Via CBS News
The CIA is denying an assertion made by David Petraeus’ biographer and girlfriend that the agency held militants in Libya before the Sept. 11 attack.
During a talk last month at the University of Denver, author Paula Broadwell said the CIA had detained people at a secret facility in Benghazi, and the attack on the U.S. Consulate there was an effort to free those prisoners.
President Barack Obama issued an executive order in January 2009 stripping the CIA of its authority to take prisoners.
The move means the CIA can no longer operate secret jails across the globe as it had done under the administration of President George W. Bush.
“The CIA has not had detention authority since January 2009… Any suggestion that the Agency is still in the detention business is uninformed and baseless,” CIA spokesman Preston Golson told CBS News.
The CIA spokesman is referring to Executive Order 13491 — Ensuring Lawful Interrogations. It revokes Executive Order 13440 from the Bush era.
Sec. 4. Prohibition of Certain Detention Facilities, and Red Cross Access to Detained Individuals.
(a) CIA Detention. The CIA shall close as expeditiously as possible any detention facilities that it currently operates and shall not operate any such detention facility in the future.
Seems pretty straight-forward. Unless the CIA was directly disobeying an Executive Order, they had no authority to detain the three Libyans reported by FOX News.
The CIA claims it had no authority since the EO was issued. However, make sure you read the entire Executive Order. Under Sec. 2 Definitions.
(g) The terms “detention facilities” and “detention facility” in section 4(a) of
this order do not refer to facilities used only to hold people on a short-term,
Short-term, transitory basis. As Bill Clinton would say, “it depends on what the meaning of the word is is”.
The CIA may be utilizing some selective editing in its denial of the allegations brought forward by Paula Broadwell. The EO makes it clear that the CIA can’t operate a detention facility long-term, but not that they can’t detain someone short-term.
Or there exists yet another possibility. The CIA annex, or second compound in this photo, was located just a short distance from the U.S. mission (some call it a consulate although it isn’t listed on the State Dept. website). Ambassador Stevens referred to it as a “special mission”.
Perhaps the detainees were held at the “special mission” under the authority of the N.D.A.A. and in conveniently close proximity to the CIA. We’ll see if this information comes out in the Congressional hearings this week. Regardless, the exemption in the Executive Order gives the CIA cover to have legally detained the Libyans and yet still sell the narrative to the press that they no longer had the authority. It always pays to read the fine print.