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Federal judge rejects inquiry into CIA destruction of interrogation videos

[JURIST] US District Court Judge Henry H. Kennedy, Jr. Wednesday refused to order an inquiry [ruling, PDF] into the CIA's destruction of videotapes showing the interrogation of terror suspects [JURIST news archive]. In denying the motion [JURIST report] brought by lawyers for a number of Guantanamo Bay detainees, Kennedy concluded that there was no evidence that the Bush administration violated a June 2005 order that the administration "preserve and maintain all evidence and information regarding the torture, mistreatment, and abuse of detainees now at the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba." Kennedy wrote that since the taped interrogations were not conducted at the Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detention facility, they did not fall under the scope of the 2005 order. Kennedy also said that the US Justice Department should be given time to conduct its own investigation into the tapes' destruction, noting that the DOJ has told the court that its probe will cover whether the court order to preserve evidence was violated. The Justice Department opened a criminal investigation [JURIST report] into the destruction of the videotapes last week. AP has more. The Washington Post has additional coverage.

Existence of the videotapes was verified in November after the CIA admitted it had mistakenly denied [JURIST report] that it had recorded interrogations in a court declaration during the trial of 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. CIA Director Michael Hayden acknowledged [statement text] last month that the CIA had videotaped the interrogation of two al Qaeda suspects in 2002, but said that the tapes had been destroyed in 2005 amid concerns that they could be leaked to the public and compromise the identities of the interrogators. In addition to the DOJ investigation, multiple congressional inquiries have been launched into the tapes' destruction.

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