Torture Report for Public Isn't Ready, CIA Says
(CN) - On the hook to release a redacted version of the so-called torture report, the CIA has asked a federal judge for more time to review the study by the Senate Intelligence Committee that harshly criticizes its interrogation techniques.
The committee prepared the secret 6,200 report after a five-year investigation of the Central Intelligence Agency's "extended" interrogation practices, including waterboarding.
In April, it voted to release 500 pages of the report, pending review by the CIA and the president.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the committee, said in a statement that "the report exposes brutality that stands in stark contrast to our values as a nation. It chronicles a stain on our history that must never again be allowed to happen. This is not what Americans do."
The committee's decision directly affects a demand under the Freedom of Information Act by the American Civil Liberties Union for the Senate's full report, the CIA's response, and a report authored by former CIA Director Leon Panetta on the agency's interrogation program.
On Thursday, the CIA asked the presiding federal judge in Washington for time to review the requested sensitive materials before their public release.
"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 and the so-called Panetta Report, although it hopes the declassification review and accompanying processing of those documents can be completed this summer," the motion states.
The release of these documents requires review by both CIA personnel and subject-matter experts, attorneys, and members of the president's administration.
And "while plaintiffs may seek to have these documents released sooner, the government interest in properly declassifying this information, as well as in safeguarding the security of overseas personnel and facilities once the declassification process is complete, far outweighs any desire on plaintiffs' part for earlier release of these documents," the agency argued.
ACLU attorneys were disappointed by the CIA's delay.
"Given how long the CIA has known about its need to make these records public, we expected something more concrete than a mere hope that declassification would take place this summer," Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU's National Security Project, told the Washington Post. "What's also troubling is that the very agency that committed torture is the one wielding the blackout pen over what will become public."
Justice Department Senior Counsel Vesper Mei submitted the motion.