Ruling Allows CIA To Conceal Evidence Of Its Own Illegal Conduct, Says ACLU
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NEW YORK – A federal judge today ruled that the government can withhold information from the public about intelligence sources and methods, even if those sources and methods were illegal. The ruling came in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation filed by the American Civil Liberties Union for Justice Department memos that authorized torture, and for records relating to the contents of destroyed videotapes depicting the brutal interrogation of detainees at CIA black sites.
The government continues to withhold key information, such as the names of detainees who were subjected to the abusive interrogation methods as well as information about the application of the interrogation techniques. Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York today ruled that the government can continue to suppress evidence of its illegal program.
The following can be attributed to Jameel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU:
“We are very dismayed by today’s ruling, which invests the CIA with sweeping authority to conceal evidence of its own illegal conduct. There is no question that the CIA has authority under the law to withhold information relating to ‘intelligence sources and methods.’ But while this authority is broad, it is not unlimited, and it certainly should not be converted into a license to suppress evidence of criminal activity. Unfortunately, that is precisely what today’s ruling threatens to do. The CIA should not be permitted to unilaterally determine whether evidence of its own criminal conduct can be hidden from the public.”
Judge Hellerstein’s ruling is available online at:
More information about the ACLU’s FOIA litigation is available online at: www.aclu.org/accountability/