Shin Bet gets OK on controversial shaking interrogation

JERUSALEM — A ministerial committee has granted the Shin Bet domestic security service approval to use force when interrogating suspected Islamic terrorists.

The Shin Bet, which has been criticized frequently for its harsh interrogation methods, received a three-month permit for the use of force from the Knesset committee.

The permit allows the Shin Bet to continue using the controversial method of violently shaking detainees in an effort to get them to reveal terrorist plans.

The shaking tactics came under intense scrutiny after Abdel-Samad Harizat, 29, a suspected member of the Islamic fundamentalist Hamas movement, died after being interrogated in April in connection with a series of bomb attacks against Israel.

The decision came as the Shin Bet was criticized by Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair for misleading Cabinet ministers in its efforts to win approval for the permit.

In an interviewx, Ben-Yair said a video demonstration he had viewed of the shaking method "was completely different from what was outlined" by the Shin Bet.

"I am not willing to see every Palestinian youth with a black beard who is detained for questioning end up brain-damaged," Ben-Yair added.

He was also critical of the Shin Bet for its handling of Hamas suspects who had been detained prior to the Aug. 21 suicide bus bombing in Jerusalem that killed five, including the attacker, and injured more than 100.

After the bombing, the head of the Shin Bet revealed that the planner of the bombing was in the agency's custody two days before.

But the Shin Bet head said government officials had tied the hands of interrogators with too many restrictions, preventing them from learning of the bombing in advance.

Ben-Yair said the Shin Bet had all the means at its disposal for learning of the attack. He blamed the failure to prevent the attack on poor judgment by the agency.