Just out from the New York Times:
The Central Intelligence Agency in 2005 destroyed at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two Al Qaeda operatives in the agency’s custody, a step it took in the midst of Congressional and legal scrutiny about the C.I.A’s secret detention program, according to current and former government officials.
The videotapes showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terror suspects — including Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in C.I.A. custody — to severe interrogation techniques. They were destroyed in part because officers were concerned that tapes documenting controversial interrogation methods could expose agency officials to greater risk of legal jeopardy, several officials said.
Let’s see if I have this right: President Bush says that the CIA’s “enhanced” interrogation program isn’t torture. However, if people could see what the CIA was in fact doing it would open the door for the criminal prosecution of those conducting the “enhanced” interrogations and incite the rest of the world against us. Make sense?
Here’s HRF’s Washington Director Elisa Massimino’s take:
“At the same time Congress was passing laws to reinforce the ban on torture and other inhuman treatment of prisoners, it appears the CIA was destroying evidence of its own use of these illegal methods. Can there be a more telling admission that the CIA knew what it was doing was wrong?”
“Congress should demand that CIA director Hayden explain what appears to be, at minimum, an obstruction of Congress’s legitimate oversight function and should demand – by subpeona if necessary – any evidence of CIA prisoner abuse that has not yet been destroyed. It’s also past time for Congress to ensure that the CIA abides by laws prohibiting cruel treatment by restricting all U.S. interrogators to standards used by the military.”