The White House and the Justice Department confirmed reports that the Justice Department's new High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG) is functioning and actively participating in terrorism investigations.
What follows is a bit of a roadmap as to what happens -- or what should happen -- when Abdulmuttalab-like cases arise.
National Security Adviser James Jones signed a 1/28 classified order standing up the HIG as well as mobile interrogation teams, the Washington Post reported.
The FBI's 106 interagency Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs) will take the lead in responding to terrorism incidents. HIG experts will be consulted immediately and called in as necessary.
The Mobile Interrogation Teams will be assigned to the cases with a primary mission of preventing terrorist attacks. Secondarily, it will have a law enforcement role.
According to a White House official, the HIG will rely on existing expertise and mechanisms in the intelligence community to identify subjects for interrogation and to identify issues of the greatest importance to national security.
Though located at the FBI, the HIG is an interagency group, which includes members of the intelligence community, including the CIA. The decision to deploy HIG resources will be made by senior-level national security officials.
An attorney from the National Security Division of the Justice Department will be the legal counsel to the HIG.
According to a White House official, the HIG will also establish an internal oversight and auditing mechanism.
Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.