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Archive for Thursday, January 21, 2010

Intel chief concedes errors in bomb case

January 21, 2010

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— The nation’s intelligence chief on Wednesday conceded missteps in the government’s handling of the Christmas Day airline bombing attempt, but his comments about the failure to use a special federal interrogation team may have amounted to a misstep of his own.

National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair raised new questions Wednesday before a Senate panel about how well prepared the administration is to respond on short notice to domestic terrorist acts.

Blair suggested the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, also known as HIG, should have questioned the Nigerian airline bomb incident suspect before any decisions were made on whether to place him in the civilian court system.

“That unit was created exactly for this purpose,” Blair told the Senate Homeland Security Committee. “We did not invoke the HIG in this case. We should have.”

But the elite interrogation unit cited by Blair was designed by the Obama administration last year to deal with suspects captured abroad. And it is not operational yet, FBI Director Robert Mueller said Wednesday.

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