The US Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that information related to torture that took place at CIA “black sites” are protected under “state secret privilege”, a provision that allows the government to withhold the release of information in court because it’s deemed a national security risk.
The supreme court ruled in a 7-2 decision, giving a major victory to the CIA. The news comes after an inmate at Guantanamo Bay prison filed a criminal complaint against polish individuals claiming he was detained at a CIA “black site” in Poland and subjected to torture.
Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn (Zubaydah) says CIA contractors and polish individuals waterboarded, assaulted, sleep-deprived, and subjected him to cramped confinement. In his complaint, Zubaydah’s legal team submitted a discovery request in federal court to subpoena the two CIA contractors who oversaw the interrogation. The move prompted the government to put up an immediate legal fight arguing that complying with Zubaydah’s request would force the CIA to confirm the location of the site and an “admission that would undermine national security”
The supreme court’s ruling will now make it easier for the government to withhold information under the “state secrets privilege” provision.