/// CIA Black Sites :: si aɪ eɪ blæk saɪts
Since the September 11th terrorist attacks on US soil, the CIA has been increasingly militarized and involved in counterterrorism activities beyond espionage.
One of the most effective but controversial aspects of the CIA’s post-9/11 operations has been the use of black sites. This intel covers what CIA black sites are and how they’re used surrounding their methods.
In the intelligence community, a black site is a location at which an enemy combatant is detained and interrogated outside of the laws of war. They’re secret and not acknowledged by the governments that host them.
The use of black sites came to light in 2005 when it was revealed that the CIA had been operating a secret prison in Eastern Europe where terrorism suspects were being interrogated using torture methods; including sleep deprivation, isolation and most infamously waterboarding.
These sites are technically unofficial, are not acknowledged by the US government, and their locations are kept secret. Detainees at CIA black sites are held indefinitely without charge or trial, and they are often subjected to enhanced (torture) interrogations. As being operated outside of US territory, they are not subject to the same legal constraints as American prisons.
When you’re inside a black site as a prisoner, you don’t exist to the outside world as a person.
Enemy combatants and VIP suspects are brought to black sites after being captured by US forces or other means. They are held there without due process, access to attorneys / International Committee of the Red Cross or any outside contact whatsoever.
Detainees at CIA black sites can be held for months or even years without being charged with a crime. They are held in highly controlled settings of solitary confinement and order. Often subjected to harsh interrogation techniques that would not be allowed under United States law.
The purpose of these “prisons” are not to rehabilitate or punish them for their crimes, it was to extract intelligence and a system specifically designed to break the detainees’ will and manipulate them to cooperate with the CIA as assets / agents.
Detainees that leave a black site are often transferred to Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp in Cuba if not fully released from CIA custody.
The use of black sites is greatly controversial, as it allows the CIA to circumvent due process and international law. However, due to the unique obstacles and mechanics of counterintelligence and counterterrorism, it’s necessary for not just national security but global security as well.
“The more I cooperated, the more I was tortured.”– Majid Khan, prisoner that became an asset
In 2009, President Obama ordered the closure of all black sites and now are “run” in a different way. These sites have been used in the War on Terror since 2001 and have been vital so they continue to operate them in various locations around the world.
Although the details of CIA black sites remain largely classified, it’s most definitely a necessary evil in the fight to keep our country safe and enemies at bay.