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Thursday, July 18, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

U.S. Can Censor Gitmo Testimony, Judge Rules

(CN) - A federal judge in Washington, D.C., upheld the government's decision to censor Guantanamo Bay prisoner testimony, saying the unredacted transcripts would "seriously damage" national security.

The American Civil Liberties Union requested that transcripts of detainee testimony from tribunal hearings be released in their entirety under the Freedom of Information Act, but U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth denied the request.

The redacted information qualifies as "intelligence sources and methods," the disclosure of which would threaten national security, the judge ruled.

The Department of Defense and the CIA released the documents in May but redacted names and other sensitive information.

The documents outline top-secret CIA interrogation methods contained in the Army Field Manual that are still in use, the opinion states. Releasing them would "seriously damage" national security, the court ruled.

President Barack Obama's executive order closing CIA prisons and barring the use of enhanced interrogation techniques does not mean the details of the CIA's interrogation program can go public, Lamberth said.

"The President never authorized full disclosure of defendants' interrogation program; he merely ended it," Lamberth wrote.

The information is still vital to national security, and the CIA is fully justified in keeping it under wraps, the judge concluded.

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