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CIA admits existence of Bush secret prisons authorization memo

[JURIST] The US Central Intelligence Agency has acknowledged the existence of a memorandum, signed by President Bush, that authorizes the detention and interrogation of terror suspects overseas [ACLU press release] in a letter [PDF text] sent to the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU requested the memo in a FOIA request [ACLU list], sent to the CIA in 2004 [JURIST report], that specifically requested, among 69 other documents, a "[d]irective signed by President Bush that grants the CIA the authority to set up detention facilities outside the United States and/or outlining interrogation methods that may be used against Detainees." The CIA also acknowledged the existence of Justice Department legal analysis of specific interrogation techniques considered for use against top al Qaeda officials. The CIA letter, sent by CIA General Counsel John McPherson, acknowledges the existence of the documents but argues that they need not be released under an exemption to the Freedom of Information Act [text; DOJ materials].

President Bush finally acknowledged the existence of US secret prisons [JURIST report] for terror detainees in September. Incoming US Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) on Tuesday indicated willingness to investigate CIA extraordinary rendition practices [JURIST report] and the use of secret prisons. Wednesday's New York Times has more.

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