Just a few days before President-elect Barack Obama is expected to direct the closure of the controversial detention facility, a report within the Bush administration has said the US tortured one of the alleged 9/11 planners held at Guantánamo Bay.

A Pentagon official acknowledged in an interview published on Wednesday that the United States tortured Mohammed al-Qahtani, a Saudi man who allegedly had hoped to become the 20th hijacker in the September 11 attacks.

Al-Qahtani was one of six men charged by the military in February 2008 with murder and war crimes for their alleged roles in the 2001 attacks.

US authorities had acknowledged that al-Qahtani was subjected to waterboarding by CIA interrogators and that he was treated harshly at Guantanamo.