Justice Department Launches Investigation Into Two Detainee Deaths

Jun 30, 2011

The Justice Department has launched full-blown criminal investigations in the deaths of two detainees in U.S. custody, after prosecutors sifted through more than 100 allegations of brutal treatment.

NPR has learned the cases involve one death at Abu Ghraib in 2003 and another at a CIA site called Salt Pit in Afghanistan.

Federal prosecutor John Durham is working with a grand jury in Alexandria Virginia to find out whether any CIA contractors committed war crimes and other offenses in the killings of two detainees.

The investigation is controversial among people who work in the intelligence community who say their colleagues were only trying to protect the country.

But the review turned up allegations that some CIA contractors could have gone beyond the bounds of the law, killing a man at Abu Ghraib and another in Afghanistan.

Sources tell NPR the Justice Department is also looking at false statements charges against a CIA employee who may have lied about the destruction of interrogation videotapes.

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