After years of denials, the CIA has formally acknowledged the existence of two classified documents governing aggressive interrogation and detention policies for terrorism suspects, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
But CIA lawyers say the documents – memos from President Bush and the Justice Department – are still so sensitive that no portion can be released to the public.
The disclosures by the CIA general counsel’s office came in a letter Friday to attorneys for the ACLU. The group had filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in New York two years ago under the Freedom of Information Act, seeking records related to U.S. interrogation and detention policies.
The lawsuit has resulted in the release of more than 100,000 pages of documents, including some that revealed internal debates over the policies governing prisoners held at the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Many other records have not been released and, in some cases, their existence has been revealed only in media reports.
An ACLU attorney Jameel Jaffer cuts to the chase:
“We intend to press for the release of both of these documents. If President Bush and the Justice Department authorized the CIA to torture its prisoners, the public has a right to know.”
Bush administration officials have reason to be worried. Likewise the Blair and Howard governments. Can’t imagine “our” leaders being charged with war crimes, notably torture and “extraordinary rendition”?