[JURIST] Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] Leon Panetta [official profile] said Monday that the release of agency documents describing detainee interrogations would damage national security [affidavit, PDF]. In an affidavit filed with the US District Court for the Southern District of New York [official website], Panetta said that the release of CIA records would be more inflammatory than Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] memos [JURIST report] authorizing enhanced interrogation techniques [JURIST news archive] because they pertain to actual interrogations, whereas the memos were purely theoretical. Panetta also defended the destruction of 92 videotapes [JURIST news archive] of terrorism suspect interrogations, and the classification of records about the tapes, because their disclosure would implicate sources and methods of gathering intelligence.
Panetta filed the affidavit in connection with a lawsuit [ACLU materials] brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] in 2003 seeking the disclosure of all information related to detainees held overseas by the United States under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [text]. Last month, US President Barack Obama defended his decision [JURIST reports] not to disclose Department of Defense (DOD) [official website] photographs and other documents related to detainee treatment. The ACLU's suit has resulted in the release of numerous government documents, including redacted memos [text, PDF; text, PDF; text, PDF; text, PDF], authored by the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) [official website], which provided the legal rational for CIA interrogation techniques.