For Immediate Release
ACLU Calls On Government To Release CIA Torture Report With Minimal Redactions
Attorney General Holder Expected To Announce Investigation Related To Report's Findings
WASHINGTON - The
American Civil Liberties Union today called on the Obama administration
to release the CIA's Inspector General (IG) report on the legality and
effectiveness of the agency's "enhanced interrogation" program without
significant redactions. The government is required to turn over the
report on August 24 in connection with a long-running ACLU Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking documents related to the
treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody overseas. The CIA is also facing
an August 31 deadline to turn over dozens of additional documents
related to the Inspector General's investigation and the CIA's torture
program in general.
"President Obama made a commitment
to transparency and accountability, and it's time for his
administration to make good on that promise," said Amrit Singh, staff
attorney with the ACLU. "The CIA Inspector General report is a crucial
document that would shed light on the origins and scope of the CIA's
torture program. The American public has a right to know the full truth
about the torture that was committed in its name."
The CIA turned over a heavily
redacted version of the IG report in May 2008, but earlier this year
the government agreed to review the same report with a view toward
disclosing more information. In the version made public last year, the
section on the lawfulness of the program was partially redacted and the
section on effectiveness was entirely redacted. Sections on
waterboarding were also redacted.
The CIA's deadline to turn over the
less-redacted report comes as Attorney General Eric Holder is
reportedly planning to make an announcement about an investigation into
torture that occurred under the Bush administration. News reports
indicate the scope of the planned investigation was influenced by the
contents of the IG report. In the past, President Obama has said that
those who relied "in good faith" on legal advice provided by the Office
of Legal Counsel will not be prosecuted.
"Reports that Attorney General
Holder will appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate the
torture of prisoners are encouraging," said Jameel Jaffer, Director of
the ACLU National Security Project. "Attorney General Holder said that
he would restore the independence and integrity of the Justice
Department, and the appointment of a prosecutor to investigate torture
would be a sign that he takes that commitment seriously. It's critical,
though, that the scope of any criminal investigation be determined not
by political considerations but by the facts. The prosecutor must not
be precluded from investigating the criminal responsibility of senior
officials who authorized torture or wrote the memos that were used to
justify it. An investigation that begins and ends with so-called
'rogue' interrogators would be indefensible given the evidence that is
already in the public domain. Nor should any 'good faith' limitation be
used as a shield for interrogators who knew or should have known that
they were violating the law. The prosecutor must be allowed to follow
the facts where they lead."
The expected release of the CIA's IG
report is part of a long-running ACLU lawsuit that, since 2003, has
resulted in the release of tens of thousands of pages concerning the
abuse and torture of prisoners in U.S. custody. Among the documents
that have been released as a result of the lawsuit are the four OLC
torture memos that were made public in April 2009, FBI emails
discussing the abuse and torture of prisoners at Guantanamo, directives
that permitted interrogators in Iraq to use methods that violate
domestic and international law and autopsy reports documenting the
deaths of prisoners held by the U.S. in Afghanistan and Iraq.
More information about the ACLU's FOIA litigation is available online at: www.aclu.org/accountability
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The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.