The U.S. government has never publicly compensated any of the men tortured in CIA custody, and this legal settlement — the terms of which are confidential — is the first of its kind.
Under former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the Justice Department repeatedly moved to block lawsuits at their early stages, arguing that court cases about government torture in clandestine prisons would reveal state secrets. In 2015, however, the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, the two psychologists the CIA paid to create torture techniques.
The lawsuit argued that those techniques were later used on the plaintiffs in the case — Suleiman Abdullah Salim and Mohamed Ben Soud, who had been tortured in CIA custody before being released without charges, as well as the family of a third man, Gul Rahman, who was tortured to death in U.S. custody in 2002.
After overcoming multiple government attempts to dismiss the case, the suit was set to go to trial Sept. 5. Today, the ACLU announced the last-minute settlement. Because the settlement mandates confidentiality, lawyers for the ACLU declined to discuss the terms with The Intercept.