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Old 12-07-2007, 05:31 PM   #1
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CIA Destroyed Tapes of Interrogation

breathtaking. why aren't we talking about it?

[q]C.I.A. Destroyed Tapes of Interrogations
By MARK MAZZETTI

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 — The Central Intelligence Agency in 2005 destroyed at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two Al Qaeda operatives in the agency’s custody, a step it took in the midst of Congressional and legal scrutiny about the C.I.A’s secret detention program, according to current and former government officials.

The videotapes showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terror suspects — including Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in C.I.A. custody — to severe interrogation techniques. They were destroyed in part because officers were concerned that tapes documenting controversial interrogation methods could expose agency officials to greater risk of legal jeopardy, several officials said.

The C.I.A. said today that the decision to destroy the tapes had been made “within the C.I.A. itself,” and they were destroyed to protect the safety of undercover officers and because they no longer had intelligence value. The agency was headed at the time by Porter J. Goss. Through a spokeswoman, Mr. Goss declined this afternoon to comment on the destruction of the tapes.

The existence and subsequent destruction of the tapes are likely to reignite the debate over the use of severe interrogation techniques on terror suspects, and their destruction raises questions about whether C.I.A. officials withheld information about aspects of the program from the courts and from the Sept. 11 commission appointed by President Bush and Congress. It was not clear who within the C.I.A. authorized the destruction of the tapes, but current and former government officials said it had been approved at the highest levels of the agency.

The New York Times informed the C.I.A. on Wednesday evening that it planned to publish an article in Friday’s newspaper about the destruction of the tapes. Today, the C.I.A. director, General Michael V. Hayden, wrote a letter to the agency workforce explaining the matter.

The recordings were not provided to a federal court hearing the case of the terror suspect Zacarias Moussaoui or to the Sept. 11 commission, which had made formal requests to the C.I.A. for transcripts and any other documentary evidence taken from interrogations of agency prisoners.

C.I.A. lawyers told federal prosecutors in 2003 and 2005, who relayed the information to a federal court in the Moussaoui case, that the C.I.A. did not possess recordings of interrogations sought by the judge in the case. It was unclear whether the judge had explicitly sought the videotape depicting the interrogation of Mr. Zubaydah.

Mr. Moussaoui’s lawyers had hoped that records of the interrogations might provide exculpatory evidence for Mr. Moussaoui — showing that the Al Qaeda detainees did not know Mr. Moussaoui and clearing him of involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001, plot.

General Hayden’s statement said that the tapes posed a “serious security risk,” and that if they were to become public they would have exposed C.I.A. officials “and their families to retaliation from Al Qaeda and its sympathizers.”

“What matters here is that it was done in line with the law,” he said. He said in his statement that he was informing agency employees because “the press has learned” about the destruction of the tapes.

General Hayden said in a statement that leaders of Congressional oversight committees were fully briefed on the matter, but some Congressional officials said notification to Congress had not been adequate.

“This is a matter that should have been briefed to the full Intelligence Committee at the time,” an official with the House Intelligence Committee said. “This does not appear to have been done. There may be a very logical reason for destroying records that are no longer needed; however, this requires a more complete explanation. “

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Old 12-07-2007, 05:38 PM   #2
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Well are we really that suprised? The CIA has always considered itself above the law. I'm will to bet that the skeletons they have would make even the strongest of stomachs turn...
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Old 12-07-2007, 07:07 PM   #3
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General Hayden’s statement said that the tapes posed a “serious security risk,” and that if they were to become public they would have exposed C.I.A. officials “and their families to retaliation from Al Qaeda and its sympathizers.”
...er...that shouldn't be that big a problem, should it? One would think our security system is tight enough that the chances of that happening are, at the very least, pretty slim. You don't necessarily need to destroy them to keep that from happening.

(I do find it funny that they bring up the concerns about exposing C.I.A. officials...Valerie Plame, anyone?)

Anywho, yeah, definitely something that, if I were a news organization, I'd be discussing and investigating. Their reasons for destroying the tapes seem rather flimsy.

Angela
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Old 12-07-2007, 08:47 PM   #4
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Waterboardin' USA
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:01 PM   #5
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What I don't understand is the lack of outrage on college campuses over all the abuses by this criminal administration


It's bedtime for democracy, people
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:16 PM   #6
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the tapes were destroyed not to protect CIA agents, but to protect the Saudis.

discuss.

(you know, it might all be even worse than we imagined)
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:42 PM   #7
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(you know, it might all be even worse than we imagined)

I think it's always worse than we can imagine.



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Old 12-07-2007, 09:54 PM   #8
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Originally posted by hardyharhar
What I don't understand is the lack of outrage on college campuses over all the abuses by this criminal administration


It's bedtime for democracy, people
. Well, hey, people have tried in previous years, but they were told to shut up and support the administration and were generally dismissed as "loons". So a lot of people who want to protest have probably just grown apathetic by this point.

