Entries in Waterboarding (4)


Pediatrician Accused of 'Waterboarding' Daughter

Sussex County Sheriff's Office(DOVER, Del.) -- A Delaware pediatrician who writes about near-death experiences of children and has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show is accused of waterboarding his 11-year-old daughter for two years, according to Delaware State Police.

Dr. Melvin Morse, 58, and his wife Pauline, 40, were arrested Tuesday, a day after their daughter told a child advocate that her father had "waterboarded" her four times between May 2009 and May 2011 while her mother watched and did nothing to stop the abuse, Cpl. Gary Fournier told ABC News.

Delaware's Child Advocacy Center first became aware of the girl, whose name has not been disclosed, following a July 12 incident in which Morse was charged with third-degree assault for allegedly pulling his daughter out of a car, dragging her across a gravel driveway and spanking her in their Sussex County home, Fournier said.

The girl reported that incident to a neighbor who called police, Fournier said. Morse was later released from custody after he posted $750 in bail.

She later told the child advocate about the alleged waterboarding, police said, triggering the parents' arrest on Tuesday.

The Morses each face two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, a second-degree felony conspiracy charge and four counts of felony first-degree reckless endangering for the alleged waterboarding incidents.

As a method of disciplining his daughter, Morse held her face under a running faucet, causing the water to go up her nose, Fournier said.

Melvin Morse is the author of two books on near-death experiences, Closer to the Light and Transformed by the Light. He appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show and Larry King Live in 2010 to discuss his research on the psychological effects of being on the verge of death.

Melvin Morse's attorney, Joe Hurley, said he did not yet know enough about the case to comment on it, but said, "There is always another side to the story."

The Morses' daughter and her 5-year-old sister are in the care of the state's Division of Family Services. Their parents have been ordered not to have contact with each other or their children. Pauline Morse was released from Sussex Correctional Institute on $14,500 unsecured bail and could not be reached for comment.

Her husband is also being held there on $14,500 secured bond. Jason Miller, a spokesman for the Delaware attorney general's office, said the state issued an emergency petition to suspend Morse's medical license Wednesday.

The Morses will appear in court next week for a preliminary hearing.

video platform video management video solutions video player

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


CIA Cleared in All But Two Interrogation Investigations

Danita Delimont/Gallo Images/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday it is closing all of its investigations into the Central Intelligence Agency's controversial enhanced interrogation program without further legal action, except in the case of two incidents in which detainees perished.

The investigations by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham into the alleged mistreatment of detainees by the CIA, which covered the experiences of more than 100 detainees, concluded that, not including the two fatal cases, "an expanded criminal investigation of the remaining matters is not warranted," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a press release. Beyond finding that the CIA officers acted "in good faith and within the scope of legal guidance" given them, in some instances Durham found the detainees were never in CIA custody at all.

CIA Director Leon Panetta said had been informed of the department's findings and he "welcomed" the news.

"We are now finally about to close this chapter of our Agency's history," he said. "As Director, I have always believed that our primary responsibility is not to the past, but to the present and future threats to the nation."

Panetta, who is on his last day as the spy chief before heading to his new job as the Secretary of Defense, said the agency will "of course" continue to cooperate in the two cases of detainee death that Holder said required further investigation. Earlier this month, Time magazine reported Durham had begun calling witnesses before a secret federal grand jury concerning his investigation into the 2003 death of Iraqi prisoner Manadel al-Jamadi, known as "the Iceman."

The inquiry into the CIA's interrogation program initially grew out of a 2008 probe into whether the CIA had purposefully destroyed nearly 100 interrogation tapes. The tapes purportedly show CIA agents using harsh interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding, on terror suspects. No charges were filed at the conclusion of that investigation.

The use of such enhanced interrogation techniques and the ensuing scandal created such tension between the White House and the CIA that at one point in a heated argument in 2009, Panetta reportedly threatened to quit his post. More recently, controversy surrounding the technique reemerged after several former officials said that it was key to gaining the intelligence that led to the successful operation against al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden -- a claim vehemently disputed by others, including Sen. John McCain, who was himself a torture victim during the Vietnam War.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Bin Laden Death Reignites Battle over Waterboarding, 'Enhanced Interrogation'

John Moore/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The death of Osama bin Laden has reignited debate about interrogation techniques and whether the framework set up during the Bush administration to detain and interrogate suspected terrorists contributed to the eventual capture of the al Qaeda leader.

