White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Wednesday that an alleged draft executive order titled “Detention and Interrogation of Enemy Combatants” “is not a White House document.”
“I have no idea where it came from,” stressed Spicer.
Various mainstream media outlets, including the New York Times (NYT) and the Washington Post (WaPo), published the contents of this document, suggesting it was a legitimate draft from White House officials.
The alleged draft directs national security officials to “recommend to the president whether to re-initiate a program of interrogation of high-value alien terrorists to be operated outside the United States,” and addresses whether to lift the ban on the use of CIA-run “black site” prisons overseas implemented by Barack Obama.
Moreover, it orders the Pentagon chief to “maintain and continue to use the detention and trial facilities at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base for the detention and trial by military commission of alien enemy combatants [already] captured in the armed conflict… including for the detention and trial of newly captured alien enemy combatants” not only affiliated with the Taliban and al-Qaeda, but also the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).
NYT acknowledged in their report that the Trump White House did not respond to a request for comment on the draft order.
Today, the White House press secretary denied any affiliation with the document.
The alleged draft order would have also directed U.S. Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis to work with the Attorney General and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to “review the military commissions system and recommend to the president how best to employ the system going forward to provide for the swift and just trial and punishment of unlawful enemy combatants detained in the armed conflict with violent Islamist extremists.”