Secrecy News

CIA Seeks More Time to Declassify Interrogation Documents

The Central Intelligence Agency today asked a court to allow more time to declassify its response to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on CIA rendition, detention and interrogation (RDI) activities, which itself is undergoing a time-consuming declassification review.

“This complex process requires the careful review of over 500 pages of highly classified material. In addition, sufficient time must be allowed not only for coordination with other agencies, but — after completion of declassification review — for implementation of security measures to ensure the safety of U.S. personnel and facilities overseas,” according to a May 15 motion filed by the government in a FOIA lawsuit brought by the ACLU.

“Due to the fluid nature of this process, aspects of which are beyond the CIA’s control, the Agency does not yet have a firm date by which it can complete the processing of the CIA Response [to the SSCI report] and the so-called Panetta Report, although it hopes the declassification review and accompanying processing of those documents can be completed this summer.”

The CIA therefore requested an extension of time to respond, to which the ACLU plaintiffs did not consent.

With respect to the Senate Intelligence Committee report itself, the government promised an “expeditious” declassification review of the executive summary, findings, and conclusions.

“While all declassification decisions are guided by the need to protect national security interests, the President has expressed a clear intent to declassify as much of the executive summary, findings, and conclusions of the SSCI Report as possible, and intends the declassification process to be expeditious,” the government motion said.

According to an April 18 letter from then-White House counsel Katherine Ruemmler, appended to the new motion, “The President supports making public the Committee’s important review of the historical RDI program, as he believes that public scrutiny and debate will help to inform the public understanding of the program and to ensure that such a program will not be contemplated by a future administration.

4 thoughts on “CIA Seeks More Time to Declassify Interrogation Documents

  1. It’s insulting, both the so-called declassification review process, “fluid beyond the CIA’s control”, and the spurious sideshow seeking only to declassify the executive summary rather than the whole report. Cover ups and conflicts of interest everywhere one looks.

  2. Leaving aside the point that the report belongs to the Legislative Branch, we have,

    “While all declassification decisions are guided by the need to protect national security interests, the President has expressed a clear intent to declassify as much of the executive summary, findings, and conclusions of the SSCI Report as possible, and intends the declassification process to be expeditious,”

    OK, this is, is it not, the POTUS? And with the partial exception of certain nuclear and cryptographic matters, classification by Executive Branch organs is conducted under his authority and at his discretion, no?

    So why couldn’t he say to the CIA et al., for example, “Cut the cr^H^H nonsense and give me your best and final draft by COB 23 May and stand by to discuss matters at issue with me and Senator Feinstein the next week, understanding that I will immediately release the report in the form it has at COB 30 May”?

  3. “…— for implementation of security measures to ensure the safety of U.S. personnel and facilities overseas,…”

    A properly redacted document would have no effect on the ‘safety of U.S. personal’. I assume that is the most important criterion. It’s certainly the easiest to fulfill. Next in difficulty would be redaction or modification of information the US IC has, but doesn’t want anyone else to know they have it.

    Improper or illegal activites by US personnel would be more difficult to obscure.

    Obama should stop listening to ‘experts’ and do the right thing.

    When the experts begin to contradict common sense, it’s time to go with common sense.

    I gotta go…

  4. Two words come to mind.

    HELL NO!!!

    If we reduced government by these 9 letters:

    DEA

    NSA

    CIA

    We’d all be better off.

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