It’s only terrorism if “they” do it. Here’s a classic case of the American system protecting officials who brazenly break laws and get away with it:
American intelligence agencies including the CIA and the FBI have won a court ruling allowing them to withhold evidence from British MPs about suspected UK involvement in “extraordinary rendition” – the secret arrests and alleged torture of terror suspects.
A judge in Washington DC granted permission for key US intelligence bodies, including the highly sensitive National Security Agency, to exploit a loophole in US freedom of information legislation which bars the release of documentation to any body representing a foreign government.
Downing Street underlined the gravity of the torture claims yesterday when it urged police to interview former Labour ministers as part of an investigation into the alleged rendition and torture of a Libyan critic of Muammar Gaddafi. Jack Straw, who was Foreign Secretary at the time and is expected to be interviewed by detectives, denies any complicity in rendition – as have his successors at the Foreign Office. Whitehall officials have made clear that the intelligence services believe their operations “were in line with ministerially authorised government policy”.
The CIA’s court victory over British MPs came after the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Extraordinary Rendition – which comprises about 50 backbench MPs and peers – submitted a slew of information requests to US intelligence agencies as part of its investigations into the extent of British complicity in rendition and torture. The US agencies were trying to avoid official embarrassment on both sides of the Atlantic by using a narrow legal exemption to prevent the disclosure of critical papers, said Tony Lloyd, a Labour MP and the vice-chairman of the group. He called the judgment “disappointing”.