CIA Wants to Stall All Summer on IG Report

Ut oh. The ACLU asked the CIA to stop stalling on production of the CIA IG report. And now the CIA has invented a reason to stall until the August 31 deadline that Hellerstein has given them–they want to review the 318 other documents it owes the ACLU first.

As we explained to the Court and Plaintiffs when Plaintiffs first raised the prospect of expediting the Special Review Report, the Report poses unique processing issues. It is over 200 pages long and contains a comprehensive summary and review of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. The Report touches upon the information contained in virtually all of the remaining 318 documents remanded for further review. Although the Government has endeavored in good faith to complete the review of the Special Review Report first, as we have gone through the process, we have determined that prioritizing the Report is simply untenable.

In this instance, we have determined that the only practicable approach is to first complete the review of the remaining 318 documents, and then apply the withholding determinations made with respect to the information in those documents to the Special Review Report.

[snip]

One month into that process, we have concluded that we must review all of the documents together, and that the review will take until August 31, 2009.

Shorter the CIA: Obama said we have to make this stuff public. So we’re going to buy ourselves two more months until we make it public.

If Judge Hellerstein allows them.

Update: The ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer responds (via Spencer):

The CIA has already had more than five months to review the inspector general’s report, and the report is only about two hundred pages long. We’re increasingly troubled that the Obama administration is suppressing documents that would provide more evidence that the CIA’s interrogation program was both ineffective and illegal. President Obama should not allow the CIA to determine whether evidence of its own unlawful conduct should be made available to the public. The public has a right to know what took place in the CIA’s secret prisons and on whose authority. 

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  1. bobash says:

    So if Hellerstein says “no dice” and forces them to release it forthwith, will they simply release another mostly redacted version? What will Hellerstein’s response likely be? Give us the team’s insight as to what their calculus is. And thanks again for staying on top of this.

    • emptywheel says:

      Well, Hellerstein gave them until August 31 for everything–but it was based on the assumption of rolling production.

      So I think he’s got the ability to them to stop dicking around. And I do believe he thinks they’re dicking around.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        When they use reviewing document A as the excuse not to disclose B, then use the excuse that they are reviewing document B as the reason they can’t “yet” disclose document A, I’d agree, they’re Cheneying around.

        Whatever time limits Hellerstein gives them, they will abuse or go to the edge of abuse the same way a criminal defense lawyer would, which seems to be what they are. It’s clear that there’s a complete lack of good faith by the government in this process, a fact that hasn’t changed since Mr. Obama formally took control of the DoJ. Whatever the govt produces the first go round will need to be redone, if not more than once, because the redactions and incomplete disclosure still won’t pass the smell test.

        Hellerstein will need to set interim and final time limits with status conferences, with real penalties for failure to deliver, if he is actually intent on forcing production. And who wants to bet that the government’s strategy does not include appealing each appealable step to the Sup. Ct.?

        This is not open government, Mr. Obama, this is what Al Capone’s lawyers do to keep him out of the slammer.

        • bmaz says:

          Heh. Hey listen here now Earl, criminal defense lawyers are a lot more forthright and honest than this crew. Jeebus.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Well, there are the Sandy Sterns and bmaz’s, whom we’d all like to represent us when we’re in a pickle. There are the kind that Dick Cheney hires, and then leaves money on the nightstand when he’s through with them. And there are the guys and gals who can’t do much else, whom most of us get.

  2. Leen says:

    Is there anyway for the stalling to turn into an advantage or does it generally mean less information will be released?

  3. Mary says:

    I think you have to read the 7-2 and the 7-1 letters as a pair.

    In the 7-1 letter, DOJ says it is going to file a cross motion for summary judgement “as to certain documents of the Central Intelligence Agency”

    • Leen says:

      so 7-1 has to do with request of documents requested a while back and 7-2 has to do with more recent request of documents? Is that right?

      • Mary says:

        I don’t think so – but EW may know more. I read it as saying hey, on those docs we are ordered to produce – we are going to be asking for summary judgment on not having to produce some of them and want a few more days for that.

    • emptywheel says:

      I think the confusion is two-fold.

      First, the 7-1 docs aren’t matched. The gov one pertains to the Torture Tapes part of the FOIA. The ACLU one pertains to the IG Report.

