Agency employees were sent an e-mail today telling them that the CIA is no longer in the secret prison business and that there are plans underway to permanently shutter them. the e-mail was sent by CIA Director Leon Panetta.
CIA Director Leon Panetta has told Congress no new prisoners have been taken in since he took the reins of the agency in February. Panetta also informed Congress that the CIA has stopped all contracts with private companies that were used for security at secret overseas CIA prisons. Those contracts were costing up to $4 million a year.
“CIA no longer operates detention facilities or black sites,” Mr Panetta said in a letter to staff. Remaining sites would be decommissioned, he said.
President Obama had vowed during his campaign to shut down the secret prisons that former President Bush’s administration had allowed the CIA to operate. During his first week in office, Obama ordered the closure of black sites and the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay. President Obama has also ordered a review of the detention and interrogation policies on terror suspects.
BBC reports that there is a true change in the new White House administration on terms of detainees.
In his letter, Mr Panetta also stressed that the CIA no longer employed controversial “harsh interrogation techniques”, like “waterboarding”, or simulated drowning, which have been widely condemned.
“CIA officers do not tolerate, and will continue to promptly report, any inappropriate behaviour or allegations of abuse,” he said.
That said the CIA has the right to hold prisoners temporarily according to Panetta is they are taken. Those detainees would be only interrogated though by agency employees before being returned to their home country or the county that has a legal claim in a quick manner.
In 2005 it was revealed that the United States was running secret CIA prisons overseas. That revelation prompted world-wide outrage tainting the image of President George Bush.