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CIA to Obama: Keep interrogations secret

Is the agency urging secrecy to prevent embarrassing disclosures or to protect counterterrorism operations?

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President Obama makes remarks to CIA employees as CIA Director Leon Panetta (l.) listens at CIA Headquarters in McLean, Virginia in this April 20 file photo.

UPI/Newscom

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The CIA is pushing the Obama administration to maintain the secrecy of significant portions of a comprehensive internal account of the agency's interrogation program, according to two intelligence officials.

The officials say the CIA is urging the suppression of passages describing in graphic detail how the agency handled its detainees, arguing that the material could damage ongoing counterterrorism operations by laying bare sensitive intelligence procedures and methods.

The May 2004 report, prepared by the CIA's inspector general, is the most definitive official account to date of the agency's interrogation system. A heavily redacted version, consisting of a dozen or so paragraphs separated by heavy black boxes and lists of missing pages, was released in May 2008 in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.

After an ACLU appeal, the Obama administration promised in May to review the report, which consists of more than 100 pages of text and six appendixes of unknown length, and to produce by Friday any additional material that could be released.

CIA spokesman George Little said the agency "is reviewing the report to determine how much more of it can be declassified in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act."

An administration official said the CIA has not yet forwarded the document to the White House or the Justice Department for final review.

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