The Navy News Service reported on the new FLETC Counterterrorism Operations Training Facility and the manner in which NCIS was having to train personnel to deploy into combat zones. Mark underscored the importance of the new facilities and said “High-risk operations are becoming the norm for agents around the world.”
Bill Dedman wrote about Mark and others speaking publicly for the first time about the efforts waged to try to stop coercive and degrading detainee treatment at Guantanamo Bay. Mark told NBC that coercive interrogations trained confessions and made left them unable to prosecute terrorist suspects. Mark explained to NBC News “We always said, there are no secrets, just delayed disclosures” and CITF personnel were told their grandchildren would ask them what they did during the war, so “We wanted our folks to be proud.” Mark described the investigative process CITF used to investigate terrorists.
Bill Dedman reported on the torture of Guantanamo detainee Mohammed al-Qahtani and Mark and the CITF’s battles to try to prevent his torture. Dedman described the SERE tactics that were used on the prisoner and approvals by the Secretary of Defense. Mark told NBC “You’re talking illegal acts here. The secretary of defense can’t change the law. One of the things that we told our personnel was the fact that during Nuremberg, Nazi war criminals were actually tried for acts that were perpetrated by them under orders of their superiors.” Mark also told NBC that “The techniques made some detainees unprosecutable.”
Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane reporting on a CIA lawyer’s visit to Guantanamo who said the torture laws were vaguely written and that it was basically subject to perception, as well as “If the detainee dies, you’re doing it wrong.” The NY Times described Mark’s and his comments that “That looks like the kinds of stuff Congressional hearings are made of” and “Someone needs to be considering how history will look back at this.”
McClatchy reported on Mark’s reaction after a CIA lawyer came to Guantanamo to explain how the CIA was implementing their interrogation torture program. McClatchy quoted from an email Mark wrote saying “This looks like the kinds of stuff Congressional hearings are mad of” and Someone needs to be considering how history will look back at this.”
Officials from the White House, Justice Department and Congress are considering revisions to the criminal rights afforded defendants upon arrest. The discussions became public when presidential adviser David Axelrod told CNN that the focus is on expanding the “public safety exception that allows a delay in administering” Miranda rights. The question, Axelrod said, is “how elastic is that, and do we need to make any sort of adjustment to it?” According to White House officials, these discussions predated the failed car bombing in Times Square earlier this month. And government officials involved in the discussions say the debate is much broader than the public safety exception to Miranda warnings.
Mark told NPR he was not convinced any kind of change in Miranda was necessary and “it may, in fact, be a solution in search of a problem,” fearing cased could be lost if the Supreme Court overrules the government procedures.
Micheal Isikoff wrote a story on how declassified documents reveled frustration regarding lack of response for the USS Cole attack, by both the Clinton and Bush administrations. Mark told NBC that wishing weeks NCIS and FBI investigators had solid evidence the USS Cole attack was linked to both al-Qaida and to Osama bin Laden.
The Associated Press and Yahoo News announced the release of a study of violent extremists that Mark was the program manager of at the Qatar International Academy for Security Studies. Mark noted that the interview of former detainees suggested that treatment behind bars was a factor in keeping them from rejoining extremist groups. Mark said: “The fact they were treated with dignity and humanely was a positive influence on them once they are in custody and continued to be a positive influence years later.” Mark recommended a more “holistic view” as countries evaluate their counterterrorism plans.
The NYU School of Law announced Mark would be one of the panelists at the Center On Law And Security.
Amid the debate over the threat posed by homegrown Islamic terrorism, CFR Associate Staff Writer Jonathan Masters interviewed Mark. He told CFR “A more aware and educated police officer or agent, who understands and is trained in community-engagement strategies, can certainly go a long way in curbing violent extremism.” Mark pointed out that the Muslim American community is very engaged in trying to help law enforcement thwart terrorism and that tips from that community were the source of information that led to potential terrorist plots in forty-eight our of 120 cased studied.