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Al-Qahtani has never been charged with a crime, has no lawyer and remains in detention at Guantánamo. But his case is already the subject of several probes in Washington. A year ago, a senior FBI counterterrorism official wrote the Pentagon complaining of abuses that FBI agents said they witnessed at the naval base. The agents reported seeing or hearing of "highly aggressive interrogation techniques." The letter singles out the treatment of al-Qahtani in September and October of 2002 before the log obtained by TIME begins saying a dog was used "in an aggressive manner to intimidate Detainee #63." The FBI letter said al-Qahtani had been "subjected to intense isolation for over three months" and "was evidencing behavior consistent with extreme psychological trauma (talking to non existent people, reporting hearing voices, crouching in a cell covered with a sheet for hours on end)." The Justice Department and the Pentagon have opened separate investigations into the charges. A Pentagon official tells TIME he expects that many of those charges will prove to be unfounded.
Interrogators eventually compelled al-Qahtani to focus on his fellow detainees at Guantánamo. In that process, he implicated more than 20 other Gitmo prisoners as members of al-Qaeda or associates of bin Laden's, according to the Los Angeles Times. A military board has since used al-Qahtani's identification as a factor in prolonging the detention of some of them. Whether he has won more favorable treatment in return for his cooperation is unknown. But at least one of those he named, a Yemeni, is now claiming in a U.S. federal court that al-Qahtani's statements about him are unreliable because they "appear to have been obtained by the use of torture."
President Bush has said the U.S. would apply principals consistent with the Geneva Conventions to "unlawful combatants," subject to military necessity, at Guantánamo and elsewhere. The Pentagon argues that al-Qahtani's treatment was always "humane." But the Geneva Conventions forbid any "outrage on personal dignity." Eric Freedman, a constitutional-law expert and consultant in some of the growing number of federal lawsuits challenging U.S. treatment of these detainees, says, "If the techniques described in this interrogation log are not outrages to personal dignity, then words have no meaning." Then again, in the war on terrorism, the personal dignity of a fanatic trained for mass murder may be an inevitable casualty.
With reporting by Brian Bennett, Timothy J. Burger, Sally B. Donnelly and Viveca Novak/Washington