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Cheney Plans to Continue to Manufacture Intelligence

By now you’ve heard Cheney’s claim that he asked the CIA to declassify all the great intelligence we got from waterboarding and Greg Sargent’s earlier report that Cheney hadn’t asked the CIA directly for those documents.

Greg Sargent has an update that explains how the former Fourth Branch intends to get them, now that he’s a withering vine.

 That whole question of whether Dick Cheney asked the CIA to declassify and release intelligence supposedly proving that the torture worked? Turns out Cheney made the request through the National Archives, a spokesperson for the archives confirms.

That means that we may, in fact, see the documents that Cheney claims will demonstrate that the Bush torture program collected a whole bunch of useful intelligence, though it may take awhile.

National Archives spokesperson Susan Cooper confirms that Cheney did submit a request for unspecified documents on March 31st. Cooper said that the National Archives had asked the relevant agency — she wouldn’t say which one, but there’s little reason to doubt that it’s the CIA — for the relevant documents this morning.

Cooper confirmed that the docs Cheney asked for were in fact classified. Keep in mind we have no way of knowing what Cheney actually asked for or whether they really say what Cheney claims. It’s now up to the CIA to make the determination whether to declassify the docs Cheney wants. So this could get very, very interesting in various ways.

Remember why Cheney and the National Archives have been in the news of late–the report that, contrary to plan, Cheney decided to keep all his materials at the Archives rather than send them to Dallas to put in Bush’s Library. He needs the materials close, you see, so he can access them for his memoirs.

Now, the date of Cheney’s request for CIA documents–March 31, well before it was clear whether the OLC memos would be declassified–suggests Cheney’s request has everything to do with his memoirs and nothing to do with the release of the OLC memos.

So Cheney’s call to declassify these documents has nothing to do with a real debate about the torture. It is Cheney’s attempt to use those documents to continue creating a myth that his torture did anything to keep this country safe.

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Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.