WASHINGTON — The Justice Department announced Thursday it has ended its investigation into CIA interrogations of terrorist detainees without bringing criminal charges.

The decision in the probes of the deaths of two terrorist suspects marks the end of a wide-ranging criminal investigation by federal prosecutor John Durham into interrogation practices during the presidency of George W. Bush.

Durham has looked into the treatment of 101 detainees in U.S. custody since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Durham's probe into another episode involving the CIA began in January 2008 when the Justice Department chose him to conduct a criminal investigation into the agency's destruction of videotapes it had made of its interrogations of terrorist suspects.

In August 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder expanded Durham's mandate to include a preliminary review of the CIA's interrogation of specific detainees overseas. In June 2011, Holder approved Durham's request to move into a full criminal investigation of the two deaths.

The 2009 expansion followed the public release of an internal CIA inspector general's report that revealed agency interrogators once threatened to kill a Sept. 11 suspect's children and suggested another would be forced to watch his mother be sexually assaulted. The report said some CIA interrogators went beyond Bush administration restrictions that gave them wide latitude to use severe tactics such as waterboarding, a simulated drowning technique.

In regard to the just-completed probe of the two detainees' deaths, Holder said that "based on the fully developed factual record concerning the two deaths, the department has declined prosecution because the admissible evidence would not be sufficient to obtain and sustain a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt."

In a message to employees Thursday, CIA Director David Petraeus said that "as intelligence officers, our inclination, of course, is to look ahead to the challenges of the future rather than backwards at those of the past. Nonetheless, it was very important that we supported fully the Justice Department in its efforts" and "I would like to thank everyone who played a role" in doing so.

Former CIA Director Michael Hayden said he was "heartened that the investigation is complete, and I'm heartened by the results. I had great confidence in Mr. Durham. I just regret that many CIA officers had to go through yet another review of these activities."

Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, called the outcome of the investigation "nothing short of a scandal."

"Continuing impunity threatens to undermine the universally recognized prohibition on torture and other abusive treatment," Jaffer said.

Durham's review examined whether CIA interrogators used any unauthorized interrogation techniques, and if so, whether the techniques could constitute violations of the torture statute or any other laws. The approach taken in the probe was not to prosecute anyone who acted in good faith and within the scope of the legal guidance given by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel regarding the interrogation of detainees.

Thursday's announcement came in the deaths of Gul Rahman and Manadel al-Jamadi.

Rahman died in the early hours of Nov. 20, 2002, after being shackled to a cold concrete wall in a secret CIA prison in northern Kabul, Afghanistan, known as the Salt Pit. He was suspected of links to the terrorist group al-Qaida. Rahman is the only detainee known to have died in a CIA-run prison.

Before Durham looked into Rahman's death, two other federal prosecutors conducted separate reviews and could not prove the CIA officer running the Salt Pit had intended to harm the detainee – a point made in a government document that has been released publicly.

Al-Jamadi died in 2003 at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. A military autopsy declared al-Jamadi's death a homicide.

At Abu Ghraib prison, instead of turning al-Jamadi over to the Army, CIA officers took him to a shower stall. They put a sandbag over his head, cuffed his hands behind his back and chained his arms to a barred window. When he leaned forward, his arms stretched painfully behind and above his back.

Within an hour, he was dead.

At least three CIA employees came under scrutiny, including a paramilitary officer who ran what was known as the detainee exploitation cell at Abu Ghraib.

The officer was on the raid when a group of Navy SEALs captured al-Jamadi. He processed al-Jamadi into the prison but he was not in the shower room when al-Jamadi died.

The officer failed to have a doctor supervise al-Jamadi before he was processed into the prison, violating agency procedures. The officer, who was reprimanded over the incident, now works for a defense contractor.


Associated Press writers Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman contributed to this report.

Also on HuffPost:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Urinating On Corpses

    <em>This image made on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012, from an undated video posted on the Internet on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2012, purports to show men in U.S. Marine combat gear standing in a semi-circle over three bodies, urinating on the corpses of Taliban fighters. (AP Photo) </em> In January, a video surfaced on YouTube that purportedly showed four U.S. Marines <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/11/marines-urinate-corpses-video-afghanistan_n_1200513.html" target="_hplink">urinating on the bodies</a> of three dead Taliban fighters. The Marine Corps launched an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/13/marines-urinating-on-taliban-identified_n_1204653.html" target="_hplink">internal investigation</a> in addition to the criminal probe started by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called the incident "utterly despicable." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/11/afghanistan-marines-urinating-video_n_1200324.html" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>

  • Nazi SS Symbol

    <em>This Sept. 2010 photo posted recently on the Titiusville, Fla.-based arms manufacturer Knight's Armament's Internet blog shows members of Charlie Company, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif. in Sangin, Helmand province, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/knightarmco.com)</em> In February, a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/09/us-marines-nazi-ss_n_1265930.html" target="_hplink">photo of a U.S. scout sniper team </a>posing in front of a flag that bore a logo resembling the Nazi SS symbol surfaced. The <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16973868" target="_hplink">U.S. Marine Corps condemned the photograph</a>, but did not take any disciplinary action. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/09/us-marines-nazi-ss_n_1265930.html" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>

