WASHINGTON - Sometime after Mohamed al-Kahtani was imprisoned at Guantánamo
around the beginning of 2003, military officials believed they had a prize
on their hands - someone who was perhaps intended to have been a hijacker
in the Sept. 11 plot.
But his interrogation was not yielding much, so they decided in the middle
of 2003 to try a new tactic. Mr. Kahtani, a Saudi, was given a
tranquilizer, put in sensory deprivation garb with blackened goggles, and
hustled aboard a plane that was supposedly taking him to the Middle East.
After hours in the air, the plane landed back at the United States naval
base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where he was not returned to the regular
prison compound but put in an isolation cell in the base's brig. There, he
was subjected to harsh interrogation procedures that he was encouraged to
believe were being conducted by Egyptian national security operatives.
The account of Mr. Kahtani's treatment given to The New York Times recently
by military intelligence officials and interrogators is the latest of
several developments that have severely damaged the military's longstanding
public version of how the detention and interrogation center at Guantánamo
Interviews with former intelligence officers and interrogators provided new
details and confirmed earlier accounts of inmates being shackled for hours
and left to soil themselves while exposed to blaring music or the insistent
meowing of a cat-food commercial. In addition, some may have been forcibly
given enemas as punishment