WASHINGTON (CN) – The ACLU cannot access information about 14 “high interest” Guantanamo Bay detainees who were first interrogated in other countries, the D.C. Circuit ruled.
The Pentagon and CIA had rebuffed the ACLU’s applications under the Freedom of Information Act for information on the Combatant Status Review Tribunals of the 14 “suspected terrorist leaders and operatives.”
Government officials maintained that the information should be kept secret in the interest of national defense.
A federal judge dismissed the ACLU’s lawsuit to access the documents, and the D.C. Circuit affirmed that ruling on Jan. 18.
“To the extent that the ACLU’s claim rests on the ACLU’s belief that the enhanced interrogation techniques were illegal, there is no legal support for the conclusion that illegal activities cannot produce classified documents,” Chief Judge David Sentelle wrote for the court’s three-judge panel.
The court disagreed with the ACLU’s argument that disclosure of the information would not damage national security.
According to Sentelle’s opinion, the CIA maintains that complying with the request would reveal its “needs, priorities and capabilities,” while also “providing terrorists with insight into the CIA’s interrogation techniques, strategies and methods.”
Sentelle also dismissed the ACLU’s claim that the District Court erred in failing to perform review the redacted information in camera.
“The ACLU’s claim that the government acted in bad faith is meritless,” Sentelle wrote.