Obama May Keep CIA Torture Memos Classified

Bush-era docs give OK for waterboarding
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2009 12:08 PM CDT
President Barack Obama says that the U.S. will seek to halt the increasing threat of piracy off the Horn of Africa Monday, April 13, 2009.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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(Newser) – The Obama administration faces a tough call on whether to declassify Bush-era Justice Department memos that outline harsh CIA interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, the Wall Street Journal reports. The president is still reviewing internal arguments but is leaning toward keeping the most sensitive documents classified, insiders say.

No matter what, previously secret memos written by Eric Holder in 2005 detailing the legal justification for harsh interrogations will be declassified, officials say. The CIA has argued for secrecy because it fears al-Qaeda could use the tactics as a propaganda tool, and Obama risks alienating the rank-and-file spooks if he crosses them. The Justice Department, however, contends that it shouldn’t have to defend techniques the new administration has renounced.