The detention and interrogation of a Libyan captive and suspected al Qaeda operative aboard a Navy warship in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea is prompting concerns about an Obama administration policy of using floating ‘black sites’ to deny legal rights.
Abu Anas al-Libi—seized in a military operation in Libya over the weekend—is being held by the U.S. without access to a lawyer or notification of his legal rights.
U.S. officials told NBC News on Monday that he will face interrogations by the CIA, FBI, and military with the alleged aim of gaining information about al Qaeda’s plans. U.S. officials say that al-Libi is being held under the laws of war and can therefore be detained as long as U.S. forces deem necessary, the Associated Press reports. The USS San Antonio, where al-Libi is captive, was initially deployed to the area for potential strikes on Syria.
A U.S. official speaking anonymously to the New York Times suggested that the very purpose of the raid and seizure was to carry out such interrogations. “If we can, capturing terrorists provides valuable intelligence that we can’t get if we kill them,” said the official.
President Obama has long criticized the George W. Bush administration’s practice of whisking away “terror” suspects to secret prisons run by the CIA, known as ‘black sites,” where they were subject to indefinite detention, denial of their legal rights, and torture methods for interrogation.
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