[JURIST] The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] acknowledged Monday that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] has destroyed [letter, PDF] 92 videotapes of terrorism suspect interrogations [JURIST news archive]. The acknowledgment came in response to an August 2008 judicial order [text, PDF] that the CIA turn over information regarding the tapes or provide specific justifications on why it could not release the information. A stay on that order expired last week, and in a letter to the court, US Attorney Peter Skinner wrote that the DOJ now intends to provide as much of the information as possible, as well as justifications for omissions. The court seeks descriptions of the destroyed tapes; any ancillary summaries, transcripts, or reconstructions of their content; and the names of those individuals who had either viewed or possessed the tapes. Skinner requested that the DOJ be given until March 6 to provide the court with a schedule under which it can provide the information.
The August 2008 order came in response to a December 2007 American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] motion [text, PDF] that the CIA be held in contempt of court for not providing information on the tapes during a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [text] lawsuit [ACLU materials] brought by the organization in an effort to access government materials on the interrogations. The DOJ is also conducting a criminal probe [JURIST report] into the destruction of the tapes.