Monday, March 2, 2009


We find out today that the CIA not only (illegally) destroyed tapes of its "enhanced interrogations" ...but destroyed NINETY-TWO of them.

92 tapes!


"'The CIA can now identify the number of videotapes that were destroyed,'
said the letter by Acting U.S. Attorney Lev Dassin. 'Ninety two videotapes were

The tapes became a contentious issue in the trial of Sept. 11
conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, after prosecutors initially claimed no such
recordings existed, then acknowledged two videotapes and one audiotape had been


"...the CIA is now gathering more details for the lawsuit, including a list
of the destroyed records, any secondary accounts that describe the destroyed
contents, and the identities of those who may have viewed or possessed the
recordings before they were destroyed.

But the lawyers also note that some of that information may be
classified, such as the names of CIA personnel that viewed the tapes.

'The CIA intends to produce all of the information requested to the
court and to produce as much information as possible on the public record to the
plaintiffs,' states the letter."

Ninety-two tapes of stuff that was so rough it had to be destroyed by the CIA to protect the CIA. Ninety-two tapes. I do wonder who watched these tapes, what they saw, how they justified it, how they found it to be in line with the law (even the very distorted version of the law they were given by the Bush DoJ) and if they actually found it to be over the line or not. Who knows what the tapes showed? Interrogators actually breaking even the Yoo/Bybee interpretation of the law? Methods that might've begged the question to a sentient being - hey, this kind of looks like it is probably illegal according to the law? You would think the CIA lawyers would know there are laws, like the Convention Against Torture, laws and treaties that they might actually want to read before blindly swallowing whatever the Bush DoJ told them? Professional ethics, somethin' like that?

As ex-CIA John Gannon said in reference to the tapes:

"Mr. Gannon said he thought the tapes became such an issue because they
would have settled the legal debate over the harsh methods.

'To a spectator it would look like torture,' he said. 'And torture
is wrong.

If this is true, how the hell did common sense fly so completely out the window at CIA?

I think the enormity of the tape destruction basically settles the question as to whether there should be a Congressional investigation of the CIA's role, as there was the DoD's. I have called for such an investigation in the past. The Senate Intelligence Committee is planning such an investigation now.

You have to wonder - 92 tapes of harsh interrogations of two detainees. What the hell was on those tapes? Nothing, apparently, that they wanted to ever see the light of day in a courtroom (international or otherwise)!

It seems to me these tapes may've constituted evidence of the extent of the bad faith that went into designing and following the Bush torture laws. We deserve to hear from those who watched the tapes exactly what they contained - and their reactions (along with official CIA reactions) to this content. 92 tapes. That is a lot of tape...

(h/t How Appealing)

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