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21 Jun

CIA Postpones Release Of Big Torture Report That Could Undercut Cheney

CIA expects the process to conclude “soon,” a clear sign it won’t be today.

The Plum LineGreg Sargent’s blog

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Hmmm, looks like we’re going to have to keep waiting: The CIA has postponed the release of a highly-anticipated 2004 report on torture that was set for release today and is said to conclude that there’s no proof torture foiled terror plots, a source familiar with the process confirms to me.

CIA spokesperson George Little also just emailed that the CIA expects the process to conclude “soon,” a clear sign it won’t be today.

The report, which has a long section detailing whether torture is “effective,” could dramatically undercut Dick Cheney’s claims that torture works and have a major impact on the debate over the legality of the torture program. As I’ve noted here before, for these reasons, Dem Hill staffers have called the report the “Holy Grail.”

The CIA had previously indicated that the report — which was produced in 2004 by the CIA’s Inspector General and was subsequently released in heavily redacted form — would be declassified today, at least in part, in response to the Obama administration’s requests. The CIA is still debating internally how much of it to declassify.

CIA spokesperson George Little emails me this:

“We continue to review the document to see what additional material can be released in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act. The process, which we expect to conclude soon, is working just as it should.”

The “soon” means not today. The report is said to conclude that “it is difficult to determine conclusively whether interrogations provided information critical to interdicting specific imminent attacks,” in the words of one of the recently-released torture memos, which made a passing reference to it. It is also said to raise serious questions about the legality of certain aspects of the torture program, which could fuel calls for a serious inquiry.

But it looks like we’ll have to wait to find out what, and how much, the report will tell us.

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