President Donald Trump isn’t wasting any time making good on his campaign pledges to overturn the Obama administration’s reforms when it comes to the treatment of captured terror suspects.
The New York Times’ Charlie Savage reports that Trump’s administration is “preparing a sweeping executive order that would clear the way for the Central Intelligence Agency to reopen overseas ‘black site’ prisons, like those where it detained and tortured terrorism suspects before former President Obama shut them down.”
In addition to allowing the creation of “black sites,” the order would also overturn many of the restrictions on the treatment of terror suspects. Among other things, the order will rescind the International Committee of the Red Cross’s rights to access detainees being held by the United States.
While Trump’s executive order is clearly a major step in bringing back torture, the Trump administration would nonetheless be breaking the law if it ordered the torture of terror suspects.
As Daily Beast reporter Tim Mak explains, a 2015 law passed with bipartisan support “barred all American officials from waterboarding or any other interrogation technique not explicitly mentioned in the U.S. Army Field Manual,” which expressly forbids “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” of detainees.
During the presidential campaign, Trump vowed to bring back waterboarding and techniques that are “a hell of a lot worse” than waterboarding to interrogate prisoners.