During the Bush administration, many hundreds of people were tortured and abused by the CIA and Department of Defense, primarily in Afghanistan, Guantánamo, and Iraq, but also in other countries after unlawful rendition. Our government’s embrace of torture shattered lives, shredded our nation’s reputation in the world, and compromised our national security. 

But the stain of torture extends even further. Not a single torture victim has had their day in an American court, and our nation has not held to account any of the officials who authorized the use of torture or oversaw its implementation. This failure to engage in a formal legal reckoning has contaminated our legal system.

In January 2009, shortly after entering office, President Barack Obama took important steps to dismantle the torture program. But his administration undermined that early promise by thwarting accountability for torture. 

The ACLU continues to push for accountability for torture as the only way to ensure such heinous crimes are never repeated. We are working to bring about the release of still-classified information about the torture program, to seek justice for victims, and to bring the torturers to account.

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