Image: Cheney
Pablo Martinez Monsivais  /  AP
Former Vice President Dick Cheney in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, May 10.
NBC News and news services
updated 5/14/2009 5:11:15 PM ET 2009-05-14T21:11:15

The CIA says it has denied a request by former Vice President Dick Cheney to declassify secret internal government memos that detail whether valuable intelligence was gained from the use of harsh interrogation techniques under the Bush administration.

CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said Thursday that the request was turned down because the documents are the subject of pending litigation — making them not subject to declassification.

"For that reason — and that reason only — CIA did not accept Mr. Cheney's request for a Mandatory Declassification Review," said Gimigliano.

"The Agency simply followed the Executive Order. This request was handled in accordance with normal practice by CIA professionals with long experience in information management and release. It was for them a straightforward issue."

Cheney says the documents show that the tactics prevented terrorist attacks and saved lives, contrary to the Obama administration's criticism of the Bush-era policies.

Cheney had made his request on March 31.

NBC's Pete Williams and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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