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Primary Sources: DOJ Says Senate Report on CIA Interrogation to Be Released 'Early Next Week'

After two years of arguing with the CIA and White House over what can and cannot be included in the report, the Senate is set to release it Monday.

by Jason Leopold
Dec 4 2014, 8:50pm

Photo via Flickr

Read more from Primary Sources: The VICE News FOIA Blog.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) provided the first official confirmation on Thursday that a long-awaited report prepared by the Senate Intelligence Committee on the CIA's enhanced interrogation program will be released "early next week."

The disclosure was made in a three-page court document DOJ filed in US District Court in Washington, DC in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit VICE News filed last year for a copy of the Senate report's 500-page executive summary. The government was expected to file a motion for summary judgment in the FOIA matter Friday, arguing that the executive summary (and other documents VICE News requested) is not an "agency" record but instead is a "congressional record" exempt under the FOIA.

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Vesper Mei, a senior DOJ attorney in civil division, said in the court filing, "the government anticipates that [Senate Select Committee on Intelligence] will publicly release the Executive Summary early next week. Rather than filing a summary judgment motion on December 5 that may be out of date the very next week, the government respectfully seeks this short three-day extension."

On Wednesday, VICE News learned that according to Mei, the Senate will release the executive summary on Monday. 

Senator Dianne Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the committee's five-year study of the CIA's controversial interrogation program is "one of the most significant oversight efforts in the history of the United States Senate, and by far the most important oversight activity ever conducted by this committee."

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VICE News reported last month that the Senate report promotes the narrative that the CIA deceived the Bush White House into permitting the agency to use the controversial interrogation techniques against certain captives.

The report reviewed the cases of 20 high-value detainees who were interrogated at secret black site prisons in Europe and concluded that in all 20 cases, the program was ineffective and the intelligence gleaned from detainees who were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques was neither "unique" nor "valuable." In a handful of those cases, the Senate concluded that the CIA was more brutal than was previously known.

The CIA will issue a 120-page response to the Senate's executive summary and Republicans will release a separate response to the Senate's findings and conclusions.

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According to sources knowledgeable about the CIA's response, the agency will cast doubt on the committee's efficacy argument and reignite the debate over intelligence the agency maintains was instrumental in pinpointing the location of Osama bin Laden.

Release of the $40 million report, which relied on FBI records and 6 million pages of highly classified CIA documents about the program, has been delayed numerous times due to disagreements between the Senate, the CIA and the White House over certain redactions and the use of pseudonyms to identify CIA officials and contractors. 

Follow Jason Leopold on Twitter: @JasonLeopold

Read more from Primary Sources: The VICE News FOIA Blog.

Photo via Flickr