Note: The author is a member of Abu Zubaydah’s legal team. Joseph Margulies, Mark Denbeaux and Helen Duffy, who also represent Abu Zubaydah, have contributed to this article.
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On Thursday, the Senate voted to make Gina Haspel the next director of the CIA. I don’t know Haspel myself, but I have no reason to doubt that she is someone with a deep-rooted patriotism and a sense of duty to the officers who work under her. By all accounts, she appears to be a highly effective administrator. Her long career in the CIA makes her well suited to understand the agency and its operations, and having served as acting director, she already knows how to run the CIA day-to-day.
The CIA released a declassified December 2011 memo by Michael Morell, then the deputy director, about Gina Haspel’s involvement in the destruction of detainee interrogation tapes in 2005. President Trump has nominated Haspel, the current deputy director, to serve as CIA director.
As Benjamin Wittes and I have noted, the last few weeks of the Obama administration and the first months of the Trump administration generated some activity surrounding the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on interrogation, with counsel for Guantanamo detainees filing motions requesting that the SSCI report be preserved in at least four cases.
Speaking of Guantanamo habeas litigation, which one of us was yesterday, there's been an interesting development in the Al-Nashiri habeas case. This particular habeas case out of Guantanamo has been a sleepy one, since all the action in the Abd al Rahim Al-Nashiri matter has been in his military commission trial and related federal court litigation.
In a prior post I discussed the Trump administration's apparent interest in reviving waterboarding as an interrogation method, noted that a federal statute forbids resort to any interrogation method not listed in the relevant Army Field Manual, and explained that the Trump administration might try to overcome that barrier by pushing to have the manual amended to include a classified annex authorizing waterboarding.
What security-related executive orders are likely to be repealed in whole or in part soon after Donald Trump is sworn in as president? I list some obvious ones below, and will be happy to update the list with predictions others may send me.
1. Executive Order 13491 (Jan. 22, 2009) ("Ensuring Lawful Interrogation")
The transition to a Trump Administration is now underway. Among many other things, this likely will entail an effort to identify various executive orders issued by President Obama that President Trump will repeal or modify soon after the inauguration.
Yesterday, in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Central Intelligence Agency released over 50 documents related to the agency's enhanced interrogation and rendition program during the Bush administration.
Last week, General Michael Hayden—the only person to be both the director of the CIA and the NSA—joined Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes at the Hoover Book Soiree for a discussion of his new book, Playing to the Edge: American Intelligence in the Age of Terror.