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CIA Says It Cannot Reveal Interrogation Method Documents January 11, 2007

Posted by notapundit in US News.
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NEW YORK (AP)–The CIA cannot reveal “alternative interrogation methods” used on terrorists because doing so would cause exceptionally grave damage to national security by telling enemies how the agency gathers intelligence, the government has told a judge.

In a document dated Friday and filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the CIA said it cannot reveal more than what President George W. Bush said last summer about the detention and questioning of terrorism suspects.

The American Civil Liberties Union had asked the court to require the CIA to turn over two Department of Justice memos discussing interrogation methods and a presidential order concerning the CIA’s authorization to set up detention facilities outside the United States.

On Wednesday, ACLU attorney Amrit Singh said in a release that the CIA court document “uses national security as a pretext for withholding evidence that high-level government officials in all likelihood authorized abusive techniques that amount to torture.”

He added: “This declaration is especially disturbing because it suggests that unlawful interrogation techniques cleared by the Justice Department for use by the CIA still remain in effect. The American public has a right to know how the government is treating its prisoners.”

On Sept. 6, Bush acknowledged the existence of a CIA terrorist detention and interrogation program and said the CIA used an alternative set of interrogation procedures to question some suspects. He said 14 suspected terrorists in CIA custody had been transferred to the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The president said he could not describe the interrogation techniques because doing so would help terrorists determine how to resist questioning.

“Were it not for this program, our intelligence community believes that al-Qaida and its allies would have succeeded in launching another attack against the American homeland,” Bush said.

The CIA court document said it was necessary to keep the top secret documents from public scrutiny in part because they contain preliminary evaluations, opinions and recommendations of officials from the CIA, the Department of Justice and the National Clandestine Service, another spy agency.

Releasing the information “would discourage open, frank discussions on matters of policy between subordinates and superiors,” the document said.

“Protecting the confidentiality of these documents is essential in order to ensure that even controversial legal issues may be explored candidly, effectively and in writing to ensure that executive branch officials will continue to request legal advice on such matters,” it said.

The CIA also told the court that it knows al-Qaida trains operatives in interrogation resistance and would make its resistance techniques more effective if it knew how the CIA operated.

The deputy director of the ACLU’s National Security Program, Jameel Jaffer, said the president and his legal advisers used the secret memos to justify the CIA could violate U.S. and international law.

“While national security sometimes requires secrecy, it is increasingly clear that these documents are being kept secret not for national security reasons but for political ones,” he said.

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