CIA Refused Illegal Orders From Bush Administration

The Financial Times reports that the secret CIA prisons were closed because CIA agents were no longer willing to break the law. Perhaps they were considering the lessons of the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials that following orders is no defense for violating international law. This is consistent with my previous post that CIA agents were purchasing legal insurance out of fear that the actions ordered by the Bush Administration were illegal.

Initially it was believed that Bush changed his policy on the secret prisons for domestic political reasons:

But the former CIA officials said Mr Bush’s hand was forced because interrogators had refused to continue their work until the legal situation was clarified because they were concerned they could be prosecuted for using illegal techniques. One intelligence source also said the CIA had refused to keep the secret prisons going.

Senior officials and Mr Bush himself have come close to admitting this by saying CIA interrogators sought legal clarity. But no official has confirmed on the record how and when the secret programme actually came to an end.

John Negroponte, director of national intelligence, who was interviewed by Fox News on Sunday, said in response to a question of whether CIA interrogators had refused to work: “I think the way I would answer you in regard to that question is that there’s been precious little activity of that kind for a number of months now, and certainly since the Supreme Court decision.”

In an interview with the Financial Times, John Bellinger, legal adviser to the state department, went further, saying there had been “very little operational activity” on CIA interrogations since the passage last December of a bill proposed by Senator John McCain outlawing torture and inhumane treatment of prisoners.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a comment