AUGUST 24, 2009
Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained 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 reports entitled, “Khalid Shaykh Muhammad: Preeminent Source On Al-Qa’ida” and “Detainee Reporting Pivotal for the War Against Al Qa’ida.”
The records, were previously held by the Office of former Vice President Cheney. On March 31, 2009, Vice President Cheney personally issued a request to the National Archives Presidential Libraries section for declassification review of these same documents. The Archives then passed on the request to the CIA for review on April 8, 2009. Vice President Cheney has said the reports 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. It is these documents that Judicial Watch has obtained. They have never before been released to the public.
CIA interrogations have been the subject of great controversy over the last few months. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi came under fire in April when she claimed she was never briefed about the CIA’s use of the waterboarding technique during terrorism investigations. The CIA produced a report documenting a briefing with Pelosi on September 4, 2002 that suggests otherwise.
“These documents suggest that enhanced interrogation techniques prevented terrorist attacks and protected our country,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Now, the American people can have a more complete understanding of whether these enhanced interrogation programs are effective. We are very pleased to be able to bring these documents to light for the first time.”
Judicial Watch filed its original Freedom of Information Act request with the CIA on May 18, 2009. On June 25, 2009, the CIA acknowledged receipt of the request but provided no documents and did not specify when Judicial Watch would receive a substantive response, prompting Judicial Watch’s lawsuit. By law, the CIA had until June 30, 2009 to provide any non-exempt records.