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POLITICS: PennAve

White House withheld documents from Senate torture probe

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Politics,White House,Brian Hughes,Barack Obama,Senate,CIA,PennAve,Jay Carney,Spying,Law,Executive Privilege

White House press secretary Jay Carney confirmed Thursday that the Obama administration withheld a “tiny percentage” of documents from a Senate investigation into torture practices, citing “executive branch confidentiality issues.”

The administration chose not to turn over 9,000 documents to the Senate Intelligence Committee, McClatchy first reported.

Carney on Thursday did not confirm nor deny the figure but conceded that the White House had not given everything requested by a Senate panel probing torture by U.S. forces under President George W. Bush.

President Obama's top spokesman noted that the information in question applied only to the previous administration, but said it was crucial to protect the internal conversations between executive-branch officials.

And Carney emphasized that more than 6 million pages of documents had been shared with the Senate panel.

“All components of the executive branch have cooperated with the committee,” Carney insisted, calling White House efforts “unprecedented.”

About the withheld pages, Carney added, “It’s really small.”

Obama on Wednesday refused to take sides in an escalating spat between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Senate over whether the agency spied on staffers conducting the torture investigation.

“With respect to the issues that are going back and forth between the Senate committee and the CIA, [agency director] John Brennan has referred them to the appropriate authorities and they are looking into it and that's not something that is an appropriate role for me and the White House to wade into at this point,” Obama said.

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