Redactions

Redactions

I am presently reading through the torture memos that the Obama administration released today. I will comment on them when I have had a chance to work through and digest them. I do want to say one thing now, though.

Yesterday, various news outlets began reporting that these memos would be released. The fight seemed to be about how heavily they would be redacted. From the WSJ:

“The Obama administration is leaning toward keeping secret some graphic details of tactics allowed in Central Intelligence Agency interrogations, despite a push by some top officials to make the information public, according to people familiar with the discussions. (…)

Under one option, the outlines of which were described by current and former government officials close to the discussions, the administration would ask a judge to keep secret large parts of the Bradbury memos. Two of the memos contain particularly explicit details of methods and describe combinations of tactics that were deemed to fall within the bounds of the Geneva Convention on torture, according to people who have read them.

Two or three proposals that would reveal varying degrees of detail contained in the memos about the CIA program are before the president, another senior administration official said.”

As Steve noted, the memos are not heavily redacted at all. I skimmed through them looking for redacted bits; most of them are very short redactions — names, or things like: “as the CIA informed us in [REDACTED]”, where the redaction is less than a line. These are perfectly defensible redactions. The number that are longer than that is very small. (I count eleven, none in the Bradbury “Techniques” memos discussed in the WSJ piece.)

On this one, the right side won.