On the campaign trail, then-candidate Donald Trump promised to bring back waterboarding and “a hell of a lot worse” because “torture works.”
A new potential executive draft order from the Trump administration, obtained by The NYT, doesn’t specifically reinstitute such tactics, though it does make it possible for the CIA to bring back black sites, which saw prison abuses in the mid-2000s and put interrogators at risk of being prosecuted for committing war crimes.
The potential executive order does not call for any immediate returns of such sites, though it would overturn two key orders from the Obama administration that directed the closing of Guantanamo Bay, worked to end CIA prisons, gave the Red Cross access to all detainees, and limited interrogation techniques to those in the Army Field Manual (which doesn’t included so-called “enhanced” interrogation techniques such as waterboarding). However, those latter two rules have been solidified by Congressional law, and would remain in place for the time being.
One other key part of the Obama orders was the usage of civilian courts rather than military tribunals for terrorism cases (whenever possible). Such an executive order from the Trump administration could undermine this as well, and potentially put military officials back in charge of prosecuting cases in the U.S.
Though there’s no current timetable for when such an executive order might be signed, the recent flurry of orders indicates that we could see its implementation soon.
To keep track of President Trump’s executive orders, head here now.