The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was sanctioned by a federal court Monday and ordered to reimburse the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for legal fees expended trying to obtain evidence that the agency tortured terror war prisoners during the Bush administration.
Though a minor victory for the ACLU, the case was ultimately the closing of a window of opportunity to see agency officials held accountable for the abuse of prisoners and the destruction of evidence in violation of court order.
In striking down the ACLU's request to hold the CIA in contempt, New York district Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein affirmed the agency's seeming immunity to the law, insisting the U.S. needs "our spies" in spite of their apparent actions.
As many as 92 tapes of terror war captives being tortured by CIA operatives were allegedly destroyed. Officials suggested these recordings depicted torture sessions with terrorism suspects Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Nashiri.