WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate's forthcoming report on the CIA's use of harsh interrogation techniques could add to the legal complications facing the long-delayed U.S. military tribunals of terrorist suspects at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
The Obama administration is removing or censoring national security secrets in the Senate report, a declassification process that will involve the Pentagon as well as spy agency officials. Two U.S. officials familiar with planning for the report's declassification said the Defense Department already has received copies of the still-secret summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report and expects to provide its own assessment of the material to White House and CIA officials.
A Pentagon official said concerns about any "compromise of intelligence sources and methods" was one of the key reasons for the Pentagon's role. All the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss publicly how the report was being reviewed.
Even limited disclosures from the Senate's 400-page summary on the CIA's harsh treatment of al-Qaida operatives in "black site" prisons abroad could further roil the military trials. The tribunals already have been plunged into new chaos with the disclosure last week of an FBI investigation into defense teams.
The declassification effort, ordered by President Barack Obama after the Senate panel approved releasing the summary earlier this month, could also add to pressure in federal courts from defense lawyers seeking access to all of the still-secret, 6,200-page Senate report, legal experts said.
Military prosecutors had hoped trials could begin next year for accused 9/11 terror mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other defendants. A separate trial for a suspect in the USS Cole bombing is expected later this year. But legal and logistical challenges posed by holding the trials at Guantanamo as well as other issues have drawn out the proceedings.