Obama to Cheney: Torture Document Release Denied

Vice President Dick Cheney’s request for the declassification of two CIA reports that, Cheney says, will prove the effectiveness of “enhanced interrogation techniques” has been denied.

Dick Cheney

The reason for denial according to the Weekly Standard is because the documents are “involved in a Freedom of Information Act court battle.”

This has the smell of deceit all over it.

White House officials have told reporters and members of Congress that the Cheney memos do not bolster the case for enhanced interrogation, as Cheney has suggested. But they have nonetheless refused to release them. President Obama has the legal authority to declassify the documents “with the wave of his hand,” according to one expert.

Attorney General Eric Holder said the administration does not intend “to play hide and seek or not to release certain things in a way that is not consistent with other things. It is not our intention to try to advance a political agenda or to hide things from the American people.”

The Weekly Standard:

But that is exactly what critics, with some justification, contend the administration has done. In a letter to his intelligence community colleagues sent to explain the release of the OLC memos, Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, wrote: “High value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qaeda organization that was attacking this country.” But when Blair’s office released parts of his letter as a public statement on the subject, that sentence was cut. Blair also noted that members of Congress had been briefed on the methods, but that section was also cut from the public statement.

(Blair’s office claimed that the assessments were cut for space — an odd explanation since such statements are released on the internet or over email. And, in a subsequent clean-up statement, said he supports Obama’s position because it might have been possible to extract that valuable information using other techniques.)

Can we say “arm twisting,” or…worse?

An unnamed senior Bush administration official questions using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to block information:

So, because Amnesty International has filed a broad FOIA request for detainee related materials, the American people are unable to see memos that document the effectiveness of our detainee program. Wouldn’t the legal memos previously released also, presumably, have been subject to this FOIA? Why wasn’t their release blocked under the same provision?

Jammie Wearin’ Fool says this will only embolden Cheney. I’ll wait for the ACLU to come to the rescue.