The Justice Department has signaled that it won’t try to block a lawsuit arising from the CIA’s harsh interrogation techniques, leaving the door open for a court challenge over tactics that have since been discontinued and widely discredited.
Lawyers call the government’s stance unprecedented, but also a recognition that a once-secret program is now largely out in the open. They say it’s the first time the Justice Department has not sought, as its first step, to dismiss a lawsuit over the interrogation program by arguing that its mere existence is too secret to discuss in court. Judges have previously accepted that assertion, turning aside cases about a program that was designed to extract intelligence from suspected militants captured overseas.
The lawsuit at issue, pending in federal court in Washington state, accuses the two Air Force psychologists who designed the interrogation program of endorsing and teaching torture tactics under the guise of science.
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