the Federal Bureau of Investigation doesn't report to.the
Criminal Division. There could have been discussions in the DAGs office. David Nahndas dimly
recalls that Federal Bureau of investigation was doing that. '"Ln sure out reaction wee, that's fine
with us because we don't like what they're doing, we don't think its effective, and so we don't see why
you would need to be involved.' Aft the Abu 13bralb.Priton detente in David Nalmdas alpsd that
he hthird• that /lie DirectOf indict-lei to agents that they should have.ncithing to do with anything other
than, • law enforcement techni um other tlianixn 'vi Miranda .
' Nalunias
Interview I
(b)(5) David -
Nahmias '
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Did concerns about 63 lead to Federal Bureau of Investigation being cordoned off? David Nahmias
stated that there was tension about it David Nahmiaa does not think they were kept away from
anyone in any official sense. In practice, it may have happened. David Nalunias does not have a
recollection of that. .
Inteiview i
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Determined _
David Nahmies stated that, with respect to 63, Word got up tothrough Department of Defense
channeia that Department of Defense mid stop - they would itr7eatigate. There was a big debate .
about bow to approach. "Strange way to run a railroad." David Nahmiai said this was verymhush,
hug* about what had been done that was not supposed to have been done. David Nahrnias did not
other details that
Interview I.
To Be

David Nahmias stated that there were no allegatirms of deaths at U.S. Naval Base Chiantanamo Bay,
Cuba There were some suicide attempts and some dismissioas of those. There were some allegations
of deaths elsewhere. FRIs role was to gather intelligence to protect against domestic terrorist three's.
They were "forward deployed' to gather information. These were not people inTederalBureau of
Investigation custody or control Federal Bureau ofhwestigatiort was basically thee because they -
were allowed to'be. David Nahmias stated-that he did not know the details of how the Federal
Bureau of Investigation began its participation of U.S. Naval PAW Guantanaiwn Bay, Cuba. David
Nahmias statedthat it was normal for Federal Bureau of investigation to be involved, as theyhad
Interview I
• David
Interview t
been in AFG., ate- I lunit, or whoever proceeded Mm, would have set up something.
Criminal Division role was to share information mid evaluate whether there could US. Crirdinal
Prosecution weld be as option to neutralize the thre,m. 1:011:10.
To )3e (b)(5)
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