CIA Refuses to Release Torture Probe Documents

WASHINGTON ~ The CIA has refused to release further documents related to its controversial terrorist rendition, detention and interrogation programs, saying doing so would threaten national security.

In a 33-page court statement made public on Tuesday, the Central Intelligence Agency said the documents contained sensitive information “that implicates intelligence activities, sources and methods, and information relating to the foreign relations and activities of the United States.”

Last month the Department of Justice revealed details of a report by a CIA inspector general that outlined methods used during interrogations of Al-Qaeda suspects in the midst of anti-terror measures during the presidency of George W. Bush, including threats of rape of family members of detainees.

The release sent shock waves through Washington, and it was followed by Attorney General Eric Holder announcing he had named a prosecutor to probe the alleged CIA prisoner abuse.

Although the most controversial tactics have been ordered halted by President Barack Obama, the US spy agency said the documents were too sensitive to release because they detailed “the locations of CIA intelligence activities overseas and the assistance provided by certain foreign governments.”

CIA lawyer Wendy Hilton argued that release of the documents “could be expected to result in exceptionally grave damage to the national security.”

The documents include cables, interview reports, CIA emails and handwritten notes relating to the detention program.

A US court had given the CIA until Monday to present the files, or explain why they could not be published.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which has filed two lawsuits to obtain the documents, said the decision was “disappointing” and at odds with government policy.

“The CIA’s justification for withholding the documents is entirely incompatible with the Obama administration’s stated commitment to ending torture and restoring governmental transparency,” said Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project.

The CIA rejected such claims.

“The CIA, in fact, has a record for openness that no other intelligence organization can match. We have, under our various release programs, declassified tens of millions of pages over the years,” said spokesman Paul Gimigliano.

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