Torture, Secrecy, and Accountability: How should America respond to abuse of post-9/11 detainees?

  • November 20, 2013
  • 3:45 PM

In the twelve years since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, has America done enough to reckon with the treatment of suspected terrorists held in U.S. custody? Immediately upon entering office in 2009, President Obama issued an executive order closing the CIA’s secret “black site” prisons and prohibiting government officials from relying on the Office of Legal Counsel opinions that authorized “harsh interrogation techniques.” He released those opinions publicly, and the Department of Justice opened an examination of more than 100 cases of detainee abuse, later narrowed to a full criminal investigation of just two detainee deaths.

That was the high water mark for transparency and accountability around U.S. torture and abuse of suspected terrorists.  The DOJ probe led to no charges.  Both the Obama administration and the Congress declined to launch an official public inquiry into detainee treatment.  And, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 6,000 page report into the CIA’s rendition, detention and interrogation program remains classified. Although The Constitution Project’s bipartisan, blue-ribbon Task Force on Detainee Treatment issued its comprehensive analysis last spring, there still has been no formal recognition of what happened during this period of serious threat.

Has America done enough to acknowledge how the government treated, and continues to treat, people held in our custody as the nation mobilized to deal with a global terrorist threat?  How will the United States respond to the next crisis, and ones after that?  

Please join The Constitution Project and Georgetown Center on National Security and the Law for a panel discussion on how America should respond to torture and abuse of suspected terrorists in a post-9/11 environment.


Professor Rosa Brooks, moderator, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
General David Irvine (ret.), Member, The Constitution Project's Task Force on Detainee Treatment
Professor David Luban, Professor of Law and Philosophy, Georgetown University Law Center
Other Panelists Invited


Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Event begins at 3:45pm
Reception to Follow


Georgetown Law Center
Eric E. Hotung International Law Building, Dining Room (Main Floor)
600 New Jersey Ave., N.W. Washington, DC 20001

Donate Now
“It was torture,” TCP's independent, bipartisan, blue-ribbon Task Force on Detainee Treatment concluded in a report released April 16, 2013. The group looked at the federal government's policies and actions related to the detention and treatment of suspected terrorists captured in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere and held in U.S. custody during the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations. Read More...