Plan to re­vive CIA ‘black sites’ fades

The Washington Post Sunday - - NEWS - BY GREG MILLER greg.miller@wash­post.com

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is back­ing away from its plan to re­visit us­ing the CIA to im­prison and in­ter­ro­gate ter­ror­ism sus­pects, ac­cord­ing to a re­vised ex­ec­u­tive or­der on de­ten­tion pol­icy that has been shared with se­nior of­fi­cials.

A new ver­sion of the or­der has stripped out pro­vi­sions con­tained in a pre­vi­ous draft that called for top of­fi­cials to eval­u­ate whether the CIA should once again op­er­ate “black site” pris­ons and have re­newed author­ity to use co­er­cive in­ter­ro­ga­tion meth­ods, ac­cord­ing to a U.S. of­fi­cial and a sec­ond per­son briefed on the mat­ter.

The changes ap­pear to re­flect a re­treat from a pro­posal that faced an im­me­di­ate back­lash from mem­bers of Congress and some of­fi­cials in Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion when a draft of the or­der was pub­licly re­vealed last month.

A se­nior ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial said that doc­u­ment “was a tran­si­tion draft” pro­duced be­fore Trump’s na­tional se­cu­rity team was as­sem­bled and that the doc­u­ment “was not un­der se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.” The of­fi­cial spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity to dis­cuss sen­si­tive White House de­lib­er­a­tions. A White House spokesman de­clined to com­ment.

A new draft or­der un­der de­vel­op­ment “seems to have aban­doned this idea of re­open­ing the path to CIA black sites and changes to in­ter­ro­ga­tion rules,” said a per­son who was briefed on the contents of the doc­u­ment. The new draft also does away with pro­vi­sions that, if signed by Trump, would have re­voked or­ders is­sued by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama in 2009 dis­man­tling the CIA pro­gram and its over­seas pris­ons.

The de­vel­op­ment, first re­ported by the New York Times, is the lat­est in a se­ries of con­flict­ing sig­nals from the ad­min­is­tra­tion on how it plans to ap­proach the treat­ment of ter­ror­ism sus­pects cap­tured by the United States in op­er­a­tions over­seas.

The CIA on Thurs­day named an agency vet­eran with ex­ten­sive ties to the pris­ons pro­gram as deputy di­rec­tor. Af­ter the Sept. 11 at­tacks, Gina Haspel ran a prison in Thai­land where se­nior al-Qaeda op­er­a­tives were sub­jected to wa­ter­board­ing and other meth­ods later de­nounced as tor­ture. She was also in­volved in the de­ci­sion to de­stroy video­tapes of those in­ter­ro­ga­tion ses­sions.

Trump re­cently de­clared that he be­lieves tor­ture is an ef­fec­tive tool for get­ting in­for­ma­tion but said he would de­fer to se­nior of­fi­cials in his ad­min­is­tra­tion, in­clud­ing De­fense Sec­re­tary Jim Mat­tis and CIA Di­rec­tor Mike Pom­peo, on de­ten­tion and in­ter­ro­ga­tion pol­icy.

U.S. of­fi­cials cau­tioned that the de­ten­tion or­der is still un­der re­view and could un­dergo fur­ther change be­fore it is pre­sented to Trump for his sig­na­ture.

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