Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

White House backs off draft order to revive CIA prisons

WASHINGTON — The Trump White House appears to have backed off for now on its consideration of reopening overseas "black site" prisons, where the CIA once tortured terrorism suspects, after a leaked draft executive order prompted bipartisan pushback from Congress and Cabinet officials.

On Thursday, the White House circulated among National Security Council staff members a revised version of the draft order on detainees that deleted language contemplating a revival of the CIA prisons, the New York Times reported, speaking to several officials familiar with its contents.

The draft order retains other parts of the original that focus on making greater use of the military's Guantanamo Bay prison, which the Obama administration had tried to close. Those sections, reflecting repeated vows from President Donald Trump, include a call to bring newly captured terrorism detainees there and to freeze plans for any more transfers.

After news outlets reported details of the original draft on Jan. 25, lawmakers erupted in outrage, and both the defense secretary, Jim Mattis, and the CIA director, Mike Pompeo, disavowed any prior knowledge of the contemplated order.

Elisa Massimino, president of Human Rights First, who had been among those who criticized the original draft, praised the revisions.

"It sounds like a smart reaction to the reaction to the leaked draft," she said. "Transparency is a good corrective to overreach, and it provides the opportunity for more careful consideration of the broader implications of an order like this."

In addition to the change on CIA prisons, the revised draft, unlike the original, would not revive a 2007 executive order issued by President George W. Bush, and later rescinded by President Barack Obama, that laid out a limited understanding of which torture techniques count as war crimes under the Geneva Conventions.

The revised draft would also not revoke two executive orders governing detainees that Obama issued in January 2009, as the original would have. The first bars the CIA from operating prisons and requires all interrogators to adhere to techniques approved in the Army Field Manual. The other was Obama's ill-fated directive to close the Guantanamo prison within a year.

White House backs off draft order to revive CIA prisons 02/04/17 [Last modified: Saturday, February 4, 2017 9:04pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, New York Times.

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tim Tebow Week: 12 stories from his Tampa Bay tour


    Alas, Tim Tebow Week — eight baseball games in eight nights that reunited Tebow with his Tampa Bay friends and admirers — is over. The fun ended Thursday night.

    St. Lucie Mets outfielder Tim Tebow meets fans and signs autographs before the beginning of the Mets at Threshers game at Spectrum Field on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 in Clearwater. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times

  2. Democrat Philip Levine won't attack Trump. Can he be Florida governor?


    If he decides to run, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine will be the most enigmatic and unpredictable candidate for Florida governor in 2018.

    Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is introduced before speaking at a Tampa Tiger Bay Club meeting at the Ferguson Law Center in Tampa on May 19. (LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times)
  3. What you need to know for Friday, Aug. 18


    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Read 'Hellfire from Above,' inside the Tampa Electric Co. power plant accident that left five people dead. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  4. Tampa is training ground for Team USA inline skating

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — The United States once dominated the sport known as international outdoor inline speed skating.

    Cotton Yarborough is one of five people from the Tampa Bay area on the national inline speed skating team. The team is competing in the world championships Aug. 27 in China. [Courtesy of Frank Holland]
  5. Grocery and hotel deals in reach for Tampa Encore project

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — After failing to land both Publix and Walmart, the Tampa Housing Authority says it is close to a deal to bring another well-known grocer to its Encore project.

    The Tampa Housing Authority's Encore project has housing like The Reed, pictured, but no retail. It is in talks to bring a grocer and two hotels to the site on the west side of Nebraska Avenue close to downtown Tampa.