CATONSVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — An admitted terrorist who grew up in Maryland claims the CIA repeatedly tortured him. For the first time, he’s exposing the extent of what he calls the government’s horrifying interrogation techniques — but is he telling the truth?
WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren has the scathing, newly declassified report.READ MORE: Three Months After Their Daughter's Death, Maliyah Turner's Parents Are Still Seeking Justice
Some say Majid Khan got what he deserved, but his lawyers say what the government did to him and other inmates is putting us all at risk for another terror attack.
Majid Khan grew up in Baltimore County — leading a normal life — before turning to terror, getting caught and sent to Guantanamo Bay, where he claims the CIA tortured him and others and tried to cover it up.
“He was waterboarded twice in 2003. He was subject to sexual violence. That he was threatened — with tools. Interrogators took a hammer and threatened him, threatened to hammer his head,” said J. Wells Dixon, Khan’s lawyer.
Khan claims he was raped, hung on a beam for days and spent most of 2003 in complete darkness.
“As layers of secrecy are peeled away, there’s an increasing amount of evidence of pure sadism by the CIA. I don’t know how else to put it,” said Dixon.
It did not start this way for Khan, whose family came to the Baltimore area to live the American Dream.READ MORE: Members Of Safe Streets Plan To Honor DaShawn McGrier On Saturday
Khan graduated from Owings Mills High School in 1999. He got good grades, and by most accounts, was the typical teenager.
“He was a nice kid. He rode his bike. He played a little ball,” one neighbor said.
That changed when Khan connected with an Al Qaeda mastermind and helped in a terror bombing.
In a plea deal, he agreed to cooperate with the U.S. But his lawyer says, ultimately, torture is harmful to intelligence.
“It’s a lesson for the American public. If you really want to combat terrorism, you don’t do that by torturing somebody,” said Dixon.
Khan’s legal team says the CIA chief never disclosed the extent, while the government contends harsh interrogations led to valuable tips.
“The information that we were able to get declassified is — is startling. There’s an ever-increasing amount of really troubling, horrifying evidence of torture,” Dixon said.
The CIA has said that Khan was not always cooperative or truthful, yet they trusted him enough to provide important information in a number of cases. He will be sentenced as early as next year. He faces 19 to 25 years in prison.MORE NEWS: With Dangerous Wind Chill, Baltimore City Under Code Blue Extreme Cold Alert
Khan remains at Guantanamo Bay.