Perhaps you remember Abdallah Higazy? He was detained as a material witness to the World Trade Center attacks when FBI agents found a transceiver in his hotel room. It later turned out that the transceiver belonged to a pilot who was staying on another floor, and he was released. However, between his detention and his release, he confessed to owning the radio and gave three separate accounts of how it came into his possession. He was detained, interrogated, and treated as possibly complicit in a massive terrorist attack. He knew he was in tremendous danger, even though he also knew he was innocent. Why did he confess?
It turns out that FBI Agent Michael Templeton threatened to turn Egyptian security forces on Higazy’s family, who still lived in Egypt. This scared him so badly that he’d admit to anything in order to save them from the consequences. So Higazy agreed to trade his life for the safety of his family, which is a noble act, but perhaps not so remarkable as the FBI’s decision to force that choice upon him. What’s interesting about this is that the details of Templeton’s threat have been classified. Continue reading Coerced Testimony, Classified?