Trump administration invokes “state secrets” in CIA torture case
11 March 2017
On Wednesday, the Trump administration filed a brief invoking the “state secrets” privilege in an attempt to block current and former Central Intelligence Agency officials from testifying in a civil suit brought by former detainees who were subjected to torture at a secret CIA interrogation center, or “black site,” in Afghanistan.
The motion, filed by the Trump Justice Department based on an affidavit by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, also seeks to quash the release of portions of 172 internal CIA documents.
Among the CIA officials the government is seeking to shield from being forced to testify is Gina Haspel, named by President Trump to the post of deputy CIA director and confirmed by the US Senate. Haspel, a 32-year veteran of the agency, ran a CIA torture site in Thailand in 2002, during the Bush administration, where she oversaw the torture of Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, both of whom were repeatedly waterboarded.
She also gave the order in 2005 to destroy videotapes of the interrogation sessions at the Thai site.
The administration, headed by a man who boasts of his enthusiasm for torture, including waterboarding, intervened in the case of Salim v. Mitchell, which is underway in Federal District Court in Spokane, Washington under the purview of Judge Justin Quackenbush. The suit was filed in 2015 by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of Suleiman Abdullah Salim and Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, who survived a savage regime of CIA torture, and the family of Gul Rahman, who died at the Afghan site in 2002 after being left naked and shackled to a wall in the freezing cold.
The plaintiffs are suing two military psychologists, James E. Mitchell and John…