The Trump administration is reportedly "poised" to lift the ban on the Central Intelligence Agency's so-called "black site" prisons. An alleged three-page draft order, obtained and excerpted by the New York Times Wednesday, would allow for the C.I.A. to reinstate the notorious overseas prisons and undo multiple President Barack Obama-era restrictions regarding the handling of detainees.
Though the draft order doesn't directly call for a reopening of the prisons or a return to torture, the Times' Charlie Savage explains that the document entitled "Detention and Interrogation of Enemy Combatants" is worrisome because of what its implementation could potentially make possible in the future:
"[It] sets up high-level policy reviews to make further recommendations in both areas to Mr. Trump, who vowed during the campaign to bring back waterboarding and a "hell of a lot worse" — not only because “torture works,” but because even "if it doesn't work, they deserve it anyway."
The alleged draft order, which would end a pair of President Obama's executive orders from 2009, reportedly aims to bring back to life a 2007 order from President George W. Bush centered on war crimes. Proposed order aside, it remains unclear whether the C.I.A. would be stoked on a return to these methods given their history.
White House Press Secretary Sean "Period" Spicer denied these alleged plans Wednesday and claimed to reporters that the published draft was "not a White house document." According to a separate report from the Daily Beast the same day, however, congressional staff have reviewed the document and believe it to be the real deal.
As for the aforementioned enthusiasm level among the C.I.A., former C.I.A. chief of staff Jeremy Bash told the Daily Beast's Kimberly Dozier that there's approximately "zero appetite" among the intelligence community for such a move. "We haven't engaged in waterboarding since 2004," Bash said. "We haven't used black sites since President Bush emptied the black sites, and we've somehow managed to keep our country safe."