WASHINGTON, March 21 – The Justice Department on Monday released an F.B.I. memorandum dated May 10, 2004, in which departmental lawyers dismissed intelligence obtained by coercive methods used by the military at GuantÃ¡namo Bay, Cuba, as “suspect at best.” The existence of the memorandum has been known for months. But when it was first made public by the government, the memorandum was released in heavily edited form, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the American Civil Liberties Union.
In February, Senator Carl Levin, Democrat of Michigan, asked the Justice Department to restore the deleted parts of the document after confirmation hearings on Michael Chertoff’s nomination to be secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. “The facts related to interrogation practices used against some detainees are slowly being forced to the surface, and we will keep pushing for more,” Mr. Levin said in a statement in which he referred to the Department of Defense as D.O.D. “Today we were able to obtain some information that had previously been blacked out in an F.B.I. document critical of D.O.D. interrogation practices.
As I suspected, the previously withheld information had nothing to do with protecting intelligence sources or methods, and everything to do with protecting D.O.D. from embarrassment.” Mr. Chertoff said at his confirmation hearing that he did not engage in detailed discussions of interrogation policies and never offered specific advice when he headed the criminal division at the Justice Department from 2001 to 2003, when he left the department to take an appointment to a federal appeals court.