A secret federal grand jury is now hearing witnesses in the decade-old case of the “Iceman,” an Abu Ghraib prisoner who died on the CIA’s watch. It’s just one of several cases in the jury’s “investigation of possible violations of federal criminal laws involving War Crimes, Torture, and related federal offenses,” according to a subpoena signed by prosecutor John Durham, a US attorney. The process could result in charges for CIA officers and government contractors, Time reports.
The “Iceman,” so called because his body was put on ice to slow decomposition, was a suspected terrorist named Manadel al-Jamadi; his death was ruled a homicide, but no one has been convicted of the crime. The current investigation, however, is homing in on CIA interrogator Mark Swanner, who questioned Jamadi shortly before he died. It’s not clear, notes Adam Zagorin, what charges Swanner could face, “But any charges involving the CIA, much less accusations of war crimes and torture, could be explosive, and Durham's inquiry amounts to a crawl through a political minefield." The case faces major political hurdles, however, as some officials, including Bush-era AG Michael Mukasey, demand an end to such CIA probes. (Read more Abu Ghraib stories.)