Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Scott Horton wins award for investigative piece on Gitmo "suicides"

In keeping with Scott's own style Foreign Policy asks six questions of Scott:

Last night, Harper's Magazine writer Scott Horton (pictured above left) won a National Magazine Award in the reporting category, beating out the favorite, Michael Hastings's Rolling Stoneprofile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who lost his job as commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan. Horton's winning entry was "The Guantanamo 'Suicides': A Camp Delta Sergeant Blows the Whistle." The piece is an investigation of the suspicious deaths of three inmates at Guantánamo. I have known Horton since the mid-1990s, when we met in Central Asia. He was an unusual hybrid of corporate lawyer and human rights defender. His writing career began a bit later -- in the early years of the Bush administration with an email blast called "No Comment," a compilation of links and short commentary on national politics that he distributed to friends and interested colleagues. Its searing approach attracted much attention, led to the blog being absorbed by Harper's, and now recognition for this breakthrough article. Horton conducts his own email interviews in a "Six Questions" format, so I asked him to submit to the same. His replies follow.

O&G: In your main piece, you tell the story of Col. Michael Bumgarner. Can you catch us up as to what has happened in the meantime with the Justice Department's treatment of the three men's deaths, and in addition with Staff Sgt. Joseph Hickman, the main whistle-blower in your story?

Sergeant Hickman continues to serve with his unit, as do several other guards that night whose observations supported the article. In fact, after the story appeared a source in the office of Secretary of Defense told me that an effort would be made to "reach out" to these "disgruntled soldiers," but I'm sure the Pentagon discovered the same thing I did: These soldiers were not remotely "disgruntled." They were and are all proud to serve and proud of their service at Guantánamo, which won them commendations. They were concerned about telling the truth, however. There is no sign of any further examination of the facts by the Justice Department -- though it did use dubious national security claims to block a congressional investigation when a House Judiciary subcommittee attempted to look into it.

What more do we know now about Camp No, the black site at Guantanamo where the men appear to have been taken? Is this a CIA-run section of the camp?

I am still investigating Camp No. In the meantime I have developed more evidence that Camp No was used by the intelligence community in connection with interrogations -- including by the CIA from 2003 through 2006. But it's not clear that the CIA was the only agency authorized to use Camp No.

Click here to continue reading the interview.