CIA detentions too secret to be ‘top secret’

The Bush Administration has limited congressional oversight of CIA detentions to briefings for the ranking Republican and Democrat members on each of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. “Some Democratic members of Congress say the restrictions are impeding effective oversight of the secret program, which is run by the Central Intelligence Agency and is believed to involve the detention of about three dozen senior Qaeda leaders at secret sites around the world.”

The CIA apparently fears that if locations of its secret facilities–where torture is likely used–are disclosed, the host governments would force the CIA to shut them down. “Since the detention program was established in 2002, the officials said, the C.I.A. detention effort has been classified as a ‘special access program,’ a category that puts it off limits even to most of those with top secret security clearances. In general, such restrictions have been applied only to covert operations and ongoing espionage investigations, Congressional officials say.”

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