Bush's House Of Cards Begins To Fall

The Bush administration built an elaborate house of cards to justify torture, but thanks in part to some recent ACLU victories, the house of cards is finally beginning to fall.

Over the last few weeks, we've secured the release of the Bush administration's torture memos and won an important appeals court ruling in our challenge to Jeppesen DataPlan's involvement in the CIA's rendition program. We are also anticipating the release of torture photographs that the Bush administration managed to suppress for years.

These victories didn't happen overnight. In fact, the ACLU first filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request on the treatment of prisoners on October 7, 2003. Since then, ACLU lawyers and cooperating lawyers have filed dozens of legal briefs and appeared at dozens of court hearings. ACLU lawsuits have resulted in the release of more than 100,000 pages of government documents relating to the abuse and torture of prisoners in U.S. custody. We were gratified to finally get the Bush administration's torture memos on April 16, but it's worth noting that it took us several years to get them. We wouldn't have been able to invest that time without your consistent support.

  • Earlier this week, a federal appeals court overturned a decision that would have dismissed the ACLU's case against Jeppesen DataPlan, a subsidiary of the Boeing Corporation that facilitated the CIA's rendition program. The Bush administration -- and then the Obama administration -- had argued that the case could not be litigated without the disclosure of "state secrets." However, we asked the court of appeals to overturn that decision, and it did. Now our case can move forward and our clients -- victims of the CIA's rendition program -- can have their day in court.
  • In connection with our long-running Freedom of Information Act litigation, the Department of Defense has agreed to release, by May 28, a substantial number of photos depicting the abuse of prisoners by U.S. personnel.
  • In the same lawsuit, the judge has ordered the CIA to disclose records related to the agency's destruction of 92 videotapes. The tapes captured CIA interrogators waterboarding prisoners in their custody.

We're now focused on ensuring comprehensive transparency about the torture program and on ensuring that those who authorized torture are held accountable for it.

As the stories in this special edition of ACLU Online indicate, the ACLU is at the forefront of exposing the truth of the Bush administration's illegal torture program. We're grateful for the support you've given us, and we ask for your continued support as we press for accountability.

Thank you for standing with us.