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Is U.S. Blocking Publication of Former NCIS Investigator's Book?

Troops move a detainee inside the Guantánamo detention center called Camp X-Ray on April 3, 2002.
Troops move a detainee inside the Guantánamo detention center called Camp X-Ray on April 3, 2002.

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba -- A former NCIS investigator who worked at the wartime prison during the Bush administration has written a book, "Unjustifiable Means." Now his civil liberties lawyers are asking a bipartisan group of senators for help getting the Pentagon to clear it for publication.

Retired 27-year career federal worker Mark Fallon's manuscript "has been held up for more than seven months in 'pre-publication review,' and we are increasingly concerned that some in the government are committed to suppressing Mr. Fallon's account," the lawyers write six senators. They include Republican John McCain, the former Vietnam War prisoner, and Democrat Dianne Feinstein, who chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee when it drew up the so-called Torture Report on the Bush administration's secret CIA prison network.

The lawyers' letter describes what might be troubling Defense Department officials about the book:

" 'Unjustifiable Means' concerns the Bush administration's policies authorizing the cruel treatment and torture of detainees. It is an insider's account of the moral and strategic costs of those policies and the many ways that honorable Americans working in government protested and resisted them."

Between 2002 and 2004 Fallon was Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Defense's Criminal Investigation Task Force, and was responsible for some interrogations and evaluating intelligence with an eye toward prosecution by military commission. He has been outspokenly critical of decision making during that period, telling the Miami Herald last year that some captives were brought to Guant�namo based on "the sketchiest bit of intelligence with nothing to corroborate."

"It was clear early on that the intelligence was grossly wrong," he said. Most "weren't battlefield captives," he said, calling many "bounty babies" -- men captured by Afghan warlords or Pakistani security forces.

Thursday, he told the Herald that the book names "those in command positions that helped drive the policy decisions to adopt torture within the Department of Defense."

The lawyers wrote the senators that other U.S. agents who worked on interrogation policy in the Bush administration have published books on the topic, in some instances with information blacked out. It cites as examples former FBI agent Ali Soufan's "Black Banners" and former CIA agent Jose Rodriguez's "Hard Measures."

Carol Rosenberg: 305-376-3179, @carolrosenberg ___

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