CIA says no more secret prisons —and rendition?

CIA director Leon Panetta said in an official statement April 9 that the agency will no longer use secret overseas prisons or “black sites” to hold terrorism suspects, adding that plans are being made to shut the remaining overseas detention facilities down. Panetta also wrote that he has ordered that the “contracts for site security be promptly terminated.” The statement did not give details as to where such detention facilities have been or are still located.

Additionally, Panetta stated that in line with an order from President Barack Obama—signed the day after he took office on Jan. 21—”the CIA does not employ any of the enhanced interrogation techniques that were authorized by the Justice Department from 2002 to 2009.” (RFE/RL, April 10)

However, according to a detailed reading of the executive orders signed by Obama on Jan. 22, “renditions” have not been banned. “Obviously you need to preserve some tools—you still have to go after the bad guys,” an anonymous administration official told the Los Angeles Times. “The legal advisers working on this looked at rendition. It is controversial in some circles and kicked up a big storm in Europe. But if done within certain parameters, it is an acceptable practice.”

Section 2 (g) of Obama’s January order appears to allow the US authorities to continue secret detention of terror suspects, if not for open-ended periods: “The terms ‘detention facilities’ and ‘detention facility’ in section 4(a) of this order do not refer to facilities used only to hold people on a short-term, transitory basis.” (The Telegraph, Feb. 2; LAT, Feb. 1)

See our last post on the torture/detainment scandal.

See also our special feature, “Prisons Beyond Guantánamo

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