  • Quran Burning

    <em>Afghan demonstrators show copies of Quran books allegedly set alight by US soldiers, during a protest against Quran desecration at the gate of Bagram airbase on February 21, 2012, at Bagram about 60 kilometres (40 miles) north of Kabul. (SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images)</em> In February, the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/21/afghanistan-quran_n_1290098.html" target="_hplink">burning of Qurans</a> on a U.S. military base in Afghanistan ignited massive protests and resulted in <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/22/afghanistan-protests-turn-violent_n_1292935.html" target="_hplink">multiple deaths and injuries</a>. Senior Pentagon officials <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/24/quran-burning-apology_n_1299971.html" target="_hplink">apologized for the incident</a>, calling it an accident. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/21/afghanistan-quran_n_1290098.html" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>

  • Secret Service Prostitute Scandal

    <em>General view of the 'Pley Club' night club in Cartagena on April 18, 2012, where US Secret Service bodyguards would have hired a group of prostitutes earlier this month. (MANUEL PEDRAZA/AFP/Getty Images)</em> According to the Associated Press, U.S. Secret Services agents were sent home after allegedly bringing back <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/19/secret-service-prostitute-scandal-sex-cartagena-colombia_n_1437845.html" target="_hplink">prostitutes to their hotel</a> in Cartagena, Colombia. The officers were in the Colombian city preparing for a visit by President Barack Obama for the Summit of the Americas. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/19/secret-service-prostitute-scandal-sex-cartagena-colombia_n_1437845.html" target="_hplink">Read the full story here. </a>

  • Secret Service Scandal Deepens

    <em>General view of the Hotel Caribe in Cartagena, Colombia on April 19, 2012, where US Secret Service agents stayed earlier this month and would have taken hired prostitutes. (MANUEL PEDRAZA/AFP/Getty Images)</em> The Cartagena <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/15/secret-service-prostitution-summit-of-americas_n_1426744.html" target="_hplink">sex scandal deepened</a> as 11 agents were placed on leave for misconduct. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/15/secret-service-prostitution-summit-of-americas_n_1426744.html" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>

  • Civilian Massacre

    <em>In this Sunday, March 11, 2012, file photo, Anar Gul gestures to the body of her grandchild, who was allegedly killed by a U.S. service member in Panjwai, Kandahar province south of Kabul, Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Allauddin Khan, File)</em> In March, U.S. Staff Army Sgt. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/29/robert-bales-lawyer-smell-human-bodies_n_1387719.html" target="_hplink">Robert Bales allegedly massacred Afghan villagers</a> while they slept, the AP reports. He has been charged with <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/22/robert-bales-to-be-charged-17-counts-of-murder_n_1373983.html" target="_hplink">17 counts of premeditated murder</a>, as well as a number of other offenses, the AP added in a separate story. Nine of his victims were children. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/22/robert-bales-to-be-charged-17-counts-of-murder_n_1373983.html" target="_hplink">Read the full story here</a>.

  • Posing With Suicide Bomber Remains

    <em>This photo illustration taken in Los Angeles shows the April 18, 2012, edition of the Los Angeles Times newspaper showing a picture of US soldiers and Afghan policemen posing with the mangled remains of a suspected Taliban suicide bomber in Afghanistan. The Los Angeles Times building is seen in the background. (JOE KLAMAR/AFP/GettyImages)</em> In April, the <em>LA Times</em> published photos of <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/post/la-times-publishes-photos-against-pentagon-wishes/2012/04/18/gIQAdfVORT_blog.html" target="_hplink">U.S. soldiers posing with the remains of Afghan corpses</a>. The Pentagon <a href="http://www.isaf.nato.int/article/isaf-releases/comisaf-condemns-actions-in-photos-showing-u.s.-service-members-posing-with-insurgent-remains.html" target="_hplink">opposed the publication </a>of the photos, stating that they might incite retaliative violence. The photos show more than a dozen soldiers purportedly posing with the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/19/world/asia/us-condemns-photo-of-soldiers-posing-with-body-parts.html?hpw" target="_hplink">mangled limbs</a> of dead Taliban fighters. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/18/us-soldiers-suicide-bomber-photo_n_1433785.html" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>

  • Marine Sex Scandal

    <em>A marine on an armored personnel carrier patrols Rio de Janeiro's Morro da Mangueira shantytown early in the morning of June 19, 2011 in a pre-announced operation. (VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)</em> Last year, three marines were involved in a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/24/marines-prostitute-attack_n_1450447.html" target="_hplink">sex scandal in Brazil</a>. The marines allegedly <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/24/marines-prostitute-attack_n_1450447.html" target="_hplink">pushed a prostitute</a> out of a car after a dispute over payment. Two of the marines had their ranks reduced, while another was removed from his post. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/24/marines-prostitute-attack_n_1450447.html" target="_hplink">Read the full story here.</a>