Appeals Court Declines to Release Full 'Senate Torture Report'

PHOTO: A workman slides a mop over the floor at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Va, March 3, 2005. J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo
A workman slides a mop over the floor at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Va, March 3, 2005.

The D.C Circuit Court today ruled against releasing the entire contents of the so-called “Senate torture report,” which describes the Central Intelligence Agency’s controversial post-9/11 interrogation and detention program.

A three-judge panel decided unanimously to deny a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union under the Freedom of Information Act requesting release of the 6,000-plus page investigative report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

A 500-page executive summary of the report made public in December 2014 detailed the CIA’s use of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” such as waterboarding and stress positions, and the use of secret prisons abroad.

But the ACLU’s FOIA request for access to the full report raised legal questions about whether the document was subject to disclosure, which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit answered today in favor of the government.

Judge Harry Edwards, writing on behalf of the panel, concluded the full document should be shielded from publication.

“On the record before us, the Senate Committee’s intent to retain control of the Full Report is clear,” Judge Edwards wrote. “The Full Report therefore remains a congressional document that is not subject to disclosure under FOIA.”

Hina Shamsi, the director ACLU’s National Security Project who argued the case, expressed disappointment over the court’s ruling.

“This decision has the disappointing result of keeping the full truth about the CIA torture program from the American public, and we’re considering our options for appeal,” she said in a statement to ABC News.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, the vice chair of Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who had previously voiced support for releasing of the full report, responded to today’s ruling.

“Now that this case is resolved, I again call on the administration to allow appropriate, cleared individuals to have full access to the study and for the National Archives to fulfill its obligation to preserve this document,” Feinstein said in a statement to ABC News.

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