High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group

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High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group
High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group.png
Seal of the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group
ActiveAugust 2009 – present[1]
(13 years)
CountryUnited States
AgencyFederal Bureau of Investigation
Central Intelligence Agency
Department of Defense
Part ofNational Security Branch (administrative)
Lawrence Buckley[2]

The High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG) is a U.S. three-agency intelligence-gathering entity that brings together intelligence professionals from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the United States Department of Defense (DoD).[3][4] It is administratively housed within the FBI's National Security Branch.[5]

The HIG was created by President Barack Obama in August 2009 with its charter written in April 2010.[6][7] It was established to question terrorism suspects soon after their arrests, to quickly obtain information about accomplices and terrorism threats.[7]

The group was to be responsible for interrogations overseas.[8] In January 2010, the Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said that the group would begin interrogating people in the U.S. as well.[8] The HIG claims to use authorized, lawful, non-coercive techniques and conducts research on the effectiveness of interrogation techniques and provides training for their interrogators, other U.S. Intelligence Community and law enforcement partners and allies abroad.[4]

The HIG is administered by the FBI.[3] The Director of the HIG is an FBI representative with two deputies, one from the DoD and the other from the CIA.[3] The HIG is subject to oversight by the National Security Council, the Department of Justice, and by Congress.[3][7]

The group's creation stopped a bureaucratic war between the CIA and the FBI over who had responsibility for interrogations.[6][9]

HIG questioned Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-American citizen responsible for the 2010 Times Square car bombing attempt,[7] Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,[10] and Benghazi terror suspect Ahmed Abu Khattala.


  1. ^ "History and Evolution". Federal Bureau of Investigation. August 28, 2010. Retrieved August 16, 2022.
  2. ^ "Lawrence Buckley ('07) appointed Director of the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group". The Institute of World Politics. February 19, 2021. Retrieved August 16, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d "High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group". FBI. Retrieved December 8, 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Symposium Facilitates Exchange of Research on Lawful Interrogations: Event Sponsored by Government's High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group". FBI. October 27, 2015. Archived from the original on January 2, 2016.
  5. ^ "National Security Branch Brochure" (PDF). Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved August 16, 2022.
  6. ^ a b Kornblut, Anne E. (August 24, 2009). "Obama Approves New Team to Question Key Terror Suspects". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 23, 2010.
  7. ^ a b c d Kimberly Dozier (June 3, 2010). "WH adviser: Interrogation team questions Shahzad". Associated Press. Retrieved May 21, 2010.
  8. ^ a b Hsu, Spencer S.; Agiesta, Jennifer (January 21, 2010). "Intelligence Chief says FBI was Too Hasty in Handling of Attempted Bombing". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 23, 2010.
  9. ^ Barnes, Ed (May 12, 2010). "Elite High Value Interrogation Unit Is Taking Its First Painful Steps". Fox News.
  10. ^ McKelvey, Tara (April 24, 2013). "Boston bombings: How to interrogate a suspected terrorist". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved April 24, 2013.