CIA’s Latest Vaughn Declarations, Working Thread

The CIA has released some new Vaughn Declaration documents in the ACLU’s torture FOIA. These documents relate to its communication with the OLC;

I’m keeping half an ear on HJC’s PATRIOT Act hearing at the moment, then will need to head to the CGI event.  So I won’t be able to look at them until later. 

In the meantime, however, consider this a working thread.

Update: Here’s the Vaughn Index from 2007 that Barron discusses in his declaration.

21 replies
  1. bobschacht says:

    Thanks, EW! Have a great time at the CGI event, and please give us a report!
    Also when you have time, I’ll be interested to hear your take on the HJC hearings. Today is moving day, so I’ll be in and out.

    Bob in AZ

  2. Garrett says:

    A quick judgment about the Barron declaration worth looking into: earlier representations justifying delays (we couldn’t release the IG report without cross checking it against the other documents, and we couldn’t release documents because of x and y and z) seem to have become “we lost track of what documents were what, but didn’t bother to say so?” I’m not sure which documents sets are what, when I say this.

  3. Garrett says:

    #31. Memorialization of conversations between current and former DOJ attorneys about previous legal advice. By date, likely a “Legal Principles” conversation or withdrawn opinions.

  4. Mary says:

    Geez freakin louise. I’ve never seen anything like that Barron declaration. I couldn’t get past #11 right now – I’ll come back to it later, but I don’t see how anyone files that and holds their head up. And what – the story for the court is – “um the lawyers who worked on this before are gone, and we don’t know ass from backass, so, um, oh well?

    Those lawyers that are “gone” aren’t “gone” from their duty to the court and they sure aren’t unavailable. It’s a small group and some court needs to haul their asses back before it. I haven’t kept up with the history on these ACLU requests and maybe Barron even gets into this after 11, but why was USA’s office of the Sov Dist. NY involved?

  5. Garrett says:

    OK, they did admit it, on August 28.

    We make this request to allow OLC an opportunity to conduct a final search of its Sensitve Compartmented Information Facility (”SCIF”)… While recompiling the set, OLC has encountered difficulties matching a few documents with entries on the original Vaughn index.

    I’m not sure that they admit it the other way around, they were also scrambling to match entries on the original Vaughn index to documents.

    The delay request was signed by SDNY attorneys.

  6. maryo2 says:

    Barron declaration page 17 of 18, paragraphs 40 and 41:

    “Presidential Communicatipons Privilege
    40. Document 174 was released on August 24, 2009 with certain redactions, including the redaction of a sentence (on page 2 and repeated on page 3 of the document) that summarizes a pre-decisional deliberative communication between presidential advisers relating to a possible presidential decision. OLC continues to assert Exemption Five with respect to that redacted sentence, which is protected by the deliberative process and presidential communications privilege.

    41. The presidential communications privilege protects confidential communications that relate to possible presidential decisionmaking ad that involve the President or his senior advisers. It is not limited to exchanges directly involving the President ; it protects communications between presidential advisers made in the course of formulating advice or recommendations for the President. The privilege protects such communications in order to ensure that the president’s advisers may fully explore options and provide appropriate advice to the President without concerns about compelled disclosure.”

    First bold, what does that twice-redacted sentence say?
    Second bold, is this cover for the OVP?

  7. WilliamOckham says:

    In paragraph 30 of the Barron declaration, he mentions, in an ‘oh, by the way’ tone, that they found over 200 potentially responsive documents not previously identified by OLC. They sent 168 documents to the CIA for processing and 56 to DOD.

    • JimWhite says:

      In paragraph 30 of the Barron declaration, he mentions, in an ‘oh, by the way’ tone, that they found over 200 potentially responsive documents not previously identified by OLC. They sent 168 documents to the CIA for processing and 56 to DOD.

      Is it possible that someone actually got access to a particular man-sized safe? Wouldn’t Cheney spend 3X as much paper on CIA than DoD since he had many more of his minions inside DoD? [Funny how the docs split precisely 3:1, isn’t it?]

      • WilliamOckham says:

        These are from the two safes in the OLC’s SCIF (Secure Compartmentalized Information Facility). So, not from that man-sized safe…

  8. Garrett says:

    August 28

    They need more time to conduct a final search.

    September 21, Barron declaration

    30. As a result of those additional search efforts [big snip] OLC anticipates that the government will file a supplemental Vaughn index.

    That is, they still need more time.

  9. WilliamOckham says:

    Hey, take a look at the description of Document 63 in the current Vaughn index. It’s from the EOP to OLC. Now, look at the description in the 2007 Vaughn Index. the number of pages don’t match. Normally, I would assume there was a typo in the original index, but, if the shoe were on the other foot, the government would certainly accuse a defendant of destroying evidence if this happened.

  10. maryo2 says:

    Barron declaration page 14 of 18, topmost sentence:

    OLC is also continuing partially to withhold documents 89 and 174 pursuant to Exemption Five.

    Vaugh Index page 119 of 226:

    ACLU OLC Remand
    Document Number: 89
    Date of Document 09/xx/2004
    Document Type: Memo
    Classification: Top Secret, SCI
    From/To: DOJ/DOJ
    Subject: Draft memo providing legal advice
    Document pages: 3

    FOIA Exemptions: b1, b3, b5

    Dispostion: Partial Release

    Document Description: This is a three-page draft memo, from OLC, that provides an update on the status of interrogation advice. This document contains pre-decisional and CIA attorney-work-product information. The document also contains information related to classified intelligence operations, sources, and methods.

    • maryo2 says:

      Torture Timeline says –
      July 20, 2004: CIA requests new legal advice from OLC (13 page letter).

      So Document 89 (3 pages) “provides an update on the status of interrogation advice” sometime in September.

      Then on October 4, the OLC sends Document 90 – 4 pages, with handwritten marginalia, regarding application of international law , as it relates to detainees. (So this is their attempt to rationalize that the UN CAT does not apply.)

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