NYTimes: CIA destroyed interrogation tapes

I just love watching the news on Fridays.  The most interesting things come out at the very end of the week.  Like this story, broken by the New York Times today,:  

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

Go read it, people.  It’s so Nixonian, I swear I think it’s 1974 again.  Cue the disco music, guys, it’s the perfect background music for this obscenity.

/shaking head in disgust…

This is going to be short and sweet, because I have a very long commute and not a lot of time in the morning for blogging.  But I HAD to say something about this.

The videotapes showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terrorism suspects – including Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in C.I.A. custody – to severe interrogation techniques. The tapes were destroyed in part because officers were concerned that video showing harsh interrogation methods could expose agency officials to legal risks, several officials said.

In a statement to employees on Thursday, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the C.I.A. director, said that the decision to destroy the tapes was made “within the C.I.A.” and that they were destroyed to protect the safety of undercover officers and because they no longer had intelligence value.

Why I am outraged is beyond me.  This administration does so much illegal, immoral, unethical stuff it is mind-boggling.  I get outrage whiplash every damn day, watching this stuff.  There’s nothing the Bushies won’t do.  There are no boundaries.  And when they destroy the evidence, it makes it that much harder to call them to account.  But, just as in the Nixon era, destruction of evidence is evidence itself of a cover-up, and that is a crime.  


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    • pfiore8 on December 7, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    good to see your byline here and thanks for this essay!

    • Edger on December 7, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    that anyone in possession of potential evidence of crimes committed by themselves would destroy that evidence.

    We all know what that reason is.

  1. Two simple points:

    (1) Destruction of the tapes is itself a criminal act, for it destroys evidence, and therefore obstructs justice. The taped evidence was clearly relevant to trials (and other legal proceedings) regarding the detainees. It was also potentially relevant to eventual trials of U.S. officials for violations of the U.S. War Crimes Act and and the U.S. Anti-torture Statute.

    (2) Under U.S. case law, the destruction of such evidence provides ample justification for judicial dismissal of prosecutions of detainees who have been subjected to the torture (i.e., “enhanced” or “harsh” interrogation) techniques, for it destroys potentially exculpatory evidence involving coerced confessions.

    In short, rather than actually bringing real terrorists to legitimate justice through trials and convictions, the Bush Administration has mucked up the legal cases first by using torture on detainees, and then by destroying the videotaped evidence of torture.

    It is a return to Medieval World, and the neoconderthal nutzis of the Bush Administration have surged ahead in the race back to the 13th Century.

    • Edger on December 7, 2007 at 7:05 pm

    Deceiving the U.S. on Iran
    Deceiving the U.S. on Iran

    And we are to believe, Mr. Bush, that nobody told you any of this until last week?

    Your insistence that you were not briefed on the NIE until last week might be legally true, something like “what the definition of ‘is’ is,” but with the subject matter being not interns but the threat of nuclear war.

    Legally, it might save you from some war crimes trial, but ethically it is a lie.

    It is indefensible.

    You have been yelling threats into a phone for nearly four months, after the guy on the other end had already hung up.

    You, Mr. Bush, are a bald-faced liar.

    And moreover, you have just revealed that John Bolton and Norman Podhoretz and the Wall Street Journal editorial board are also bald-faced liars.

    We are to believe that the intel community, or maybe the State Department, cooked the raw intelligence about Iran, falsely diminished the Iranian nuclear threat, to make you look bad?

    And you proceeded to let them make you look bad?

    You not only knew all of this about Iran in early August, but you also knew it was accurate.

    And instead of sharing this good news with the people you have obviously forgotten you represent, you merely fine-tuned your terrorizing of those people, to legally cover your own backside.

    While you filled the factual gap with sadistic visions of, as you phrased it Aug. 28, “nuclear holocaust,” and, as you phrased it Oct. 17, “World War III.”

    My comments, Mr. Bush, are often dismissed as simple repetitions of the phrase “George Bush has no business being president.”

    Well, guess what?

    Tonight: hanged by your own words, convicted by your own deliberate lies….

    You, sir, have no business being president.

  2. that congress and the candidates just act like this is normal. It’s becoming more and more obvious how crazy Bush is at each presser. Hilarious if it wasn’t so tragic. Partisan politics just keeps ignoring the reality of this obvious insanity.Hard to listen to debates where they argue these insanities with the backdrop of an out of control government they enable by not even calling it out or trying to stop. Don’t they think people notice? Obama’s kindergarten experience is much more important to straighten out. Surreal!    

    • ANKOSS on December 8, 2007 at 11:32 pm

    The current crop of DC outrage is about destroying evidence of torture, but nobody seems to care about the torture itself any more. Congress and Bush seem to have agreed on a “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach to torture that allows Bush to do whatever the hell he wants and hide the evidence.

    Have we, as a nation, gone so completely crazy that we are now upset about destroying some tapes of torturing, but quite willing to accept the torture shown on those tapes?

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