Records about the US Navy Seals' raid on Osama bin Laden's hideout were ordered to be purged from Pentagon computers and sent to the CIA - where they could be more easily shielded from ever being made public.
A draft report by the Pentagon's inspector-general briefly described the secret move, which was directed by the top US special operations commander, Admiral William McRaven.
The transfer did not set off alarms within the Obama administration even though it appears to have sidestepped rules governing federal records and circumvented the Freedom of Information Act.
President Barack Obama has pledged to make his administration the most transparent in US history.
The CIA said the documents were handled in a manner consistent with the fact that the operation was conducted under the CIA's direction.
COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? email@example.com