UK intelligence agencies requested redactions to the US Senate Intelligence Committee's torture report, a senior parliamentary committee has confirmed. But the redactions requested were "directly related to national security interests" and did not concern alleged UK complicity in the mistreatment of detainees, according to the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC).
The torture report — its redacted 499-page executive summary was released in December — found that the CIA had misled the White House and public about both the treatment of detainees in its post-9/11 detention and interrogation program, and the effectiveness of the program.
At the time of the release, Britain admitted that its intelligence agencies had made requests for redactions to parts of the summary on the grounds of national security. Today's finding by parliament confirms this, but it does not have "any bearing on the more critical question of any complicity by the UK security and intelligence agencies in the mistreatment of detainees," the ISC said today in a statement.
The nine-member committee said that it had reviewed UK spy agencies' requests for redactions and could "confirm that all were directly related to national security interests."
Additional redactions relating to UK intelligence material were also proposed by the CIA and agreed to by British authorities.
"From the evidence we have seen, the CIA proposals related directly to national security interests, and the UK agencies did not request any additional redactions to these documents," the statement said. "However that evidence is limited."
The British government has faced repeated accusations that the UK was complicit in the mistreatment of detainees related to the global war on terror after 9/11.
Last year, Al Jazeera America reported that the torture report would confirm that Diego Garcia was used for extraordinary rendition "with the full cooperation" of the British government. However, the redacted executive summary was released with no mention of the atoll. Last month, senior Bush administration official Lawrence Wilkerson told VICE News that interrogations had taken place on the British territory of Diego Garcia. He said that it would have been "difficult" for British personnel on the island not to know.
"This [ISC] statement raises more questions than it answers," Donald Campbell, a spokesman for human rights NGO Reprieve, told VICE News. "The ISC clearly states that its conclusions are based only on 'the evidence we have seen and heard,' and that that evidence is 'limited.' Unless the requests for redactions were put in writing and kept in the agencies' files, then the ISC will obviously not have been able to see them."
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