The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Release of Torture Memos Could Help Victims of CIA Policies in Pending Lawsuits

With the latest batch of Bush-era Office of Legal Counsel torture memos having revealed more of the intricate, gruesome details of the CIA’s interrogation

Liam Evans
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Apr 21, 2009

With the latest batch of Bush-era Office of Legal Counsel torture memos having revealed more of the intricate, gruesome details of the CIA’s interrogation techniques, how can the government continue to claim that its now-defunct “extraordinary rendition” and torture program is a “state secret”?

That’s the question raised in a letter sent today by the American Civil Liberties Union to a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which is now considering the appeals of victims of that formerly secret CIA program in a pending case.

Mohamed v. Jeppesen Dataplan, which I’ve written about here, charges that Jeppesen, a subsidiary of Boeing, assisted the CIA in unlawfully sending the men abroad to be interrogated under torture. The victims seek monetary damages and an acknowledgment of what was done to them. But the government – first under President Bush and now under President Obama – has claimed the case must be dismissed because the rendition program is a “state secret” and revealing information about it would endanger national security, even though President Obama has insisted that the program is no longer active.

With the memos describing the CIA’s interrogation techniques now in the public domain, that argument makes little sense, the ACLU wrote today in a letter to the court.

The government’s invocation of the state secrets privilege relied on the claim of former CIA Director Michael Hayden that “the details of the program remain highly classified. . . . General Hayden insisted that disclosing specific interrogation techniques ‘would degrade the effectiveness of the United States’ intelligence gathering activities by, for example, providing terrorists information about interrogation methods that would assist their interrogation resistance programs,’ “ writes Ben Wizner, the lead ACLU lawyer handling the case. But “[t]hat rationale no longer exists, because the methods are now public, and because they have been expressly prohibited.”

“Now that the CIA’s detention and torture program has been publicly confirmed and officially terminated, there is no basis whatsoever for denying its victims their day in court,” he wrote.

Since the release of the memos last week, while the focus of many lawmakers and advocates has been on potential prosecution of the lawyers and policymakers who approved them, the ACLU’s letter picks up on a different part of the accountability equation that so far has gotten far less attention: granting the victims their day in court.

“This is equally important,” wrote Wizner in an e-mail this afternoon.

Liam Evans | Liam Evans is a freelance writer and social media manager who specializes in assisting finance professionals and Fintech entrepreneurs in growing their online audience and attracting more paying customers. Liam worked as a bank teller and virtual assistant for financial firms in the United States and the United Kingdom for six years before beginning her writing career.

Related

Pentagon Shooter Exploited Gun-Show Loophole

John Patrick Bedell, who shot and wounded two police officers near the Pentagon earlier this month, bought at least one of his 9 mm guns at a Nevada gun show,

MA-Sen: 150 Conservative Bloggers Fan Out, Looking for Scandals

BOSTON -- The mysterious Election Journal blog, which first released the infamous 2008 video of two bumbling New Black Panther Party members waving nightsticks

MA-Sen: Brown Wins

BOSTON -- At 9:20, the first rumors of Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts Senate race started to work around the room. A moment later, Doug Flutie

MA-Sen: 66 to 19

BOSTON -- That, via Alex Isenstadt and Josh Kraushaar, is the number that defined the Massachusetts Senate race more than anything else. From the primary

MA-Sen: A Text Message From Scott Brown

BOSTON -- Having signed up for Scott Brown’s text message service for election day, I just got this text: Are you about to have lunch? It’s a great time to

MA-Sen: Out-of-Staters for Brown

BOSTON -- A surprising discovery at yesterday’s People’s Rally in Worcester was just how many people had traveled into the state to assist, in whatever way,

MA-Sen Photos: ‘Paint the Town Red! Croakley’s Dead!’

Below are some photos of yesterday’s People’s Rally in Worcester, the rally that Brown held to counter-program the Obama rally in Boston. The crush of

Menendez, Lautenberg to Continue BP-Lockerbie Investigation

Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, both New Jersey Democrats, will continue to seek details about BP’s alleged involvement in the release last year of

Net Investors Bullish on Palin’s Prospects for Staying on Ticket

Just for fun, the Internet prediction Website Intrade has opened a contract on whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be withdrawn as McCain’s running mate.

No Experience Necessary

Gov. Sarah Palin’s a middle-class hockey mom, but does that really qualify her to be vice president?

© Copyright 2021 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy | twi.news@washingtonindependent.com