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CIA agents who tortured are vulnerable to prosecution in ‘any country in the world,’ says U.N. official

December 12th, 2014
08:43 AM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

CIA agents who tortured inmates can be prosecuted anywhere in the world, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism, Ben Emmerson, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday.

“They are considered as war crimes, they are crimes of international jurisdiction,” he said.

“Any country in the world can prosecute CIA agents involved in this activity, and Italy already has prosecuted, convicted 22 CIA agents, including the Milan station chief, and sentenced them to significant periods in prison in absentia.”

Italy sentenced the agents, including CIA station chief Robert Seldon Lady, to prison in absentia in 2009 for their role in the alleged CIA capture of a Muslim cleric on the streets of Milan; prosecutors there said that Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr was then rendered to Cairo, where he was tortured.

This danger of prosecution, of course, means that any CIA agent involved in the program could potentially be arrested whenever he or she leaves the United States.

A former chief prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay, Colonel Morris Davis, told Amanpour on Tuesday that “my advice would be vacation domestically.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Torture • U.S. Politics

U.S. Department of Justice performed ‘abominably’ over CIA torture program

December 11th, 2014
06:12 PM ET

By Madalena Araujo, CNN

The CIA "enhanced interrogation" program, what amounted to torture, would not have been initiated if the Department of Justice had not performed “so abominably,” former U.S. Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday in an exclusive interview.

Mora was one of the first critics of the brutal interrogation tactics at Guantanamo Bay during the Bush administration, and led efforts within the U.S. Defense Department to try to halt the program, which was catalogued in an extensive Senate report on Tuesday.

“What a different place we’d be in today if the Department of Justice had not performed so abominably and abdicated its professional responsibilities to the country, to the President, to the agencies, and had provided quality legal advice on these kinds of issues.”

“There wouldn’t be the confusion that is evident in [CIA] director Brennan’s comments nor… We would not have entered into the torture programs that the nation entered into.”

Mora’s comments followed a rare press conference given by the CIA Director John Brennan, in which he stood by the organization but questioned some of its tactics.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Torture • U.S. Politics

CIA torture methods ‘are war crimes,’ says former Guantanamo chief prosecutor

December 9th, 2014
07:00 PM ET

By Madalena Araujo, CNN

The abuses committed in the CIA’s "enhanced interrogation" program during the George W. Bush Administration were war crimes in the eyes of international law, Former Chief Prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay Colonel Morris Davis told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

“These are also crimes in the international community, and we can’t, and we have no authority outside our borders to excuse this conduct so these are war crimes, are violations of the Convention against Torture.”

The U.S. Senate has for the first time laid bare the shocking wrongdoings carried out in the CIA’s network of black site detention centers between 2002 and 2008, following the September 11th attacks.

Colonel Davis said he “wasn’t shocked by the particulars and the techniques that were employed.”

“We’ve all heard about waterboarding and some of the other things that were done to the detainees as part of the program. I think what was breathtaking to the public looking at this is the quantity, the scope and the extent and the pervasiveness of this program that we’ve used for a period of time on a number of individuals.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Torture • U.S. Politics • War Crimes

Former CIA agent shines a light on a dark chapter

April 10th, 2014
03:28 PM ET

By Fred Pleitgen and Ken Olshansky, CNN

The great Roman philosopher and politician Cicero once said, "Laws become silent in times of war."

Many say the United States broke its own norms against prisoner abuse in its war on terror – undermining the U.S.'s role as a champion of human rights and the rule of law.

CIA operatives called things like waterboarding "enhanced interrogation methods." But the only adequate word to describe them is "torture."

A pending report on a senate investigation into the brutal interrogations has become a political football, with critics calling it "a partisan sham."

But Dianne Feinstein, the head of the senate intelligence committee, says it's vital to show that the U.S. is a country that makes mistakes, but also one that has the courage to deal with them openly.

In an interview with CNN’s Fred Pleitgen on Thursday, former CIA agent Glenn Carle – who worked at so-called ‘black sites’ – describes the moment the Agency became “caught-up in enhanced interrogation.”

Click above to see why he says there is “no debate” over whether the method works – it doesn’t.

Filed under:  Latest Episode • Torture • U.S. Politics

Has the U.S. outsourced torture?

February 7th, 2013
01:25 PM ET

By Samuel Burke, CNN

President Obama came into office denouncing the Bush years of torturing alleged terrorists, also known as “enhanced interrogation.”

But it is unclear if Obama has repudiated another shadowy practice called “extraordinary rendition,” according to a comprehensive report published this week by the Open Society Justice Initiative.

It says the CIA has outsourced interrogation and detention to countries outside the reach of U.S. law.  FULL POST

Filed under:  Latest Episode • Torture • U.S. Politics

Torture debate:

January 20th, 2010
10:49 PM ET

A lively discussion with Professor Philippe Sands of University College London and Marc Thiessen, former Chief Speech Writer to President George W. Bush:

Filed under:  1 • Torture • U.S. Politics