Obama-Cheney smackdown: CIA denies Cheney's request

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The Weekly Standard has reported that the CIA is refusing the request of former Vice President Dick Cheney to release memos that Cheney says would show the effectiveness of enhanced interrogation techniques.

“The process for Mandatory Declassification Review is governed by Executive Order 12958 [issued by President Bill Clinton], as amended,” said CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano. “That Order excludes from review information that is the subject of pending litigation. The two documents that former Vice President Cheney sought contain information that falls into that category.

     

The agency says the two documents Cheney is seeking are relevant to a pair of pending lawsuits, so it is prohibited by law from releasing them.

Cheney spokeswoman Lucy Tutwiler just sent us a response: "Vice President Cheney is preparing his appeal to the decision."

It’s unlikely this matter will dissuade Cheney from criticizing Obama for eliminating the program that he said amounted to torture, though some Republicans are worried about the suddenly high profile of the less-than-popular ex-veep.

Cheney has also said he is seeking the documents to help with his memoirs.

(Posted by David Jackson; photo by Karen Bleier, AFP, Getty)

Also, Raw Story Reports…

By Stephen C. Webster

“The process for Mandatory Declassification Review is governed by Executive Order 12958 [issued by President Bill Clinton], as amended,” said CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano. “That Order excludes from review information that is the subject of pending litigation. The two documents that former Vice President Cheney sought contain information that falls into that category.

“For that reason — and that reason only — CIA did not accept Mr. Cheney’s request for a Mandatory Declassification Review. The Agency simply followed the Executive Order. This request was handled in accordance with normal practice by CIA professionals with long experience in information management and release. It was for them a straightforward issue.”

“Cheney has 45 days to appeal this decision,” noted National Public Radio.

“The White House could also decide to release the documents anyway.”

Greg Sargent published a copy of a letter from Delores M. Nelson, the CIA’s Information and Privacy Coordinator, explaining the denial of Cheney’s request.

“It will be interesting to see if Cheney makes another push for the documents,” Sargent noted. “Recall that Senator Russ Feingold said yesterday that he had seen the docs and that there was nothing in them that proves Cheney’s point.

“If they’re never released, of course, Cheney can keep saying they prove what he says they do, and no one will ever know the difference.”

“And at the risk of belaboring the point, it doesn’t matter anyway,” opined Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen. “We’re not going to use the Bush/Cheney torture techniques anymore. Cheney thinks there’s evidence of torture’s efficacy. He’s almost certainly wrong, but since the United States is going to start following the law again, ‘it worked’ isn’t going to cut it in the future, no matter what’s on these classified documents.”

Update: Cheney blames ‘Obama Administration’ for decision, plans appeal

“The Obama Administration has denied Vice President Cheney’s request for the declassification of two documents that provide information about the effectiveness of the detainee program,” Cheney’s office said late Thursday in a statement. “Vice President Cheney is preparing his appeal to this denial.”

The Obama administration did not make the decision; the CIA did.

“How long until Dick and Liz Cheney are all over the airwaves, saying that the CIA’s decision proves that Obama is hiding proof of torture’s effectiveness and isn’t willing to make good on his vow of transparency?” asked Greg Sargent on Thursday night.

Update: Gibbs says Bush order blocking Cheney’s records request

“The CIA is the agency that has jurisdiction over this,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters on Thursday. “They made the decision, in all honesty, based on an executive order from the Bush administration, which under the type of request that Vice President Cheney made, precludes these being declassified because they’re part of ongoing litigation. The executive order updated in the Bush administration precludes their release.”

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