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.
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 at http://ccrjustice.org/GhostFOIA.
For more information or copies of legal filings in the case and released documents, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the organizations involved, please see their websites: www.ccrjustice.org, www.chrgj.org, and www.amnestyusa.org.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.