      As to the 7/1 request for more time, I can’t find the ACLU motion for summary judgment, which was due 6/19. For the torture tapes, the sched is supposed to be:

      6/19: ACLU files for summary judgment on the stuff in the Vaughn index
      7/2: Gov responds
      7/17: ACLU responds
      7/31: Gov responds

      Here’s that order.

      • emptywheel says:

        Sorry. Make that three-fold.

        There’s the 4th motion for summary judgment that WAS briefed mid-June, which pertains to the redactions in the Bradbury memos. The ACLU wants CIA to unredact Jessen and Mitchell’s names, and the names of the detainees. That gov motion is now due 7/17, after an extension.

        But I still don’t know where ACLU motion for summary judgment in torture tapes is.

  4. timbo says:

    Gee, they seemed to move much quicker when it came to determining there was a legitimate reason for invading Iraq.

    Seriously, if this keeps up much longer, I wouldn’t blame any other country for holding our officials for war crimes trials. The evidence is there. And what evidence isn’t there is being held up with pedantic bureaucratic games like this. If the US Judiciary has any backbone left, they’ll hold the CIA in contempt…or, maybe they’ll just side with the unlawful and criminal regime that seems to be our two party state at this moment.

  5. Mary says:

    Of course, there’s always the chance they’re playing the Scheuer option – stalling in hopes the CIA can help bring about another mass murder of Americans and everyone will want government violence, randomly directly.

    • Palli says:

      The knowledge of potential traitorous actions could create these stalling procedures. The groundwork has been laid in public for high drama and disaster.

  6. alabama says:

    The CIA is turning this thing into a melodrama, or perhaps a vaudeville comedy–something theatrical, as in political theater of the sort that people might start to take an interest in. Is that such a Good Idea?

  7. MadDog says:

    It sure seems from my reading that the National Security bureaucratic weenies are winning the battle, and that the spines of the Obama Administration leadership are turning to political jello.

    • Leen says:

      they seemed to turn to jello immediately. The endless Obama statements on “moving forward, turning the page, this is now that was then” horseshit. Either they believe that “no one is above the law” or they do not.

      • MadDog says:

        Politicians as a class regularly exhibit one-way, forward-pointed, tunnel vision.

        If ever required to look back, one has to physically lift them up and turn them around. They then complain of dizziness and the further side-effect of total constipation.

        The effect on the public is about the same as trying to teach a pig to sing: An thankless effort with unintelligible results.

      • Synoia says:

        The endless Obama statements on “moving forward, turning the page, this is now that was then” horseshit.

        True. Becuase all law enorcement is retroactive (no prosecution without a crime). If we always looked forwaed, there would be no trials.

        Might try that excuse for my next speeding ticket…..might loose too.

  8. MadDog says:

    Totally OT – Jeff Stein of CQPolitics has an interesting 5 page story up:

    ‘Secret’ Rome Meeting Recounted by AIPAC Spy Case Figure

    …But this week, one of the participants, Franklin broke a yearslong public silence to discuss what happened in Rome.

    Or at least his version of events. Unfortunately, it hardly clears up the affair…

    …Senior White House national security adviser Stephen Hadley and his deputy, Zalmay Khalilzad, “were enthusiastic,” Ledeen told me. Pentagon officials Douglas Feith and Paul Wolfowitz , the deputy and undersecretary, respectively, of Defense, were also game, Franklin said.

    His immediate boss, William Luti, a former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney who headed Near East issues at Defense, put him on the team.

    “He said, ‘We’d like you to go on this mission,’” Franklin recalled in an interview. “Feith, Wolfowitz, they’re in favor of it.”

    Had anyone mentioned Ghorbanifar’s reputation as a con man extraordinaire? I asked Franklin. That the Iranian schemer was on the CIA’s burn list?

