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White House: CIA does not operate detention facilities

In response to a new report on torture released by the Open Society’s Justice Initiative , the White House is unequivocally denying that the CIA operates
Prison door. (Royalty-free stock image by Anthony Brown via Getty Images)
Prison door.

In response to a new report on torture released by the Open Society’s Justice Initiative , the White House is unequivocally denying that the CIA operates detention facilities without addressing specific allegations found in the report.

During an interview on Andrea Mitchell Reports Tuesday, the report’s author, Amrit Singh, voiced concerns about what she describes as “extreme secrecy” and lack of a thorough investigation by the U.S. government surrounding the handling, transfer, interrogation, and detention of  terror suspects—including previously disclosed CIA black sites, and the practice of “extraordinary rendition.”

In an e-mail to NBC White House Correspondent Kristen Welker, National Security Council spokesman, Tommy Vietor, responded that the “United States government does not comment on what are alleged to be activities of the intelligence community” but directed NBC News to three Executive Orders that President Obama issued on his second full day in office relating to detention, interrogation and transfer policies of the United States.

Vietor added: “In one of these Orders, President Obama directed that, consistent with Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, individuals detained in any armed conflict shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, and that such individuals shall not be subjected to any interrogation technique or approach, or related treatment, that is not authorized by and listed in the Army Field Manual, which explicitly prohibits threats, physical abuse, and waterboarding.”

Vietor also noted that the President directed the CIA “to close as expeditiously as possible any detention facilities it operated, and not to operate any such detention facilities in the future. Consistent with that Executive Order, the CIA does not operate detention facilities.”

The Open Society Foundation’s report: “Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition” detailed the treatment of terror suspects since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, as a part of their findings.

Singh writes in her executive summary: 

Based on credible public sources and information provided by reputable  human rights organizations, this report is the most comprehensive catalogue of the treatment of 136 individuals reportedly subjected to these operations. …The report also shows that as many as 54 foreign governments reportedly participated in these operations in various ways…” (pg. 6, Globalizing Torture)

Potentially the report’s most stinging finding:

“…it appears that the Obama administration did not end extraordinary rendition, choosing to rely on anti-torture diplomatic assurances from recipient countries and post-transfer monitoring of detainee treatment. (pg. 7)

The NSC’s Vietor repudiates allegations that the United States outsourced torture pointing to President Obama’s Special Task Force on Interrogation and Transfer Policies ”which issued a set of recommendations to ensure that United States transfer practices are consistent with U.S. law, policy, and international legal obligations, and do not result in the transfer of individuals to face torture.” Vietor further responded  ”The United States government is implementing those recommendations.”