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Government United States

FBI's Secret Interrogation Manual: Now At the Library of Congress 102

Posted by timothy
from the closed-stacks-though dept.
McGruber writes "The FBI Supervisory Special Agent who authored the FBI's interrogation manual submitted the document for copyright protection — in the process, making it available to anyone with a card for the Library of Congress to read. The story is particularly mind-boggling for two reasons. First, the American Civil Liberties Union fought a legal battle with the FBI over access to the document. When the FBI relented and released a copy to the ACLU, it was heavily redacted — unlike the 70-plus page version of the manual available from the Library of Congress. Second, the manual cannot even qualify for a copyright because it is a government work. Anything 'prepared by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person's official duties' is not subject to copyright in the United States."
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FBI's Secret Interrogation Manual: Now At the Library of Congress

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  • by cold fjord (826450) on Sunday December 22, 2013 @04:28PM (#45761803)

    "A document that has not been released does not even need a copyright," says Steven Aftergood, a government secrecy expert at the Federation of American Scientists. "Who is going to plagiarize from it? Even if you wanted to, you couldn't violate the copyright because you don't have the document. It isn't available."

    "The whole thing is a comedy of errors," he adds. "It sounds like gross incompetence and ignorance."

    It's genius, all the way down.

    • Re:Key paragraph (Score:4, Informative)

      by deconfliction (3458895) on Sunday December 22, 2013 @05:38PM (#45762287)

      Other key information-
      "
      The ACLU has previously criticized the interrogation manual for endorsing the isolation of detainees and including favorable references to the KUBARK manual, a 1963 CIA interrogation guidebook that encouraged torture methods, including electric shocks. The group has also expressed concern that the manual adopts aspects of the Reid Technique, a common law enforcement interview method that has been known to produce false confessions. A redacted sentence in the manual says the document is intended for use by the FBI's "clean" teams—investigators who collect information intended for use in federal prosecutions. That raises the question of whether teams collecting information that's not for use in federal courts would have to follow the manual's (already permissive) guidelines at all.

      Another section, blacked out in the version provided to the ACLU, encourages FBI agents to stage a "date-stamped full-body picture" of a detainee, complete with a bottle of water, for use in refuting abuse allegations at trial.
      "

    • ..but torture wasn't supposed to be official, so the thought he could copyright it!

  • leaks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by svirre (39068) on Sunday December 22, 2013 @04:29PM (#45761807)

    A useful way of leaking a document to the public while maintaining plausible deniability? The author may be sympathetic to ACLU.

    • That's what I thought when I read the original submission. You get it out to the public, and you have a defense if they decide to take you to court for leaking it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      More likely the FBI wanted to be able to charge anyone possessing or sharing it with copyright infringement.

  • ...where's the link to a PDF?
    • by mysidia (191772)

      The document is available for review, but not scanning it, or even writing your own notes about it.

      Because the two versions are similar, a side-by-side comparison allows a reader to deduce what was redacted in the later version. The copyright office does not allow readers to take pictures or notes, but during a brief inspection, a few redactions stood out.

      • The questions stands. Where is the .pdf?

      • So you're saying that all the teeny tiny CCD cameras available in shops in the recent years are completely useless? If this is not the case for having one of them at hand, I don't know what is.
        • by sumdumass (711423)

          Why go that far, just stuff it down your pants leg and sneak it out. Then destroy it so you don't get caught, and if you do, plead guilty for a $50,000 fine and some community service. That is all you need to do Mr. Sandy Berger.

  • by bitingduck (810730) on Sunday December 22, 2013 @05:10PM (#45762071) Homepage

    It could easily be a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.

    In the Reynolds case that established the state secrets privilege of the executive branch, the government fought hard to not disclose the accident reports that the widows of civilian contractors were trying to obtain to show that the government had been negligent in maintenance of the aircraft and that they should therefore receive substantial awards. The case started in 1949, and ran into 1953 before it was finally closed by the supreme court in favor of the government.