Angela
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Old 12-08-2007, 06:01 AM   #9
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That was truly one of the STUPIDEST things the CIA has done.

And Bush made it worse by saying he has "no recollection" of these tapes....yeah, right!!

Stupid Stupid Stupid!!!!!
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Old 12-08-2007, 11:57 AM   #10
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Originally posted by Moonlit_Angel


. Well, hey, people have tried in previous years, but they were told to shut up and support the administration and were generally dismissed as "loons". So a lot of people who want to protest have probably just grown apathetic by this point.

Angela
Good point.....when I was a child. I remember the protest against the Vietnam War and government corruption. These people were thought of as being "anti-Amercian." Like Mr. Bush said "if you are not with us, you are against us."

These tapes have disappeared.
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Old 12-08-2007, 05:48 PM   #11
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http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/09/wa...html?ref=world
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Old 12-08-2007, 06:45 PM   #12
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Originally posted by A stor
Good point.....when I was a child. I remember the protest against the Vietnam War and government corruption. These people were thought of as being "anti-Amercian." Like Mr. Bush said "if you are not with us, you are against us."
Mmhm. Never mind the fact that dissent is NOT "anti-American", but whatever...

Will definitely be paying attention to the investigation into these destroyed tapes-as much as I dread the results that will come from them, at the same time, I'm happy to see that people aren't just going to let this slide.

Angela
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Old 12-08-2007, 10:51 PM   #13
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Why should college campuses in particular be a site of protest against this? It's not an issue that directly and personally affects college students to any greater degree than anyone else.
Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
the tapes were destroyed not to protect CIA agents, but to protect the Saudis.

discuss.

(you know, it might all be even worse than we imagined)
I'm guessing you're referring to Posner's book? I'm inclined to think that's not very likely--the credibility of his two anonymous sources is pretty widely doubted, plus those tapes were destroyed more than two years after his book came out. That timing would seem to lend stronger support to the covering-up-evidence-of-coercion theory (ABC broke the waterboarding story at almost exactly the same time) than the protect-the-Saudis theory.
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Old 12-10-2007, 06:23 PM   #14
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White House Mum On Destroyed CIA Tapes
WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2007(CBS/AP) As Congress seeks answers about why the CIA destroyed tapes of terror suspects under interrogation, White House lawyers have advised President Bush's spokeswoman not to answer specific questions about the matter.

The U.S. Justice Department and the Central Intelligence Agency's internal watchdog are conducting a joint inquiry into the spy agency's destruction of videotaped interrogations of two suspected terrorists, to determine whether a full investigation is warranted. With that review ongoing, the White House counsel's office has instructed Mr. Bush's press secretary, Dana Perino, not to get into details with reporters.

"I think that that's appropriate, and I'll adhere to it," Perino said Monday.

Perino would not comment on reports that former White House counsel Harriet Miers knew of the tapes years ago and advised against their destruction, reports CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller.

Perino also said she stands by her assertion that Mr. Bush had no recollection of the tapes matter and was first informed of it last Thursday by CIA Director Michael Hayden. She repeated that Mr. Bush has "complete confidence" in Hayden

The White House typically stops commenting, beyond broad talking points, once an inquiry into a controversial matter is under way. When a reporter asked about another White House "wall of silence," Perino told the media in her briefing: "I can see where that cynicism that usually drifts from this room could come up in this regard. What I can tell you is I try my best to get you as much information as I can."

Congressional leaders are pressing to find out who knew what about the CIA's destruction of interrogation videotape and whether justice was obstructed in the process. Politicians in both parties and in the presidential campaign said inquiries must get to the bottom of the matter and questioned who if anyone in the White House knew what was happening. But there appears to be little support for appointment of a special prosecutor.

Democrats and some Republicans expressed skepticism about CIA claims that tapes of the questioning of two terrorism suspects were destroyed only to protect the identity of the interrogators.

"The actions, I think, were absolutely wrong," Republican presidential candidate John McCain, a victim of torture while a war prisoner in Vietnam, said Sunday. "There will be skepticism and cynicism all over the world about how we treat prisoners and whether we practice torture or not."

Republican presidential rival Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, questioned whether the CIA destroyed the tape for security purposes as claimed "or to cover somebody's rear end."

Sen. Joe Biden, a Democratic presidential candidate and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called for a special investigator. "I just think it's clearer and crisper and everyone will know what the truth is," he said.

That view was not shared by fellow Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, or a number of other prominent Democrats.

"I don't think there's a need for a special counsel, and I don't think there's a need for a special commission," Rockefeller said on CBS' Face the Nation. "It is the job of the intelligence committees to do that."

Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican often critical of the administration on national security and Iraq, said he finds it hard to believe the White House did not know. "Maybe they're so incompetent" they didn't, he told CBS. "I don't know how deep this goes. Could there be obstruction of justice? Yes. How far does this go up in the White House, who knew it? I don't know."

