JW Files Lawsuit Against CIA for Documents On Terrorist Interrogation Briefings of Speaker Pelosi and Congress
JULY 22, 2009
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced that it filed yesterday a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to obtain documents related to congressional briefings on "enhanced interrogation techniques" (Judicial Watch v. Central Intelligence Agency, Case: 1:09-cv-01352). Judicial Watch seeks documents detailing CIA briefings involving House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and/or her staff. Judicial Watch filed its original FOIA request with the Central Intelligence Agency on May 15 seeking the following information:
- Records detailing dates when the CIA briefed congressional leaders (to include, but not limited to Rep. Nancy Pelosi and/or her aide, Michael Sheehy) on matters relating to "enhanced interrogation techniques" and/or "harsh interrogation techniques" and suspected and/or known terrorists.
- Briefing materials presented to Rep. Nancy Pelosi and/or her aide, Michael Sheehy, relating to "enhanced interrogation techniques" and/or "harsh interrogation techniques" and suspected and/or known terrorists.
- Records detailing the names of all Members of Congress (and/or Congressional Aides) briefed on "enhanced interrogation techniques" and/or "harsh interrogation techniques" and suspected and/or known terrorists.
- Records and briefing materials from a reported September 4, 2002 briefing of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (and/or her aide Michael Sheehy) concerning waterboarding detainees.
- Records detailing all instances when the CIA has provided briefings to Members of Congress under the provisions of the National Security Act from September 11, 2001 to present.
On June 23, the CIA notified Judicial Watch that it would not be able to respond to the FOIA request within the mandated 20 working days but failed to indicate when a response would be forthcoming. The CIA suggested it would respond "as soon as we can."
In April 2009 Speaker Pelosi admitted she was briefed on the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques," including waterboarding, but said that the CIA did not tell her that the techniques had already been used. The CIA contradicted Pelosi’s claim, pointing to a briefing they held with the speaker on September 4, 2002 and a subsequent briefing to her top staffer. In response to the controversy, Speaker Pelosi stated the CIA was lying about the briefings and "mislead(s) Congress all the time." Judicial Watch filed its FOIA request to get to the truth in the matter.
"I suspect the Obama administration is stonewalling the release of these documents to protect Speaker Pelosi from further embarrassment," stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "This FOIA lawsuit shows, yet again, that Obama’s promises of transparency were nothing more than empty rhetoric."
On July 14, Judicial Watch filed a separate FOIA lawsuit against the CIA to obtain records from the Office of former Vice President Cheney related to the results of the CIA’s "enhanced interrogation" techniques.