In the hours after bin Laden's death Sunday, senior Obama administration officials said detainees had provided the nom de guerre of the courier who eventually lead intelligence officers to the compound housing bin Laden. Officials said the courier, who was killed during Sunday's raid, was identified by detainees as a protege of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- considered the mastermind of 9/11 -- and that he might be "living with and protecting" bin Laden.

The senior administration officials provided no information on who conducted the interviews and where they took place. But the comments sparked a debate about whether the information might have been the result of controversial, harsh interrogation techniques such as waterboarding used by intelligence officials against high-value detainees in secret overseas prisons run by the CIA in the years after 9/11.

President Bush confirmed the existence of the prisons in September of 2006, saying that the program had received strict oversight by the CIA's inspector general. But human rights groups said some of the techniques officials had used amounted to torture.

Upon taking office, President Obama signed an executive order barring the use of interrogation techniques not already authorized in the military's U.S. Army Field Manual.

At a hearing Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Eric Holder was asked if the intelligence that lead to the operation was derived from any enhanced interrogation techniques. "There was a mosaic of sources," he said.

Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., asked the attorney general whether the public could be rest assured that the intelligence did not involve enhanced techniques.

"I do not know," Holder testified.

In an interview with ABC News' Jonathan Karl Monday, former Vice President Dick Cheney was asked about reports that the information might have come directly from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was held by the CIA and later transferred to Guantanamo Bay Cuba. The Bush administration has acknowledged that Mohammed had been subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques while in CIA custody.

Cheney, who has in the past defended the use of the interrogations such as waterboarding, said, "Well, it's an enhanced interrogation program that we put in place back in our first term. And I don't know the details. All I know is what I've seen in the newspaper at this point, but it wouldn't be surprising if in fact that program produced results that ultimately contributed to the success of this venture."

On Capitol Hill, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, who has been a fierce critic of the enhanced interrogation techniques, said, "I don't have any basis to believe that...any leads here were produced by illegal activities on our part. I have no basis to know that. And my views about the fact that torture produces misinformation, not good information, are pretty well known."

Intelligence Committee chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., agreed with Levin, saying Tuesday, "To the best of our knowledge, based on a look, none of it came as a result of harsh interrogation practices."

At a news briefing Tuesday, Obama spokesperson Jay Carney revealed few details on the information gathered from interrogations. "The fact is that no single piece of information led to the successful mission that occurred on Sunday and multiple detainees provided insights into the networks of people that might have been close to bin Laden," he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


DOJ Says No Charges to be Filed in Destruction of Interrogation Tapes

Photo Courtesy - CIA [dot] gov(WASHINGTON) -- The Justice Department on Tuesday released a statement saying no one will be charged in the CIA's destruction of videotapes showing controversial interrogation methods being used on detainees.

Assistant United States Attorney John Durham has been working with a team of FBI agents and federal prosecutors to determine whether any crimes were committed, either by CIA agents or contractors working for the U.S. government.  The investigation could have led to charges of obstruction of justice, false statements and the violation of U.S. torture statues.

Ninety-two tapes apparently showing harsh treatment, including the so-called "waterboarding" technique, were destroyed in 2005.  The CIA has said its motive in getting rid of them was to protect agency veterans whose security could be compromised after the widely publicized Abu Ghraib photos surfaced.
The destruction of the tapes was triggered by Jose Rodriguez, who was chief of the agency's directorate of operations. 

CIA Director Leon E. Panetta responded to the Justice Department’s statement saying:

“The Department of Justice informed me this morning that no criminal charges will be brought against Agency officers for the destruction of video tapes of CIA detainee interrogations…The Agency has cooperated with the investigation of this issue from the start, and we welcome the decision.  We will continue, of course, to cooperate with the Department of Justice on any other aspects of the former program that it reviews.  But we are pleased that the decision was made not to charge any Agency officers for the destruction of the tapes.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio