The US supreme court docket is about to listen to arguments in regards to the authorities’s potential to maintain what it says are “state secrets and techniques” from a Palestinian man who endured brutal torture by the CIA following 9/11 and is now held at Guantánamo Bay.
On the middle of the case being heard on Wednesday is whether or not Abu Zubaydah, who was captured in Pakistan in 2002, can get info associated to his detention.
Zubaydah and his lawyer need to query two former CIA contractors about Zubaydah’s time at a secret CIA facility in Poland the place they are saying he was held and tortured.
A federal appeals court docket sided with Zubaydah, and stated that although the federal government maintained that the knowledge ought to be saved secret, a decide ought to decide whether or not any info he’s searching for may be disclosed.
The case has its origins within the aftermath of the September 11 assaults when the CIA arrange a detention and interrogation program designed to gather intelligence about terrorist plots towards Individuals.
As a part of that program, the company arrange secret prisons, so-called black websites, in different international locations and used excessive interrogation strategies now extensively seen as torture.
Zubaydah, the primary particular person within the CIA program, spent 4 years at CIA black websites earlier than being transferred to Guantánamo Bay in 2006.
He was initially described as an al-Qaida chief, however the company by 2006 had concluded he had not even been a member of the group. He has, nonetheless, been held at Guantánamo ever since, with no prospect of launch.
In keeping with a 2014 Senate report on the CIA program, amongst different issues Zubaydah was waterboarded greater than 80 occasions and spent greater than 11 days in a coffin-size confinement field.
He’s searching for info from former CIA contractors James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen, who’re thought-about the architects of the interrogation program.
Zubaydah desires proof from them as a part of a felony investigation in Poland into his detention at a black web site there.
The US authorities has by no means publicly acknowledged a CIA black web site in Poland, although the previous president of Poland has and its existence has additionally been extensively reported within the media.
Zubaydah and his legal professional notice that Mitchell and Jessen have testified twice earlier than in different conditions, together with hearings at Guantánamo, and that Mitchell wrote a ebook about his expertise. They are saying they need non-privileged info from the lads akin to the main points of Zubaydah’s “torture in Poland, his medical remedy, and the situations of his confinement”.
The Biden administration, just like the Trump administration earlier than it, says the knowledge shouldn’t be disclosed as a result of it might do important hurt to nationwide safety.
America has declassified a major quantity of details about the previous CIA program however sure info, together with the areas of former CIA detention services, can’t be declassified with out a danger to nationwide safety, the administration says.
A federal court docket initially dominated that Mitchell and Jessen shouldn’t be required to supply any info. However an appeals court docket dominated 2-1 that the decrease court docket made a mistake in ruling out questioning fully earlier than trying to separate what can and can’t be disclosed.
In its briefs earlier than the supreme court docket the federal government says Zubaydah was “an affiliate and longtime terrorist ally of Osama bin Laden”. Zubaydah’s legal professionals say the CIA was mistaken in believing he was a high-ranking member of al-Qaida.