CIA reviewing ex-employee book policy

June 1, 2012 at 12:32 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is vetting the panel that vets books by former employees to determine whether they reveal agency secrets, officials say.

The Publications Review Board is supposed to focus only on security issues. But officials told The Washington Post there is concern it is being used to keep criticism from coming to light.

The agency would not comment.

Ali Soufan, a former FBI agent involved in questioning CIA prisoners, told the Post the CIA forced him to remove information that came from testimony at public hearings. He said the book, "The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda," which questions CIA interrogation techniques, had already been cleared by the FBI.

The book was published with black marks to show where material had been removed.

"Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives," by Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., the former head of the clandestine service, appears to have been less heavily redacted. Rodriguez defended measures some critics say are torture.

Bill Harlow, a former CIA spokesman who co-wrote the Rodriguez book, said it was heavily vetted and "several large chunks" were excised. Soufan said Rodriguez was able to talk about interrogations in detail.

"Absolutely there are things that he was able to talk about that were redacted from my book," Soufan said. "I think it has more to do with trying to protect a narrative rather than protecting classified information."

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