CIA Acknowledges 2 Interrogation Memos from Bush


Richard Moore

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CIA Acknowledges 2 Interrogation Memos
Papers Called Too Sensitive for Release
By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 14, 2006; A29

After years of denials, the CIA has formally acknowledged the existence of two 
classified documents governing aggressive interrogation and detention policies 
for terrorism suspects, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

But CIA lawyers say the documents -- memos from President Bush and the Justice 
Department -- are still so sensitive that no portion can be released to the 

The disclosures by the CIA general counsel's office came in a letter Friday to 
attorneys for the ACLU. The group had filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in 
New York two years ago under the Freedom of Information Act, seeking records 
related to U.S. interrogation and detention policies.

The lawsuit has resulted in the release of more than 100,000 pages of documents,
including some that revealed internal debates over the policies governing 
prisoners held at the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Many 
other records have not been released and, in some cases, their existence has 
been revealed only in media reports.

Friday's letter from John L. McPherson, the CIA's associate general counsel, 
lists two documents that pertain to the ACLU's records request.

The ACLU describes the first as a "directive" signed by Bush governing CIA 
interrogation methods or allowing the agency to set up detention facilities 
outside the United States. McPherson describes it as a "memorandum." In 
September, Bush confirmed the existence of secret CIA prisons and transferred 14
remaining terrorism suspects from them to Guantanamo Bay.

The second document is an August 2002 legal memo from the Justice Department's 
Office of Legal Counsel to the CIA general counsel. The ACLU describes it as 
"specifying interrogation methods that the CIA may use against top al-Qaeda 
members." (This document is separate from another widely publicized Justice 
memo, also issued in August 2002, that narrowed the definition of torture. The 
Justice Department has since rescinded the latter.)

The ACLU relied on media reports to identify and describe the two documents, but
the CIA and other agencies had not previously confirmed their existence. 
McPherson wrote that neither document can be released to the public for reasons 
of security and attorney-client privilege.

"The documents are withheld in their entirety because there is no meaningful 
non-exempt information that can be reasonably segregated from the exempt 
information," McPherson wrote. A spokesman for the CIA declined to comment 

Amrit Singh, one of the ACLU's attorneys on the case, said the disclosures may 
make it easier for the group to argue in favor of releasing the documents.

"For more than three years, they've refused to even confirm or deny the 
existence of these records," Singh said, referring to the group's initial 
document request in October 2003. "The fact that they're now choosing to do so 
confirms that their position was unjustified from the start. . . . Now we can 
begin to actually litigate the release of these documents."

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