A federal judge in New York City on Wednesday denied for the second time the American Civil Liberties Union’s request for access to CIA documents about interrogation techniques, the Associated Press reported.
The ACLU has waged a three-year battle for the release of nearly 600 different documents from the CIA that describe the use of enhanced interrogation methods. Judge Alvin Hellerstein reviewed a sample of the documents in October and said he would defer to the judgment of the CIA. The ACLU asked Hellerstein to rehear the case because its attorneys had not been present during a portion of the CIA’s argument.
Hellerstein said after he heard arguments from CIA and ACLU attorneys on Wednesday that he had not changed his mind that releasing unredacted versions of the documents — the ACLU had previously obtained heavily redacted copies — was a decision best left to the CIA.
“I was not appointed to be the director of central intelligence,” Hellerstein said.
Hellerstein was reviewing the documents as part of an investigation into the destruction of 92 videos by the CIA that contained detainee interrogations. The Bush administration said the destruction was necessary to prevent the identities of interrogators from being revealed.
The ACLU says it plans to appeal the decision once Hellerstein releases his written ruling.