USA: Rights groups urge Congress not to block disclosure of details about CIA rendition, secret detention, and torture

Press Release
January 7, 2010

USA: Rights groups urge Congress not to block disclosure of details about CIA rendition, secret detention, and torture

For Immediate Release
January 7, 2010

Contact:
Jen Nessel, CCR, 212 614 6449, jnessel@ccrjustice.org
Veerle Opgenhaffen, NYU CHRGJ, 212 992 8186, opgenhaffen@exchange.law.nyu.edu
Sharon Singh, AIUSA, 202 544 0200 x 289, ssingh@aiusa.org

Rights Groups Urge Congress Not to Block Disclosure of Details about CIA Rendition, Secret Detention, and Torture Express Concerns about Congressional Involvement in FOIA Case against CIA

(January 7, 2010, New York and Washington DC) – Congress should not prevent disclosure of its knowledge and oversight of the CIA's use of rendition, secret detention, and torture, three leading human rights groups urged today. The groups – Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at NYU School of Law – expressed concern after a federal court granted the government more time to consult with Congress about CIA records sought in the groups' Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation.

"These records purport to describe the CIA's notifications and briefings to Congress about U.S. rendition, secret detention, and torture," stated CCR attorney, Gitanjali Gutierrez, speaking on behalf of the groups. "Congress should promote full disclosure of information about whether or not it exercised appropriate oversight authority and its involvement with torture and secret prisons. The American public deserves to know whether political leaders were keeping the CIA in check or actually encouraging the agency’s shocking acts."

The court has granted the government more time to consult with Congress about the ten records, a process the government describes as being "unexpectedly complex." The records include 26 pages of charts related to prior congressional notifications and briefings, summaries of briefings to and closed hearings before Congress, and memoranda describing meetings of senior officials.

Background
The 2007 lawsuit is based on administrative FOIA requests dating back to 2004 filed by AIUSA, CCR, and CHRJG with several U.S. government agencies – including the CIA, the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of State (DOS), the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security – seeking records about secret detention, "enhanced" interrogation, and rendition. Morrison & Foerster LLP serves as co-counsel in the case.

To see the most recent documents released from the CIA, DOD, and DOS, as well as the prior filings and other documents previously released through this litigation, visit CCR's Freedom of Information Act page.

For more information or copies of legal filings in the case and released documents, please contact jnessel@ccrjustice.org, opgenhaffen@exchange.law.nyu.edu, or ssingh@aiusa.org.

For more information about the organizations involved, please see their websites: www.ccrjustice.org, www.chrgj.org, and www.amnestyusa.org.