US interrogator lifts lid on Guantanamo Bay suspects

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The Independent Online

An American interrogator who has questioned several terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay has given an extraordinary interview to US television, speaking freely about David Hicks, an Australian detainee.

The interrogator, said to be in the US Army and identified only as Tom, said on the 60 Minutes II programme that Mr Hicks, from Adelaide, became so deeply involved in the al-Qa'ida network that he was offered the chance to be a suicide bomber. Mr Hicks declined, he said.

The interview was aired less than a week before a group of Guantanamo detainees, including Mr Hicks, go before the US Supreme Court to challenge the government's right to hold them indefinitely at the military base in Cuba.

The interview was a shock for the family of Mr Hicks, and to his Australian lawyer, Stephen Kenny, who says US officials have tried to gag him from speaking about the case.

"Tom" said that Mr Hicks, who has been held for more than two years without charge in the prison camp after being captured fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan, was part of an al-Qa'ida plan to use indoctrinated westerners to infiltrate the US. The interrogator said Mr Hicks was a "wild card" who represented a continuing security risk.