Inside Politics

Detainee Document Hunt: The Curious Case of the Redacted Redactions

So we've been hard at work going through the comments, tweets and emails that have been streaming into the Inside Politics mailboxen since we posted the latest batch of detainee-related documents and invited our readers -- and everyone else -- to take part in our first official crowdsourcing challenge. 

We're still working our way through your observations, and we'll be posting more of your discoveries in the days ahead, but we figured that we may as well share one of the more intriguing irregularities to surface so far. 

In response to our request, reader Attentive pointed out, via the comment thread, that, despite the fact that many of the documents contained in COLVIN43 had previously been tabled at committee -- and submitted to the Military Police Complaints Commission -- last year, several of the emails in the latest batch appear to be considerably less redacted than in the original submission. 

Here, for instance, is the version of KBGR0018 that the committee received last December: 
kbgr0118-colvin  
 
Here's what was tabled in the House last week: Kbgr0118 House
In the original filing, the last two points were virtually entirely blacked out by the Attorney General's office, but in the version submitted last week, both are left largely intact. 

 Attentive also flagged KBGR0121, which seems to be an even more dramatic example of a lighter hand operating the black marker. Here's the original version, as filed before committee and the MPCC last December: kbgr0121-colvin  

 Here's what the government tabled in the House last week. Just a reminder, this is the very same document, but you wouldn't know it if you were going by the blackout pattern: Kbgr0121 House

So, what are we to make of this this marked difference in document markup?  At the very least, it seem to suggest that those public servants that the Attorney General keeps assuring us are entirely responsible for redaction-related decisions may have more discretion than we thought when it comes to deciding exactly what information should be protected from the prying eyes of the public -- or, for that matter, parliamentarians. 

Anyway, keep those tips coming -- and we'll keep you updated on the results. Remember, you can read the documents from the comfort of your browser right here, or, if you prefer, you can download the PDFs here
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