Judicial Watch Obtains New CIA Documents on Terrorist Interrogations
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained new documents from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) regarding the results of the detainee interrogation program. The documents, obtained by Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed on July 14, 2009, include two new versions of a report previously released to Judicial Watch in August, entitled, “Detainee Reporting Pivotal for the War Against Al-Qa’ida.”
These new reports, dated June 1, 2005 and July 12, 2005, contain some different information than the previously released report, dated June 3, 2005. Notably, the June 1, 2005 report concludes that “Detainee reporting accounts for more than half of all HUMINT reporting on al-Qa’ida since the program began…” This fact is missing from the other two later reports.
The June 1, 2005 report also has additional pages of redacted material. All three reports conclude: “One of the gains to detaining the additional terrorists has been the thwarting of a number of al-Qa’ida operations in the United States and overseas.”
(The previously released June 3, 2005 report notes “…detainees in mid-2003 helped us build a list of approximately 70 individuals – many of whom we had never heard of before – that al-Qa’ida deemed suitable for Western operations.”)
On March 31, 2009, Vice President Cheney personally issued a request to the National Archives Presidential Libraries section for declassification review of the June 1, 2005 and another detainee program report. The Archives then passed on the request to the CIA for review on April 8, 2009. Judicial Watch sought these reports after it became apparent that they would not be released by the Obama administration in a timely fashion. Only last week was the specific June 1, 2005 report that Vice President sought evidently released to Judicial Watch. Vice President Cheney said these documents show the effectiveness of enhanced interrogation techniques that were used on some detained terrorists, such as Khalid Shaykh Muhammad and Abu Zubaydah.
In March, President Obama overruled objections from national security officials and released documents detailing the government’s enhanced interrogation program of terrorists (the so-called “torture” memos). However, President Obama initially withheld information detailing the results of this program, including alleged terrorist plots that the program prevented.
“All of these CIA documents come to the same conclusion: Detainee interrogations are effective and have helped save lives in the United States and overseas,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Obama administration initially attempted to conceal the effectiveness of detainee interrogations by cherry picking documents to support its view on the interrogation program. We’re pleased we have been able to provide the American people with more of the truth about the effectiveness of terrorist detainee interrogations.”