US interrogators forced a Saudi detainee at Guantanamo to wear a bra and put a thong on his head and a leash around his neck.
But a top Pentagon general said that while the prisoner had been degraded and abused he was not tortured, so a recommendation to reprimand the Guantanamo commander of the time was overturned.
Lieutenant General Randall Schmidt, who headed an inquiry into alleged abuses at the camp in Cuba, told of the abuse of Mohamed al-Qahtani, a Saudi who was alleged to have admitted being the so-called 20th hijacker for the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
Lt Gen Schmidt said that during interrogations, al-Qahtani was led around by a leash tied to chains and made to perform dog tricks, a thong was placed on his head, he was forced to wear a bra and to stand naked in front of a female interrogator.
Al-Qahtani was told that his mother and sister were “whores” and that he was homosexual, according to the account of his investigation given by the general.
But Lt Gen Schmidt told the Senate Armed Services Committee “I do not, however, consider this treatment to have crossed the threshold of being inhumane.”
“As the bottom line, we found no torture. Detention and interrogation operations were safe, secure and humane.”
But Lt Gen Schmidt did say that the inquiry found the Saudi had suffered “abusive and degrading treatment” which was “determined by the cumulative effect of creative, persistent and lengthy interrogations”.
Lt Gen Schmidt said he had recommended a reprimand of Lieutenant General Geoffrey Miller who had been in charge of Guantanamo and is now helping run the prison system in Iraq.
But General Bantz Craddock, head of the US Southern Command which oversees Guantanamo, told the committee he had decided against admonishing Lt Gen Miller.
“I have forwarded this report to the department of the army inspector general for review and action as he deems appropriate,” Craddock said.
Most of the detainees, who were seized in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban, or Iraq following the ousting of President Saddam Hussein, have been held for more than three years without access to a lawyer.
Democratic lawmakers have called for action to change the way the camp is run or for its closure.