CNN’s Phil Hirschkorn and Deborah Feyerick report. Excerpt:
NEW YORK (CNN) — A report unsealed by a federal judge Monday found no support for accusations that the FBI coerced a confession from an Egyptian exchange student who was detained last year in connection with the September 11 terrorist attacks.
During a December 27 FBI lie detector test, the student, Abdallah Higazy, 31, admitted possessing a hand-held pilots’ radio allegedly found in his hotel room across the street from the World Trade Center.
The radio, known as a transceiver, allows for pilots to communicate with other pilots in the air or with people on the ground. It later was determined to belong to another hotel guest.
According to the report unsealed by U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff, Higazy’s denials that he had participated in the September 11 attacks registered as lies, leading federal prosecutors to charge him with one count of lying to federal agents and to keep him locked up for a month.
“Higazy’s allegations that he was threatened or coerced by the polygrapher during the course of the polygraph examination remain uncorroborated,” concludes the report, prepared by the staff of Manhattan U.S. Attorney James Comey, “No further action concerning this matter is warranted at this time.”
The FBI’s deliberate policy of not video- or audiotaping polygraph interrogations foreordains that allegations of threats or coercion by Bureau polygraphers will be virtually impossible to corroborate. The Higazy case speaks to the need for all interrogations to be recorded.