    “Yeah, I was told all that,” Franklin said. “But that’s not a reason not to meet someone. It doesn’t mean that everything a person” says is untrue…

    • perris says:

      notice the members of cheney’s original “team b”…the fake cia that cheney infiltrated into service so they could create false information, orignally put into place for undermining nixon’s treaty of detante

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Interesting. Did Franklin happen to mention whether or not his meeting had been specifically set up to avoid the CIA, DIA, or Dept of State from knowing about any of it? From McClatchy’s reliable Wolcott, “Did Iranian agents dupe Pentagon officials?” :

      The Senate committee also found that Pentagon officials concealed the contacts with Ghorbanifar from the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the State Department. Pentagon officials also provided Senate investigators with an inaccurate account of events and, with support from two unnamed officials in Cheney’s office, continued meeting with Ghorbanifar after contact with him was officially ordered to stop.

      • MadDog says:

        …Did Franklin happen to mention whether or not his meeting had been specifically set up to avoid the CIA, DIA, or Dept of State from knowing about any of it?

        According to Stein’s article, Franklin says:

        “I was advised not to go see Ghorbanifar by DIA,” (the Defense Intelligence Agency), he added. “I invited DIA to come, but they declined because there was a CIA no-contact order on Ghorbanifar.”

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Wow, that is weird.
          Who’s telling the truth?
          Without further details, I’m leaning heavily toward Wolcott.

          That’s just bizarre.

  9. perris says:

    marcy, I saw over at christies place a term I never heard used before, it is clearly pervasive in the totture community but it looks like we haven’t seen it yet, the term is used as if everyone has used it before in this context, notice my bold

    Once transferred to U.S. custody, Jawad was illegally rendered to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, where he was interrogated at least 11 times and subjected to beatings, forced into painful “stress positions,” deprived of sleep, forcibly hooded, placed in isolation, pushed down stairs, chained to a wall for prolonged periods and subjected to threats of death. The U.S. later transported Jawad to Guantánamo, where he was subjected to the notorious “frequent flyer” sleep deprivation program as well as the Survival Evasion Resistance Escape (SERE) interrogation methods recently denounced in a Senate Armed Services Committee Report. Eventually, Jawad tried to commit suicide in his cell by slamming his head repeatedly against the wall….

    “frequent flyer”…used in the context of “sleep deprivation”

    I also remember reading a report that recognizzed “hanging subjects to the ceiling naked”

    is THAT their idea of “frequent flyer”?

    this term needs to be explored

    • prostratedragon says:

      A “frequent flyer” is moved from cell to cell many times a day as yet another way to prevent adequate rest. I’ll try to find a ref …

      Update: Of course! Wikipedia.

      [sigh]

        • emptywheel says:

          The other way they’d keep people awake was by manacling their hands to keep them standing and awake–though in that case sleep deprivation is partly an excuse to use a stress position. That’s the one that has killed people, effectively crucifying them.

          • tjbs says:

            There was talk of 16 on /24 off meaning awake 16 hours, four hours sleep, then repeat.
            If this is done for ten days straight I bet you would be disoriented to say the least.

        • skdadl says:

          Well, I mean, it is, kind of — insidious, not to mention cruel and unusual. Khadr was given the frequent-flyer treatment at GTMO — his U.S. military defence attorney has been telling us that for at least a couple of years, probably longer.

      • perris says:

        Update: Of course! Wikipedia.

        [sigh]

        tee hee

        In tried to stay out of that conversation but you made me laugh right there

  10. arcadesproject says:

    There was this guy who was sentenced to hang for some crime, so he petitioned the king: Sire, if you commute my sentence, in one year’s time, I will teach your horse to talk. So one of condemned man’s fellow prisoners says, What’s that about? You know you can’t teach the king’s horse to talk. And the guy says, Yes, I know. But in a year’s time I might die. Or the king might die. Or the horse might talk.

    If the out-of-control-sadistic f*@#s at the CIA stall long enough, we might be hit by a meteorite. Or may we’ll all just kind of…forget.

  11. MadDog says:

    And more OT – From CREW:

    Crew Posts Additional Details Of The Missing White House Emails Released By Administration

    The White House defendants have released additional documents in CREW’s long-running lawsuit, CREW v. EOP, regarding the millions of emails that went missing from the Bush White House servers…

    …A significant portion of the documents are emails and spreadsheets prepared by the Office of Administration in 2005 and early 2006 as it discovered the missing emails and analyzed the scope of the problem…

    …Significantly, the documents include an analysis dated November 2007 – when CREW’s lawsuit was first filed – of the Office of Administration’s report of its findings. OAP00004640. These documents conclusively demonstrate that at the same time the Bush administration was publicly proclaiming there was no missing email problem, administration officials had in hand an internal analysis detailing just such a problem. More simply, the documents prove the administration lied….

