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Sunday, December 10, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

ACLU Won’t Give Up on Full CIA Torture Report

(CN) - Sen. Richard Burr's attempt to return copies of the Senate's so-called torture report no longer requires court intervention, the American Civil Liberties Union said.

The ACLU had gone to the court in Washington, D.C., last month seeking to protect its right to receive a full copy of the 6,963-page report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on the CIA's use of torture.

The emergency motion cited intent by the Democrat-controlled Senate committee to give it the full report last year, pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request made in 2013.

But when the Republicans took control of Congress at the beginning of the year, the committee's new chairman, Senator Richard Burr, R-N.C., "made an extraordinary post-hoc request, asking President Obama to return all copies of the Final Full Report immediately," the ACLU's motion said.

Burr claimed in his letter that he was unaware copies of the report had been sent to the executive branch. He also allegedly requested that the full report "not be entered into any Executive Branch system of records."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the former committee chairwoman, supported the public release of the full report, and she criticized Burr's request in a January letter to President Barack Obama.

Pointing to "these unique circumstances - and the record of the CIA's attempts to evade its legal obligations, including in this matter," the ACLU said court intervention was necessary "to protect its jurisdiction" or before the CIA could "seek to make the court powerless to enforce its decision."

On Friday, the Obama administration told the court that "there is no need for extraordinary interim relief," because "it can assure the court that it will preserve the status quo regarding the full report absent either leave of court or resolution of this litigation in the government's favor."

The government stated its opinion that the ACLU's suit has little chance of success, but promised it will take no action without court approval.

The ACLU withdrew its emergency motion Monday, "in light of the commitment defendants have now made to the court."

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