The Bush administration repeatedly insists that it does not condone torture. It tells us this despite so much evidence that points to the contrary. Even when the President has finally been forced to admit that ‘black sites’ exist and that extraordinary rendition is a reality despite the denials of European leaders, it still maintains that it does not torture detainees.
So why would it be necessary for CIA operatives to purchase an insurance policy to protect them against lawsuits for torturing their prisoners?
Worried CIA agents are taking out torture insurance as fears grow that they will be targeted by alleged terrorists and their victims in American courts.
The £160-a-year policies will provide the spies with about £106,000 in legal costs and about £530,000 towards awards made by the courts if they are sued and lose.
The policies cover suits lodged for torture, human rights abuse and professional failings in the lead-up to the September 11 atrocities.
CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield told The Washington Post: “It’s fair to say that more employees have chosen to get this insurance, including those who work in counter-terrorism.”
CIA lawyers have advised staff to take out policies offered by a firm linked to the Special Agents Mutual Benefit Association, a financial services firm established by former FBI officials.
The agency has reimbursed premiums for some officers.
In the event of legal action, agents would normally be provided with government-funded legal cover, but many worry that in cases of alleged severe wrongdoing that assistance could be withdrawn.
Could it possibly be that the CIA really is involved in torture and is terrified that its activities might be uncovered in the courts? Perhaps that might also explain why the Bush administration is also trying to prevent such lawsuits ever reaching a court.