Ex-CIA contractor sentenced to over eight years for beating Afghan detainee
RALEIGH, United States – A former CIA contractor convicted of beating an Afghan detainee with a flashlight was sentenced to eight years and four months in prison by a US judge in North Carolina.
In a court filing ahead of the sentencing, prosecutors contended that David Passaros actions aided enemies of the United States.
“In the short time (Passaro) served as a CIA contractor, he managed to invigorate an entire resistance movement in one of the most violent, dangerous places on the planet,” the document states.
Prosecutors had requested that he receive the maximum allowable sentence of 11 and a half years for what they said was a “vicious and brutal assault of an unarmed, defenseless individual.”
Passaro, who was a contract employee for the Central Intelligence Agency at the time of the assault, was the first civilian to be charged with detainee abuse in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Passaros victim, a farmer named Abdul Wali, died within 48 hours of a two-day interrogation at a US military base in Afghanistan in July 2003.
Wali turned himself in at the front gate of the base after he learned he was suspected in recent rocket attacks on the installation. Witnesses of his interrogation said he denied any role in the attacks.
In testimony at Passaros trial last year, US soldiers provided details about Passaros interrogation techniques, which they said included hitting Wali with a flashlight and kicking him in the groin.
One soldier testified that Passaro said US military personnel were bound by the Geneva Conventions, but that he was not.
No autopsy was ever done on Wali. The federal judge in the case has said that if the procedure had been performed, there probably would have been sufficient evidence to charge Passaro with murder.
Passaro, 40, was convicted in August of felony assault with a dangerous weapon and three misdemeanor assault charges.
After Passaros conviction’s CIA Director Michael Hayden said in a statement that “Passaros actions were unlawful, reprehensible, and neither authorized nor condoned by the Agency.”
In September, Passaro was convicted of assaulting a former girlfriend.