The War on Terror resulted in the United States creating a "global torture regime" in which it exports torture to black sites located around the world and implicates other countries in crimes against humanity, according to former National Security Agency senior executive Thomas Drake.
"This is a global torture regime," Drake told Sputnik News. "It was not rogue elements, it was not people who decided to take things into their own hands, it was United States policy."
Black sites are secret prisons operated by the CIA, usually outside of U.S. territory and jurisdiction, where alleged enemy combatants are extrajudicially sent to be interrogated, and as we've found out, often tortured.
Drake's comments come as former Romanian president Ion Iliescu admitted this week that he approved the CIA's request for at least one black site in Romania where prisoners were held and tortured, though he said he wasn't aware of its purpose at the time and regretted the decision.
Ioan Talpes, who previously headed Romania's Foreign Intelligence Service, said last year that Romanis allowed the CIA to use a number of sites on its territory. "The Romanian side was not interested in what the Americans were doing, purposely to show them that they could trust us," said Talpes, according to RT.
It's worth noting that around the same time, Romania was attempting to gain support for joining NATO, which it did in 2004.
Other sites are or have previously been located in Afghanistan, Lithuania, Poland and Thailand.
The program wasn't isolated to a few countries, Drake said. "This was facilitated, supported and was very closely monitored at the highest level of the United States government, up to and including the White House."
According to a report by the Open Society Justice Initiative, the following countries have been also complicit in the CIA secret torture program:
Albania, Algeria, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Finland, Republic of Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Libya, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan, Yemen and Zimbabwe.
"In essence, you're creating a regime that is implicating a huge number of other countries," Drake told Sputnik.
A U.S. Senate report into the U.S. torture practices, commonly referred to as "enhanced interrogation techniques," was released last year, concluding that the practices were "brutal," ineffective and failed to provide any solid intelligence.
Drake called the practices "absolute hypocrisy" conducted out of the U.S.'s "own arrogance and hubris."
"This is not what we do as Americans. These are crimes against humanity," he added.
After Sept. 11, 2001, Drake helped expose the National Security Agency's surveillance programs, and was prosecuted by the government for espionage, though all 10 original charged were dropped in 2011 and Drake eventually agreed to plea guilty to one misdemeanor count of exceeding his authorized access to government computers in exchange for no jail time, reported Politico.