CIA documents reveal possible cover-up of interrogation video destruction

[JURIST] Internal Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] documents [part 1, PDF; part 2, PDF; part 3, PDF] released Thursday reveal that the former head of the agency Porter Goss may have agreed with the destruction of videotapes [JURIST news archive] showing harsh interrogations of terror suspects. The heavily redacted documents reveal [NYT report] that, despite being unaware of the order before it was carried out, Goss agreed with the order from Jose Rodriguez, then head of the CIA clandestine services, to destroy videotapes of the interrogations of two terror suspects. Some of the documents reveal an e-mail in which Rodriguez said that "the heat from destroying is nothing compared to what it would be if the tapes ever got into the public domain ... they would make us look terrible; it would be devastating to us." The documents were released as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [text] lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [official website]. Ben Wizner, senior staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project said that the "documents provide further evidence that senior CIA officials were willing to risk being prosecuted for obstruction of justice in order to avoid being prosecuted for torture. If the Department of Justice fails to hold these officials accountable, they will have succeeded in their cover-up."

Last year, it was revealed that 12 of the 92 videotapes destroyed by the CIA contained evidence [JURIST report] of "enhanced interrogation techniques." The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] had previously acknowledged that the CIA destroyed [letter, PDF] 92 videotapes, 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.



 

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