2007 - 2008

Destruction of Interrogation Tapes

Materials presented in chronological order.

Benson, Pam. "CIA Director: Tapes of al Qaeda Interrogations Destroyed." CNN, 6 Dec. 2007. [http://www.cnn.com]

In a letter to CIA employees, CIA director Michael Hayden said on 6 December 2007 that "[t]he CIA destroyed videotapes of interrogations of al Qaeda suspects because they no longer had 'intelligence value' and they posed a security risk.... The tapes were made in 2002 and destroyed in 2005."

Eggen, Dan, and Joby Warrick. "CIA Destroyed Videos Showing Interrogations: Harsh Techniques Seen in 2002 Tapes." Washington Post, 7 Dec. 2007, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

CIA Director Michael V. Hayden said on 6 December 2007 that the CIA "made videotapes in 2002 of its officers administering harsh interrogation techniques to two al-Qaeda suspects but destroyed the tapes" in 2005. According to intelligence officials, the tapes captured the "interrogations of Abu Zubaydah, a close associate of Osama bin Laden, and a second high-level al-Qaeda member who was not identified." See also, Mark Mazzetti, "C.I.A. Destroyed 2 Tapes Showing Interrogations," New York Times, 7 Dec. 2007.

Mazzetti, Mark. "C.I.A. Official in Inquiry Called a 'Hero.'" New York Times, 10 Dec. 2007. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"At a conference in El Paso in mid-August," HPSCI chairman Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) "heaped praise" on Jose A. Rodriguez Jr,. who recently stepped down as head of the CIA's National Clandestine Service. Now, Rodriguez’s "role in the destruction of hundreds of hours of videotape of harsh interrogations of two operatives of Al Qaeda is at the center of an inquiry" by Reyes's committee. A separate Justice Department inquiry "could lead to a full criminal investigation into the matter." Thus, "the man who spent a career in the shadows has been thrust uneasily into the spotlight."

Shane, Scott. "C.I.A. Agents Sense Shifting Support for Methods." New York Times, 13 Dec. 2007. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"For six years, Central Intelligence Agency officers have worried that someday the tide of post-Sept. 11 opinion would turn, and their harsh treatment of prisoners from Al Qaeda would be subjected to hostile scrutiny and possible criminal prosecution. Now that day may have arrived."

Shane, Scott, and Mark Mazzetti. "Tapes by C.I.A. Lived and Died to Save Image." New York Times, 30 Dec. 2007. [http://www.nytimes.com]

CIA officers knew that "[i]f Abu Zubaydah ... died in American hands,... much of the world would believe they had killed him. So in the spring of 2002,... they set up video cameras to record his every moment: asleep in his cell, having his bandages changed, being interrogated.... [I]nterviews with two dozen current and former officials,... show how political and legal considerations competed with intelligence concerns in the handling of the tapes."

Eggen, Dan, and Joby Warrick. "Criminal Probe on CIA Tapes Opened: Case Assigned to Career Prosecutor." Washington Post, 3 Jan. 2008, A1. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 2 January 2008, "[t]he Justice Department said ... that it has opened a formal criminal investigation into ... whether intelligence officials broke the law by destroying videos of exceptionally harsh questioning of terrorism suspects." Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey "appointed John Durham, a career federal prosecutor from Connecticut," to head the investigation. "Leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees vowed to continue their separate inquiries, including a hearing on Jan. 16."

Johnston, David. "An Inquiry Seen as Payback in a Rivalry." New York Times, 4 Jan. 2008. [http://www.nytimes.com]

"The Justice Department's criminal inquiry into the destruction" of the CIA "interrogation tapes will be carried out largely by agents" from the FBI, "which has been sharply at odds with the C.I.A. over the agency's interrogation practices. In some law enforcement circles the prospect of the F.B.I. interviewing high-level C.I.A. officials ... and rummaging around the files of the agency's secret interrogation programs represents a payback moment in the rich history of rivalry between the agencies."

Shane, Scott. "No Immunity, No Testimony." New York Times, 15 Jan. 2008. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to an official briefed on the inquiry, Jose A. Rodriguez, Jr., the former CIA official "who ordered the destruction of interrogation videotapes in 2005, will not be required to appear on [16 January 2008] at a closed Congressional hearing on the matter." Rodriguez "has demanded immunity before he will agree to testify before the House Intelligence Committee.... The committee has made no decision on a possible grant of immunity, so it postponed Mr. Rodriguez's appearance. He remains under subpoena, however, and the committee may call him later."

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