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A newly declassified opinion in a Guantanamo prisoner lawsuit gives the most detailed picture yet of how U.S. authorities might overcome, to the satisfaction of civilian judges, allegations that torture taints key evidence.
U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle's Aug. 3 ruling  [PDF], unsealed yesterday, denies a Yemeni captive's bid to toss out confessions he claims were coerced.
Huvelle was won over by the precision of the agent's testimony, given in person in her Washington, D.C., courtroom, and backed up by notes made at the time that al-Qurashi showed no signs of abuse. More than three pages describing his testimony are blacked out, but it's clear from the rest of Huvelle's opinion that she was impressed by the agent's recall of details, down to the tile floor of the interrogation room and the clothes he and al-Qurashi wore for their two-hour session.
The judge's ruling recounts the agent's medical and military experience, which began during Vietnam and included undergoing "abusive interrogations, simulated drowning, and overnight stress positions."
"This history makes it particularly likely that [Redacted] was able to accurately observe the physical and mental conditions of the arrestees whom he interviewed," Huvelle wrote, adding that the agent was a "credible and reliable witness."