According to court documents unsealed on Tuesday, David Passaro wants to subpoena Attorney-General Alberto Gonzales and former CIA chief George Tenet to prove he acted under government authority.

The court documents were unsealed following a petition by news organisations who said in a request filed last month that the government was engaged in a secret prosecution of Passaro, a former Special Forces soldier.

Passaro, 38, is charged with four counts of assault. He is accused of beating Abd al-Wali with his hands, feet and a large flashlight while the prisoner was interrogated for
two days at a US base in Afghanistan in June 2003.

Abd al-Wali had turned himself in to US forces, who sought him as a suspect in rocket attacks on the base. He later died in custody.

Passaro is the first civilian prosecuted on charges of mistreating a military detainee in the US war on terrorism.