The U.S. government‘s elite interrogation unit, formed after the al-Qaeda suspect torture scandal, provides extensive training to local police, other federal agencies and friendly foreign governments, USA Today reports. Since its creation in 2009, the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, which is overseen by the FBI with members drawn from the bureau, Defense Department and CIA, has sponsored instruction and research for 40 agencies, including the Los Angeles and Philadelphia police departments. Group Director Frazier Thompson of the FBI said its techniques bear no resemblance to the abusive treatment exposed after the capture of al-Qaeda suspects wanted for their involvement in the 9/11 attacks and during the Iraq War. “Everything we do is lawful, humane and based on the best science available,” said Thompson.
He said that science is in increasing demand, especially among local law enforcement agencies facing an array of potential threats and the responsibility to gather accurate information from suspects and witnesses. “We’re having to say no to people,” Thompson said. Mark Fallon, chairman of the group’s Research Committee, said it has been challenging long-held law enforcement practices that have relied on confrontational or adversarial techniques to elicit information during interrogations. Fallon referred to statistics maintained by the Innocence Project, which laid some of the blame on coercive or harsh interrogation methods for contributing to dozens of false confessions in criminal investigations.