The CIA says it will not release two documents that former Vice President Dick Cheney had asked to be made public.
Cheney says the documents would show that harsh interrogation techniques used during the Bush administration were effective.
But CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano says the two documents that Cheney wants released contain information that is the subject of pending litigation.
In a letter to the National Archives, the CIA's information and privacy coordinator, Delores Nelson, writes that the documents are relevant in two lawsuits that have been filed under the Freedom of Information Act. The letter lists the two lawsuits as Bloche v. Department of Defense and Amnesty International v. Central Intelligence Agency.
Until those lawsuits are resolved, the agency is prohibited by executive order from making them public, Gimigliano says.
Cheney has 45 days to appeal this decision.
The White House could also decide to release the documents anyway.
That's what happened last month, when Bush administration-era memos on interrogation written by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel were released — over the objections of current and former CIA officials.
TEXT OF LETTER:
Mr. Stephannie Oriabure, Archivist
National Archives and Records Administration
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20408-0001
Reference: EOM-2009-00573 / NLMS 2009-001 (Cheney, Richard B.)
Dear Ms. Oriabure:
Your facsimile of 21 April 2009 referred one document to this agency responding to the referenced Executive Order 12958 Mandatory Declassification Review request. I have enclosed a copy of your correspondence at Tab A.
As you are aware, a request for Mandatory Declassification Review is governed by Executive Order 12958, as amended, which was signed and executed by the President on March 25, 2003. Under section 3.5.(a)(3) of that Executive Order, a document is excluded from Mandatory Declassification Review if that document contains information that is the subject of pending litigation. This provision ensures that the Mandatory Declassification Review process is not used to disrupt simultaneous litigation proceedings that are already pending. In researching the information in question, we have discovered that it is currently the subject of pending FOIA litigation (Bloche v. Department of Defense, Amnesty International v. Central Intelligence Agency). Therefore, the requested document, which contains this information, is excluded from Mandatory Declassification Review.
The requester may appeal my decision to the Agency Release Panel, in my care, within 45 days from the date of this letter. He may send his appeal to:
Agency Release Panel
c/o Information and Privacy Coordinator
Central Intelligence Agency
Washington, D.C. 20505.
// s //
Delores M. Nelson
Information and Privacy Coordinator