Saturday, November 18, 2006
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), who will chair the Senate Judiciary Committee next year, asked the Justice Department to release two newly acknowledged documents, which set U.S. policy on how terrorism suspects are detained and interrogated.
The CIA recently acknowledged the existence of the documents in response to a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The first is a directive President Bush signed giving the CIA authority to establish detention facilities outside the United States and outlining interrogation methods that may be used against detainees.
The second is a 2002 memo from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel to the CIA's general counsel regarding interrogation methods that the spy agency may use against al-Qaeda leaders.
"The American people deserve to have detailed and accurate information about the role of the Bush administration in developing the interrogation policies and practices that have engendered such deep criticism and concern at home and around the world," Leahy wrote Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.
Leahy asked Gonzales to produce any revisions and analyses of those and other memos. He also requested agency documents that interpret the scope of interrogation practices permitted and prohibited by the Detainee Treatment Act or the Military Commissions Act.
The Justice Department will respond appropriately, spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said yesterday.
But he added that "it is vital to protect national security secrets," particularly in sensitive programs overseen by the intelligence committees. Roehrkasse also said the department will weigh whether the documents being sought fall under the category of confidential deliberations, including legal advice.