The spy agency faced a Monday court deadline to turn over more papers, but the agency responded by telling the federal judge in the case that dozens of remaining documents must stay secret.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
WASHINGTON -- The CIA says it cannot turn over more details of its interrogations of terror suspects without spilling classified government secrets.
A long-secret report released last week shed new light on alleged CIA abuses. The spy agency faced a Monday court deadline to turn over more papers, but the agency responded by telling the federal judge in the case that dozens of remaining documents must stay secret.
The American Civil Liberties Union has sought the documents as part of a long-running lawsuit seeking information about the U.S. government's antiterror program.
The civil rights group criticized the CIA's position, saying it contradicts President Obama's policies on counterterror measures and transparency in government.
Attorney General Eric Holder last week appointed federal prosecutor John Durham to look into abuse allegations after the release of an internal CIA inspector general's report that revealed agency interrogators once threatened to kill a Sept. 11 suspect's children and suggested another would be forced to watch his mother be sexually assaulted.
Neither end of the political spectrum is happy with Holder's decision. Led by former Vice President Dick Cheney, conservatives said the probe wrongly targeted those who helped keep the nation safe after the Sept. 11 attacks. Civil liberties groups were unhappy that officials from the administration of President George W. Bush were not targeted in the probe.
President Obama has said interrogators would not face charges if they followed legal guidelines. However, the report said that some CIA interrogators went beyond Bush administration restrictions that gave them wide latitude to use severe tactics such as waterboarding, a simulated drowning technique. Three high-level suspects underwent waterboarding scores of times.
Cheney contended that the inspector general's report showed that the severe techniques resulted in "the bulk of intelligence we gained about Al Qaeda" and "saved lives and prevented terrorist attacks."
Although the report somewhat buttressed Cheney's contention by saying the interrogations obtained some information that identified terrorists and plots, the inspector general also raised broad concerns about the legality and effectiveness of the tactics, saying that measuring their success is "a more subjective process and not without some concern."