ACLU Demands End to Double Standard for Torture Crimes; Justice Department Admits That Top Torture Prosecutor Has Not Indicted Any Civilians

January 24, 2006 12:00 am

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States


WASHINGTON – In a letter sent to Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) made public today, the Justice Department disclosed that 19 referrals have been made to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia regarding allegations of civilians who have engaged in torture and abuse, but that no civilians have been indicted. The only referral that was made to another U.S. Attorney resulted in an indictment. The American Civil Liberties Union called for an end to the double standard for torture and abuse crimes; while lower ranks of the military are being convicted for crimes in which they worked alongside CIA agents or other civilians, it appears that agents and contractors of the CIA are being held to a lower standard.

The following can be attributed to Christopher E. Anders, an ACLU Legislative Counsel:

“Justice should be blind, but it is now clear that enlisted men and women in a soldier’s uniform are being convicted while CIA agents and civilian contractors who allegedly participated in the same crimes remain free. The military has already investigated and prosecuted many of its rank and file members and yet it seems that the Justice Department is incapable, or unwilling, to do the same for CIA agents. CIA agents should not be getting a free pass from the Justice Department.

“What is particularly troubling is that all but one of twenty referrals of alleged torture by civilians were sent to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Paul McNulty. McNulty’s team has yet to indict any civilians. In its now typical system of rewarding top torture officials, the White House has nominated McNulty to be Deputy Attorney General, the number two position at the Justice Department. If confirmed, McNulty will oversee all law enforcement at the Justice Department, directly supervising the FBI director, the head of the Criminal Division and all U.S. Attorneys.

“The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to hold a confirmation hearing for McNulty on February 1. Members of that panel must find out why Paul McNulty cannot resolve the same cases that the military investigates and prosecutes. Americans deserve a Justice Department that is committed to the rule of law and equal justice; not one that is beholden to a political agenda.”

To read the Justice Department’s letter to Senator Durbin, go to:

To read Senator Durbin’s letter to the Justice Department, go to:

Sign up to be the first to hear about how to take action.

Learn More About the Issues in This Press Release