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High-Value Information

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July 23, 2008

The Washington Post‘s Al Kamen is skeptical, to say the least, of the CIA’s reasoning behind withholding the transcripts of the former secret CIA prisoners’ Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRT) at Guantánamo. In March, we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit asking a federal court to force the CIA to release the unredacted transcripts of the 14 prisoners who claim they were tortured and abused while in CIA custody.

Kamen writes:

The agency’s associate information review officer, Wendy M. Hilton, wrote that she wanted “to acknowledge that certain allegations made by the [high-value detainees (HVD)]. . . in this case may be false or exaggerated. Notwithstanding this, the HVDs are in a position to provide accurate and detailed information about the CIA’s detention program. . . . [T]he disclosure of such details reasonably could be expected to result in exceptionally grave damage to national security.”

Sounds about right. If they blabbed about what happened, you might want to cut it, especially if they were telling the truth.

Is your head spinning too? Translation: we have to redact everything that could be true or false. Because the American public can’t know the truth about how we’re treating detainees. Perhaps our government thinks we can’t handle the truth.