[JURIST] CIA director Leon Panetta [official website] on Thursday outlined new techniques [press release] to be employed by the agency in their detention and interrogation of suspected terrorists. The new policies include discontinuing the use of contractors to conduct interrogations and a renewal of the agency's pledge to comply with President Barack Obama's executive order [JURIST report] to discontinue the use of enhanced interrogation techniques. The statement also detailed the agency's plans to enact the closure of so-called black sites, pursuant to the same executive order. The release stated that while the CIA retains the authority to detain individuals on a short-term basis:
[The] CIA no longer operates detention facilities or black sites and has proposed a plan to decommission the remaining sites. I have directed our Agency personnel to take charge of the decommissioning process and have further directed that the contracts for site security be promptly terminated. It is estimated that our taking over site security will result in savings of up to $4 million.The statement concluded with a pledge that the agency would cooperate fully with any Congressional investigation of CIA interrogation policies, such as the review initiated [press release] by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in March.
The new policies were announced in the wake of last month's International Committee of the Red Cross report [JURIST report] that CIA interrogation techniques constituted torture. The Red Cross report led the ACLU to call less than a week later for a special prosecutor [JURIST report] to investigate CIA interrogation techniques. Earlier in March, the Department of Justice acknowledged that the CIA had destroyed 92 videotapes [JURIST report] of terrorist suspect interrogations. A subsequent release of redacted documents [JURIST report] revealed that the destroyed videotapes contained evidence of torture, specifically waterboarding.