Justices Block Appeal on CIA Torture Report

(CN) – The Supreme Court declined Monday to hear an appeal seeking the release of a 2014 Senate report on the CIA’s use of harsh interrogation techniques.

In rejecting the appeal, the justices let stand a May 2016 ruling by the D.C. Circuit, which held the Senate Intelligence Committee was not subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.

In his ruling for a three-judge panel, Senior U.S. Circuit Judge Harry Edwards held that when Congress creates a document and then shares it with a federal agency, the document “does not become an ‘agency record’ subject to disclosure under the FOIA if ‘Congress [has] manifested a clear intent to control the document.'”

Shutting down the American Civil Liberties Union’s effort to see the entire 6,900-page document, Edwards relied the precedent set by D.C. Circuit in 2013’s Judicial Watch v. U.S. Secret Service.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has released a lengthy summary of the report, but the ACLU argued the entire document was subject to disclosure once the committee sent it around to a number of federal agencies.

In December 2016, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth order the Obama administration to deliver a copy of the report to the court’s top secret storage site for possible use in the case of former CIA prisoner Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, who is awaiting trial by a military tribunal for being the alleged mastermind behind the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen.

That attack killed 17 U.S. servicemen.

President Barak Obama is also said to have kept a copy for his presidential archives, but he did not declassify it before leaving office, meaning with today’s decision by the Supreme Court, the earliest it will become public is 2028.

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