July 26, 2017 Disclaimer: Please read.
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Justice Department Turns to a Rarely Used Rule in Trying to Prevent CIA Testimony in Torture Lawsuit
Posted on Mar 11, 2017
The Trump administration is invoking a rarely used legal rule called the state secret privilege to keep Central Intelligence Agency officials from testifying in a federal lawsuit about the CIA’s interrogation methods.
The state secret privilege allows the government to withhold evidence from legal proceedings on the basis that the sensitive evidence would put national security at risk.
The Times adds that the Obama administration did not invoke the state secrets privilege rule, but it was not opposed to doing so in the future.
President Trump incited controversy shortly after he took office when reports surfaced that he was considering reopening the CIA “black sites.” However, strong bipartisan opposition seems to have quelled that move.
One of the CIA officials whose testimony is sought in the lawsuit is Gina Haspel, the agency’s new deputy director. Haspel, who has worked for the CIA for decades, previously oversaw the torture of terrorism suspects and worked to destroy evidence of those interrogations.
Haspel was issued a subpoena last December. “After the C.I.A. announced on Feb. 2 that Ms. Haspel was President Trump’s choice as the agency’s deputy director, a lawyer for Dr. Mitchell and Dr. Jessen reminded the government of the subpoenas,” the Times continues. “The defendants said in their filings that Ms. Haspel, who ran one of the C.I.A.’s secret detention sites, was ‘centrally involved in the events alleged’ by the plaintiffs.”
The federal District Court judge in the case must now decide “whether the state secrets privilege and other privileges claimed by the government were properly invoked to block that testimony and, if so, whether the case can go forward despite those restrictions,” the Times concludes.
Read the full report here.
—Posted by Emma Niles
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