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Trump Administration May Reopen CIA Black Sites

| by Oren Peleg

The Trump administration is considering reopening CIA "black sites," or secret detention and interrogation sites for terrorism suspects. The practice gained prominence under former President George W. Bush, before former President Barack Obama ended it.

According to The Hill, an executive order by President Donald Trump may overturn several executive orders made by Obama closing the detention centers, granting access to the Red Cross, and prohibiting "extreme interrogation techniques" (or EITs). Furthermore, Trump may reinstate a 2007 Bush order protecting interrogators who use EITs from war crimes prosecution.

Obama's decision to close CIA "black sites" was done without Congressional action, meaning that Trump can effectively restore the program without another executive order, notes The Intercept.

“You just can’t predict [Trump]," said David Remes, a human rights attorney representing Guantanamo Bay prison detainees. "To some extent it depends on whether he’s in a good mood or bad mood, or magnanimous or vindictive, at any particular time."

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"Experience has shown that obtaining critical intelligence information is vital to taking determined offensive action, including military action, against those groups that make war on us and are actively plotting further attacks," a three-page draft of the order circulating through the Trump administration reads, notes The Washington Post. During the presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly called for the reinstatement of torture techniques, including waterboarding. 

However, Trump's newly approved Defense Secretary, General James Mattis, has expressed to Trump alternates to torture.

According to Military.com, Trump said that Mattis told him, "'I've always found, give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers and I do better with that than I do with torture.'"

"I don't give a damn what the president of the United States wants to do or anybody else wants to do," said Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a former prisoner of war, and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. "We will not waterboard. We will not do it. ... My God, what does it say about America if we're going to inflict torture on people?"

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Sources: The Hill, The Washington Post, The Intercept, Military.com / Photo credit: Joint Task Force Guantanamo/Flickr 

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