The CIA has turned down former Vice President Cheney's request to release memos he says would show waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques" produced valuable information that saved lives. CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano says an executive order signed by former President Bush forbids the agency from declassifying documents that are the subject of pending litigation, and the memos Cheney wants are the subject of two Freedom of Information Act lawsuits. "For that reason-and that reason only-CIA did not accept Mr. Cheney's request," Gamigliano said.
President Obama could overrule the agency, as he did a month ago when he cited "exceptional circumstances" and declassified four memos that detailed waterboarding and other interrogation techniques used on suspected terrorists. The Vice President and others objected to that release, saying it would tell terrorists what to prepare for. Days later, a Senate report concluded that the harsh techniques were not just used at the CIA's "secret prisons," but also in Iraq, Afghanistan and at the terrorist detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
In a Fox News Channel interview on April 20, the former Vice President criticized the release of the memos and said he was disturbed that "they didn't put out the memos that showed the success of the effort." Cheney revealed he had made a formal request that two additional memos be declassified and released. He accused the administration of "dismantling" the national security policies that had kept the country safe and said the interrogation techniques potentially saved "hundreds of thousands of lives."
President Obama has said the memos Cheney wants released do not prove the harsh techniques are effective. Wisconsin Democratic Senator Russ Feingold, a member of the Intelligence Committee who has seen the memos Mr. Cheney wants released, accused the former Vice President of "misleading the American people" by indicating that the memos show the harsh interrogation techniques were necessary.
Wendell Goler serves as a senior White House and foreign affairs correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC), joining the network in 1996.