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draft, unlike the original, would not revive a 2007 executive order issued by President George W. Bush, and later rescinded by President Barack Obama, that laid out a limited understanding of which torture techniques count as war crimes under the Geneva Conventions.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. City Council approves $5 million for Clearwater Marine Aquarium expansion


    CLEARWATER — The City Council on Thursday approved contributing $5 million to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for its massive expansion project.

    Clearwater has agreed to contributed $5 million to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium 
's $66 million expansion project.. [ Clearwater Marine Aquarium] 

  2. Live blog: Some scuffles, shot fired, but otherwise calm after Richard Spencer speech at UF


    GAINESVILLE — A small army of law enforcement officers, many of them from cities and counties around the state, have converged on the University of Florida in preparation for today's speaking appearance by white nationalist Richard Spencer.

    A Richard Spencer supporter is escorted by police along Hull Road outside of the Phillips Center after the white nationalist's speech on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, Fla. on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017.
  3. This unidentified man was punched outside of Richard Spencer's speech in Gainesville.
  4. Pentagon faces demands for details on deadly attack in Niger


    WASHINGTON — The Trump administration had no answers Thursday to key questions two weeks after an ambush in the African nation of Niger killed four U.S. soldiers, prompting demands in Congress for details, complaints of Pentagon stonewalling and a comparison to the 2012 Benghazi attack. The White House defended …

    In this image provided by the U.S. Army, a carry team of soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), carry the transfer case during a casualty return for Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, of Lyons, Ga., at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Oct. 5, 2017. U.S. and Niger forces were leaving a meeting with tribal leaders when they were ambushed on Oct. 4 and Wright and three other soldiers were killed. There were about a dozen U.S. troops and a company of Niger forces, for a total of about 40 service members in the joint mission. [Pfc. Lane Hiser | U.S. Army via AP]
  5. Trigaux: Florida, Tampa Bay lagging in growth of their startups

    Economic Development

    The annual assessment of how entrepreneurs are doing across the country is out from the Kauffman Foundation — among the best watchers of the nation's startup scene. How do Florida and Tampa Bay fare?

    Lured by financial incentives, startup GeniusCentral relocated from Manatee County in 2015 to St. Petersburg, promising to creatye 40 new jobs. It took downtown space in an appropriately creative workpace for entrepreneurs. It did not last there, later moving back to less expensive space in Manatee. A new Kauffman Index report on entrepreneurship found that Florida is a good place to launch startups but a tougher place to grow them.