CIA Considers Releasing Its Torture Reports to ACLU

There's good news in the ACLU's Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking greater transparency about the CIA's now-discontinued torture program: The CIA has agreed to review and consider for public release two of the three key reports we seek. The release would take place on May 22.

But as usual when we talk about forcing transparency from the CIA, good news comes with caveats. The two reports the CIA is considering making public give only its version of the story (though apparently the two CIA reports contradict each other). The agency is still fighting in court to prevent disclosure of the third, an investigative report into CIA torture by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. We're looking forward to making our case for disclosure of that report to the court. Meanwhile, the committee — which invested four years into its comprehensive investigation led by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) — will vote soon to seek declassification of a summary of the report. We urge it to vote "yes" so that the public has a fuller story, and not just the one the CIA wants to tell.

Some background: We filed our FOIA lawsuit against the CIA in November last year, seeking two documents necessary for a more complete public accounting of the human and national security costs and consequences of CIA torture. The first is the Intelligence Committee's 6,000-page investigative report. According to the committee's chair, Senator Feinstein, the report "uncovers startling details about the CIA detention and interrogation program and raises critical questions about intelligence operations and oversight." Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) says the report reveals that "the CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information about its interrogation program to the White House, the Justice Department, and Congress." In other words, the CIA apparently lied to the agencies responsible for oversight of its activities. Our lawsuit also seeks the CIA's report in response to the committee, in which the agency defends its torture regime and challenges the committee's investigative methods and findings.

In December, Senator Mark Udall (D-Colo.) revealed that former CIA Director Leon Panetta had commissioned a separate report about the torture program — and that this Panetta report "amazingly" contradicted the findings of the CIA's official response to the committee. We amended our lawsuit to force disclosure of the Panetta report as well.

The CIA has agreed to consider releasing to us on May 22 both the Panetta report and its response to the Intelligence Committee's report. But here's another caveat: We still don't know how much in those reports the agency will seek to keep secret. The CIA has an unfortunate history of censoring criticism or information that presents the agency in a bad light, while giving the green light to self-serving disclosures from torture perpetrators and apologists. (John Rizzo, the CIA's general counsel during some of its most lawless years, is currently on a tour to promote a book aptly titled "Company Man.")

Regarding the Intelligence Committee report, we expect the CIA will argue in court that the document is not the agency's record for purposes of the FOIA and the CIA is not obligated to release it. That's similar to the argument the Department of Justice made in a lawsuit filed by journalist Jason Leopold, seeking the executive summary of the Intelligence Committee report. (Leopold describes the government's arguments in his case here.) We'll challenge any CIA arguments in court, of course, but there's another way to preventmisleading, one-sided disclosures by the agency. The Intelligence Committee will vote soon on whether to declassify its investigative report and press for expeditious declassification so that the CIA doesn't drag its feet. Senator Feinstein said last year that she will seek a declassification vote, and that vote could take place in the coming weeks. In the meantime, the calls for disclosure are growing. They've come from former military leaders, ambassadors, a retired judge, a former State Department legal advisor ambassador to NATO, and the editorial boards of the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, among others.

Although none of us can know exactly what's in the three reports we're seeking, we do know that all three must be disclosed, both for a more complete public record, and to correct that record. We need them to pierce through the apparent web of lies and defenses the CIA has spun for years about its torture program to Congress, the executive branch — and the American people.

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Anonymous

Well, they need to do more than conSIDer it, they need to DO it AND they need to release ALL of the reports for the benefit of people who had no gd CLUE they were doing this or never would have voted for that president the second time.

I'm so furious about finding this out it's not funny. I mean finding out it was more than a sensational news story. That it WASN'T embellished and actually real.
It's 10 kinds of embarrassing.

Anonymous

Asked me to stop bothering them.
An evil form of harassment.
My computer is being hacked, excessive amounts of interference on phone calls,
surveillance cameras become disabled along with many electrical appliances.
Upon researching on the internet, who else provides this type of covert surveillance and harassment capabilities?

Anonymous

The CiA may release information about torture incidents that have already been discovered. How about the innocent people being tortured in their own homes. Torture devices are being surgically implanted into American citizens. There's your fight. Not what we already know, but what we don't know. The loopholes in the Patriot Act give a few people the right to torture anyone, including U.S. citizens in their own home. Torture devices that are being activated remotely and secretly Surgical implants and terroristic means to scare people into NOT speaking about it.

Anonymous

I am one of their hostages...I have been tortured with what the last comment on this Subject says. I Have been
under their watchful and Painful driven technologies,
Lack of any Human Respect, Compassion or Remorse.
I have delt with this (Their) lifestyle for 10 years now. I don't even have a Criminal Record. Their interest in me proceeding endlessly with Torture, threats, and invasion of my privacy remains a Complete mystery to me. They have taken my life away from me...I write this as I have endless emotional breakdowns even as I Write they are

terrorizing me..There is No Stop to this for it continues
even through watching every movement I make down to showering.I am not making any of this up.I have lived in
Fear and have given up even trying to find help.They are
Deceitful, soo Painfully Cruel that I cannot believe they
can call themselves decent human beings. I wish nothing
but God to protect anyone who has ever witnessed this
kind of treatment and especially for their own Children
that they never find out what kind of a Person their
Mother or Father. Really is and does.I can't even say
more for I fear for my life and my family's life.Soo I

leave You with one message...Have Mercy on Us God
Grant Us Peace...+

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