The spy agency destroyed the tapes in November 2005, at a time when human rights groups and lawyers for detainees were clamoring for information about the agency's secret detention and interrogation program, and Congress and U.S. courts were debating where "enhanced interrogation" crossed the line into torture.

Rockefeller, citing the confidentiality of certain intelligence briefings, said he could not comment on the existence of any other interrogation tapes. He said CIA Director Hayden would appear before his committee Tuesday.

Biden cited Attorney General Michael Mukasey's refusal during confirmation hearings to describe waterboarding as torture as a reason to appoint an independent counsel.

"He's the same guy who couldn't decide whether or not waterboarding was torture and he's going to be doing this investigation," said Biden. The "easiest, straightest thing to do is to take it out of the political realm, appoint a special prosecutor and let them decide, and call - call it where it is. Is there a criminal violation? If there is, proceed. If not, don't."

Waterboarding is an interrogation technique in which a detainee is made to feel as though he is drowning.

Hayden told CIA employees Thursday that the recordings were destroyed out of fear the tapes would leak and reveal the identities of interrogators.

But a well-informed source told CBS News national security correspondent David Martin that the recordings were destroyed to avoid criminal prosecution of CIA officials.
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Old 01-03-2008, 08:31 AM   #15
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Mukasey orders a criminal probe over CIA tapes
Prosecutor known for independence

By Matt Apuzzo, Associated Press | January 3, 2008

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department opened a full criminal investigation yesterday into the destruction of CIA interrogation videotapes, putting the politically charged probe in the hands of a mob-busting public corruption prosecutor with a reputation for being independent.

Attorney General Michael Mukasey announced that he was appointing John Durham, a federal prosecutor in Connecticut, to oversee the investigation of a case that has challenged the Bush administration's controversial handling of terrorism suspects.

The CIA acknowledged last month that in 2005 it destroyed videos of officers using tough interrogation methods while questioning two Al Qaeda suspects. The acknowledgment sparked a congressional inquiry and a preliminary investigation by Justice into whether the CIA violated laws or obstructed congressional inquiries such as the one led by the Sept. 11 Commission.

"The Department's National Security Division has recommended, and I have concluded, that there is a basis for initiating a criminal investigation of this matter, and I have taken steps to begin that investigation," Mukasey said in a statement released yesterday.

Durham, who has served with the Justice Department for 25 years, has a reputation as one of the nation's most relentless prosecutors. He was appointed to investigate the FBI's use of mob informants in Boston, an investigation that sent former FBI agent John Connolly to prison.

"Nobody in this country is above the law, an FBI agent or otherwise," Durham said in 2002 after Connolly's conviction.

Mukasey made the move after prosecutors from the Eastern District of Virginia, which includes the CIA's headquarters in Langley, Va., removed themselves from the case. CIA Inspector General John L. Helgerson, who worked with the Justice Department on the preliminary inquiry, also removed himself.

"The CIA will of course cooperate fully with this investigation as it has with the others into this matter," agency spokesman Mark Mansfield said.

Mukasey named Durham the acting US attorney on the case, a designation the Justice Department frequently makes when top prosecutors take themselves off a case. He will not serve as a special prosecutor like Patrick Fitzgerald, who operated autonomously while investigating the 2003 leak of a CIA operative's identity.

"The Justice Department went out and got somebody with complete independence and integrity," said Stanley Twardy, a former Connecticut US attorney who worked with Durham. "No politics whatsoever. It's going to be completely by the book and he's going to let the chips fall where they may."

The CIA has agreed to open its files to congressional investigators, who have begun reviewing documents. The House Intelligence Committee has ordered Jose Rodriguez, the former CIA official who directed the tapes be destroyed, to appear at a hearing Jan. 16.

Rodriguez's lawyer, Robert S. Bennett, had no comment.

Durham first gained national prominence following the 1989 murder of Mafia underboss William Grasso, which led to one of the biggest mob takedowns in US history. He then turned to Connecticut street gangs, winning dozens of convictions, putting some gang leaders in jail for life.

He supervised the investigation that sent John G. Rowland, former Republican Connecticut governor, and several members of his administration to prison on corruption charges.

"He'll suck the political air right out of the investigation and just go after the facts," said Mike Clark, a retired FBI agent who investigated Rowland. "He's going to do it his way and just keep digging."

In June 2005, US District Judge Henry H. Kennedy, overseeing a case in which US-held terror suspects were challenging their detention at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, ordered the Bush administration to safeguard "all evidence and information regarding the torture, mistreatment and abuse of detainees now at the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay."

Five months later, the CIA destroyed the interrogation videos. The recordings involved suspected terrorists Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. Justice has argued to Kennedy that the videos weren't covered by his order because the two men were being held in secret CIA prisons overseas, not at Guantanamo Bay
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