Dec. 14, 2005 – Several civil liberties organizations joined with a veterans group Friday in filing papers seeking a review of a fall ruling that shielded the government from having to release or even admit the existence of two documents relating to secret detention facilities and approved interrogation techniques. Plaintiffs believe that information made public recently warrants another look at a defunct lawsuit.
The documents, which have not been made public, are widely-thought to exist, but the September District Court decision permitted the Central Intelligence Agency to sidestep acknowledgment of their existence.
A year ago, the American Civil Liberties Union and four other organizations filed requests for two documents reportedly signed by President Bush. One purportedly authorized the CIA to set up secret detention facilities outside of US jurisdiction and the other listed approved interrogation methods, the ACLU said in a statement announcing its action yesterday. The organizations learned of the documents through news reports in USA Today and Newsweek, according to the August 2004 FOIA request.
In papers filed last week with the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, the ACLU, Center for Constitutional Rights, Physicians for Human Rights and Veterans for Common Sense pointed to recent news reports in the Washington Post, New York Times and other outlets documenting the existence of CIA-run overseas prison camps and outlining claims of torture and abuse and the hands of US questioners or their proxies.
Additionally, the groups assert, CIA Director Porter J. Goss has made numerous recent references to questionable interrogation techniques that have been approved at the highest levels of the Department of Justice and by the White House, evidence, they claim, that the documents requested do exist.
In Mondayâ€™s statement, ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said: "President Bush himself has said, â€˜We do not torture.â€™ If thatâ€™s the case, why does the government continue to fight tooth and nail to withhold documents that would shed light on CIA interrogation techniques?"
The Bush administration has, as of press time, not commented on the new ACLU-led legal attack. Recent statements by administration officials have sought to allay concerns over mounting evidence that the US engages in tactics banned by international treaties while prosecuting the "war on terror."