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CIA refuses to release further documents on detainee treatment practices

[JURIST] The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] has announced [declaration, PDF] that they would not release further documents regarding investigations into alleged detainee mistreatment in Iraq and Afghanistan. Filed late Monday in response to a Freedom of Information Act suit [materials] brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website], the declaration maintains that the withheld documents and information describing interrogation and rendition procedures are "highly sensitive" and fall into FOIA exceptions. The unreleased information supposedly details how the CIA developed its program and coordinated with other US agencies, how it targeted terrorists, and how it worked with its liaison partners to develop "information that was essential to protecting the United States." The declaration argues that releasing such information would expose the names of CIA employees and sources, intra-agency discussions and deliberations, attorney-client communications, and private personnel files. The ACLU responded [press release] to the filing, saying that the arguments are "utterly disconnected from the Obama administration's stated positions" on ending torture and restoring transparency.

Last week, the CIA released letters and memoranda [JURIST report] detailing the conduction of overseas interrogations that included sleep deprivation, dietary manipulation and physical abuse. The documents, which analyzed the legality of "enhanced interrogation" procedures, were released pursuant to a court order resulting from the ACLU FOIA litigation. Also last week, US Attorney General Eric Holder [official profile] announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will "open a preliminary review" [JURIST report] into allegations of prisoner abuse by CIA interrogators during the Bush administration. In July, a former CIA counter-terrorism agent reported that waterboarding techniques were used prior to the issuance of legal memos authorizing the practice [JURIST reports]. Also in July, former DOJ lawyer and memo author John Yoo declared his intent to appeal a ruling that allowed a lawsuit [JURIST reports] against him for complicity in torture. The suit claims that Yoo's legal opinions endorsing certain interrogation techniques led to torture.

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