    • emptywheel says:

      Yup, WO’s got a half-day start on you, and I’ve got a half-eyed few hour start!!

      There are some VERY interesting things in the new docs.

        • MadDog says:

          Googling around, I found this wee interesting bit:

          Search Team Technicians

          TEKsystems is looking for Search Team Technicians. You will be expected to utilize our Discovery Attender search software to search through archived .pst files at the request of White House General Counsel…

          …Responsibilities: The Search Team Technician shall be responsible for evaluating, conducting, and ensuring accurate and thorough delivery, of all email searches

          – Understand and follow all Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s)
          – Demonstrate effective utilization of the Discovery Attender search software
          – Demonstrate effective utilization of the CMDFI scanning software…

          …Date Posted: May 25, 2008

    • perris says:

      More simply, the documents prove the administration lied….

      I’m shocked!!!…SHOCKED I SAY!!!!

  12. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Although the Government has endeavored in good faith to complete the review of the Special Review Report first, as we have gone through the process, we have determined that prioritizing the Report is simply untenable.

    Although this is within the realm of possibility, it’s certainly not good P.R.
    Anyone figure out what these folks are getting per hour to review these docs? ‘Cause if they’re contractors… maybe they can drag it out till… 2012 at the soonest…?

    • susiedow says:

      What does Miller mean by “not combatants” in his statement? If they aren’t combatants, then what exactly were they?

      Page 23

      OTMO and Iraq are different. I have had a year and a half to look at GTMO. GTMO used standards, how to treat detainee that are not combatants, how to interrogate, and incentive based interrogations. GTMO was successful.

  13. JasonLeopold says:

    Unless you already got the news and I missed it so apologies in advance if you did

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    What else are we not getting to or focusing on owing to this Dickensian melodrama of a court case?

  15. WilliamOckham says:

    I’m really bummed that all they gave us before the holiday weekend was more excuses. One more of my predictions down the drain…

  16. Mary says:

    @21/223 – that helps a lot, thank you.

    @28, 31, 39, 42 – thanks for the links

    @55 – it means that they were unlawful non-combatants, ya know, unlawfully not combating, no, wait, that’s not quite right, um, lessee, they were …. Basically what it means is that no laws of war would allow for these guys to be picked up and held militarily bc they are not “combatants” (field of combat) and not soldiers or even members of the opposing forces, and the only way you get to them is to a) realize you have criminals (not warriors) and use criminal law conspiracy and money laundering and other avenues that are not unlawful acts under the laws of war and are not combatant acts under the laws of war, or b) pass the military commissions act and create US-centric rules of war that make both all combatants, all those who have ever had any kind of minimalistic contact with combatants (like the guy we are holding whose *contact* with al-qaeda was that he was tortured by them) grounds to kidnap, transport out of country and hold in depravity and oh yeah – anyone else anywhere in the world who is a non-combatant but who has no contact with any combatants but who someone in the Executive branch makes up crap about.

    IOW, they aren’t using “combatant” bc they can’t – far less than 10% of the GITMO population had anything to do with any combat operations. And they also aren’t “members” of al-Qaeda. And they also haven’t engaged in direct acts of belligerency against the US. So – they are civilians that they learned how to torture at GITMO, after first violating Article 147 to kidnap them out of country. It leaves them at a loss for any workable word to cover what they’ve done.

    @45 – I wonder if it is the IG report or perhaps the Arar case that has him more off the wall? IIRC, he was linked in with shipping Arar to torture and maybe with using the Khadr torture to get an affirmation that Arar was Al Qaeda and that case isn’t completely gone yet.

    • susiedow says:

      I more or less understand the legal justification of how declaring someone an “enemy combatant” allowed the United States to hold prisoners in GTMO.

      But I can’t wrap my mind around the legal rationale (however twisted) under which “not combatants” are held. I can’t think of anything that’s come to light so far that sufficiently explains it other than perhaps Obama’s recent forays into “preventative detention.”

      Am I missing something?