    In the meantime, a routine review in 1950 declassified the disputed reports from "secret" to "restricted", which is the equivalent of FOUO, which would have allowed the use of the reports in the case. Everyone involved in the case, from the plaintiffs up to the supreme court, and including all witnesses, was unaware of the declassification, which wasn't discovered until the 2000's. The case ran to its conclusion with everyone involved continuing to believe that the documents were classified. The case went on to be the legal basis for all future claims of state secrets privilege by the executive branch.

    ref:http://www.historycommons.org/timeline.jsp?civilliberties_patriot_act=civilliberties_state_secrets&timeline=civilliberties

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No. This is clearly demonstrates that the system actually works. In spite of the hysterical bitching that people "classify documents to hide crimes", the classification criteria and declassification criteria are very rigid, it's a felony to illegally classify something that is unclasified, and the declassification review system works. In both of these cases, the redaction decisions were appropriate in the context they were made. The declassification decisions were also appropriate, and the information now h

      • by Anonymous Coward
        In spite of the hysterical bitching that people "classify documents to hide crimes"

        Except that's EXACTLY what the government did in U.S. v. Reynolds. The later findings of other courts that "well, the Soviets MIGHT have been able to learn something from the accident report" is a fucking load of bullshit, and is evident to anyone that's actually read the declassified documents.
  • Why the hell is there an article about the manual being found and not an article containing the portions of the manual that were previously redacted?

    It's ignoring the meat to talk about the how the potatoes were picked at the farm.

    • Why the hell is there an article about the manual being found and not an article containing the portions of the manual that were previously redacted?

      "
      The ACLU has previously criticized the interrogation manual for endorsing the isolation of detainees and including favorable references to the KUBARK manual, a 1963 CIA interrogation guidebook that encouraged torture methods, including electric shocks. The group has also expressed concern that the manual adopts aspects of the Reid Technique, a common law enforcement interview method that has been known to produce false confessions. A redacted sentence in the manual says the document is intended for use by

    • by ciurana (2603)

      Howdy.

      Works in the Library of Congress may be reviewed but not copied. The person(s) who reviewed this manual, and found the discrepancies, noted them and made them public. The original copyright holder must give permission for this work to be reproduced. That's why there are no copies, just mentions of the discrepancies.

      Not sure without checking with my IP attorney how to get around this, since it's unlikely that the copyright holder will grant further copying permission. Perhaps a FOIA request to the

  • by Areyoukiddingme (1289470) on Sunday December 22, 2013 @08:16PM (#45763341)

    Sounds to me like some genius at the FBI was trying to gain additional control over that manual. If they could copyright it, they could issue DMCA take down notices to anybody hosting a copy of the manual when it finally does get out in unredacted form. Somebody who didn't know the law thought they could give themselves a club to use against sites publishing it. Too bad for them that it's not legal to copyright it.

    Please bear that in mind, anybody who does publish it. You will probably get take down notices. Ignore them. They're illegal. If you're using third party hosting and your host removes it, file the counter notice immediately. The take down notice they receive will be illegal.

    I'll bet a pizza that there will be at least one DMCA notice issued before somebody gets a handle on this idiot lawyer at the FBI.

  • 27 July 2012, to be precise: linky [aclu.org] [redacted PDF].
    I'll post a link to the unredacted version if I can find a non-walled URL.

  • by koan (80826)

    "Anything 'prepared by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person's official duties' is not subject to copyright in the United States."

    But if the data is sent to a private company who then processes it does that still apply.
    Because the DoD is doing exactly that.

    • by tomhath (637240)

      This isn't DoD, it's FBI. But the answer to your question is that something prepared by a non-government company (contractors) can be copyrighted.

      This manual isn't classified, but it was obviously a mistake to submit it for copyright.

      • by koan (80826)

        I'm referring to the DoD using a private company for their video and photo storage, same issue less accessibility.

    • Copyright != classified. If you want to copyright something, you don't do it to keep it classified, but to prevent people making unauthorized copies of it (for profit). Publishing about the content is still legal and quoting is too, up till a certain degree, when it comes to copyright. When you want it classified, you don't want the contents in any form to become public. It's not about copies being made, but about the actual things that are in the document. Quoting or describing what's inside is prohibited
  • Then the next thing they will do is increase penalties for copyright violations for "national security".

  • Well, where is it? Post a torrent link or I don't believe you.

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