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Judge says CIA can cover up destruction of interrogation tapes

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NEW YORK — A judge cited national security concerns in ruling Wednesday that the CIA does not have to release hundreds of documents related to the destruction of videotapes of Sept. 11 detainee interrogations that used harsh methods.

U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein said he believed he had an obligation to let the CIA director decide what should be released when it pertains to methods used to make uncooperative detainees divulge information.

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“The need to keep confidential just how the CIA and other government agencies obtained their information is manifest, and that has to do with the identities of the people who gave information and who were questioned to obtain information,” the judge said from the bench.

He ruled after reviewing in private 65 of roughly 580 documents sought by the American Civil Liberties Union, including 53 field reports to CIA headquarters about interrogations.

An ACLU lawsuit already has forced the release of legal memos authorizing harsh methods, including waterboarding, a type of simulated drowning, and slamming suspects into walls, techniques described by critics as torture.

The judge said he expects to order the release of six pages of written notes from a CIA field officer who spoke about the interrogation videotapes with a CIA lawyer, but he gave the government two weeks to submit new arguments opposing the release.

He said it was only important that he decide whether the issue before him was a fit subject for intelligence gathering, not whether it was legal.

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“If so, my job is to defer to the extent appropriate — and that is substantial — to the decision of the director of the CIA,” he said.

CIA Director Leon Panetta had told the judge in court papers that releasing documents about the agency’s terror interrogations would gravely damage national security.

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Internet disgusted after Erdoğan makes Trump and GOP senators watch propaganda video in the Oval Office

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On Thursday, Axios reported that during a reception at the Oval Office, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan — who has come under international scrutiny for his brutal treatment of Kurdish freedom fighters — whipped out his iPad and made President Donald Trump and several GOP senators watch a video describing Kurds as terrorists.

Commenters on social media were quick to excoriate the president for allowing a notorious strongman to bring propaganda into the White House and make U.S. officials watch it on his personal tablet:

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Trump has fought not releasing his tax returns all the way to the US Supreme Court

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Critics of President Donald Trump welcomed a federal appeals court's decision Wednesday to let stand an earlier ruling affirming the authority of Congress to seek Trump's tax records, which sets up a potential review of the case by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In an 8-3 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit declined to review an October ruling by a three-judge appeals court panel that rejected Trump's effort to block a subpoena that the Democrat-controlled U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee sent to his accounting firm, Mazars USA, earlier this year.

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‘OK, Billionaire’: Elizabeth Warren campaign shrugs off mega-rich investor who called 2020 candidate ‘disgraceful’

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren was unfazed by billionaire investor Leon Cooperman's objection to her latest ad promoting her proposed wealth tax in which the 2020 Democratic candidate ridiculed Cooperman's and other wealthy public figures' disapproval of the plan.

In a CNBC interview Wednesday, Cooperman called Warren "disgraceful" and accused the Massachusetts Democrat of trying to "demonize wealthy people because there are more poor people than wealthy people."

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