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Thread: CIA Admits It Destroyed Tapes Of Interrogations

  1. #31
    AuGmENTor Guest
    STOP! PLEASE!! I can't TAKE any more!!!

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Ex-CIA interrogator says waterboarding is torture

    Tue 11 Dec 2007, 16:53 GMT

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - CIA officials extracted valuable information from a terrorism suspect after he was subjected to waterboarding, a simulated drowning technique that has been condemned as torture, a former CIA interrogator told U.S. new media.

    Suspected al Qaeda lieutenant Abu Zubaida offered to cooperate less than a minute after CIA officials subjected him to the controversial technique, former CIA interrogator John Kiriakou told ABC News and the Washington Post.

    "It was like flipping a switch," Kiriakou told the Post. He said the session yielded valuable information and probably helped prevent attacks, but he now believes waterboarding is torture and "Americans are better than that."

    Kiriakou, who now works in the private sector, came forward as the CIA faced sharp criticism for destroying a videotape of the interrogation, along with another showing the interrogation of a second suspected al Qaeda member.

    Critics have charged that the agency destroyed the tapes to hide evidence of illegal torture. The CIA said it destroyed the tapes in 2005 to protect the interrogators from possible retaliation. A judge had ordered the tapes to be preserved as possible evidence in a lawsuit filed by captives at the Guantanamo Bay military prison.

    The Justice Department, the CIA and two congressional committees all plan to investigate the tape destruction.

    Abu Zubaida was captured in Pakistan in the spring of 2002, one of the first high-level al Qaeda operatives to come into U.S. custody after the September 11, 2001, hijacking attacks.

    He was defiant and uncooperative until he was waterboarded that summer, said Kiriakou, who did not participate in the interrogation but was briefed by those who did. The next day he offered to tell his captors everything he knew, Kiriakou said.

    Many countries, U.S. lawmakers and human rights groups have denounced waterboarding as torture. It is believed the technique has not been used by the CIA since 2003.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  3. #33
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    Jan 2005
    Destruction of C.I.A. Tapes Cleared by Lawyers

    December 11, 2007

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 10 — Lawyers within the clandestine branch of the Central Intelligence Agency gave written approval in advance to the destruction in 2005 of hundreds of hours of videotapes documenting interrogations of two lieutenants from Al Qaeda, according to a former senior intelligence official with direct knowledge of the episode.

    The involvement of agency lawyers in the decision making would widen the scope of the inquiries into the matter that have now begun in Congress and within the Justice Department. Any written documents are certain to be a focus of government investigators as they try to reconstruct the events leading up to the tapes’ destruction.

    The former intelligence official acknowledged that there had been nearly two years of debate among government agencies about what to do with the tapes, and that lawyers within the White House and the Justice Department had in 2003 advised against a plan to destroy them. But the official said that C.I.A. officials had continued to press the White House for a firm decision, and that the C.I.A. was never given a direct order not to destroy the tapes.

    “They never told us, ‘Hell, no,’” he said. “If somebody had said, ‘You cannot destroy them,’ we would not have destroyed them.”

    The former official spoke on condition of anonymity because there is a continuing Justice Department inquiry into the matter. He said he was sympathetic to Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., the former chief of the clandestine branch, who has been described by intelligence officials as having authorized the destruction of the tapes. The former official said he was concerned that Mr. Rodriguez was being unfairly singled out for blame in the destruction of the tapes.

    The former official said Mr. Rodriguez decided in November 2005 that he had sufficient authority to destroy the interrogation videos, based on the written authorization given to him from lawyers within the branch, then known as the Directorate of Operations.

    The C.I.A. has said that the two interrogations shown in the videotapes occurred in 2002, and that the taping of interrogations stopped that year. On Monday, however, a lawyer representing a former prisoner who said he was held by the C.I.A. said the prisoner saw cameras in interrogation rooms after 2002.

    In describing the decision to destroy the tapes, current and former officials said John A. Rizzo, the agency’s top lawyer at the time, was not asked for final approval before the tapes were destroyed, although Mr. Rizzo had been involved in discussions for two years about the tapes.

    It is unclear what weight an opinion from a lawyer within the clandestine service would have if it were not formally approved by Mr. Rizzo. But the former official said Mr. Rodriguez and others in the clandestine branch believed the legal judgment gave them the blessing to destroy the tapes.

    The former official said the leaders of the clandestine service believed they “didn’t need to ask Rizzo’s permission.”

    Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the C.I.A. director, is scheduled to appear before a closed session of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday to answer questions about the tapes’ destruction. He has defended the action as having been “done in line with the law,” but the destruction has prompted sharp criticism from Republicans and Democrats in Congress.

    Officials at the White House and the Central Intelligence Agency were directed over the weekend to preserve any documents related to the destruction of the tapes.

    The former intelligence official who described the decision to destroy the tapes said Mr. Rodriguez’s primary concern was the safety of C.I.A. agents whose faces could be identified in the tapes. The tapes were destroyed amid growing Congressional and legal scrutiny into the C.I.A’s detention and interrogation program.

    Some former C.I.A. officials said they would be very surprised if a lawyer for the Directorate of Operations, or D.O., would give legal approval for such a controversial decision without consulting Mr. Rizzo.

    “Although unlikely, it is conceivable that once a C.I.A. officer got the answer he wanted from a D.O. lawyer, he acted on that advice,” said John Radsan, who worked as a C.I.A. lawyer between 2002 and 2004 and is now a professor at William Mitchell College of Law in Minnesota. “But a streamlined process like that would have been risky for both the officer and the D.O. lawyer.”

    Mr. Radsan added, “I’d be surprised that even the chief D.O. lawyer made a decision of that magnitude without bringing the General Counsel’s front office into the loop.”

    In mid-2005, the name of the Directorate of Operations was changed to the National Clandestine Service.

    Paul Gimigliano, a C.I.A. spokesman, declined to comment for this article, citing the joint investigation into the matter by the Justice Department and the C.I.A’s inspector general.

    The former prisoner who reported seeing cameras, Muhammad Bashmilah of Yemen, was seized by Jordanian intelligence agents in 2003 and turned over to the C.I.A., according to an investigation by Amnesty International, the human rights advocacy organization. He was flown from Jordan to Afghanistan in October 2003 and held there until April 2004, when he was flown by plane and helicopter to a C.I.A. jail in an unidentified country, Amnesty found. Mr. Bashmilah and two other Yemeni men held with him were flown to Yemen in May 2005 and later released.

    Meg Satterthwaite, a director of the International Human Rights Clinic at New York University who is representing Mr. Bashmilah in a lawsuit, said Mr. Bashmilah described cameras both in his cells and in interrogation rooms, some on tripods and some on the wall. She said his descriptions of his imprisonment, in hours of conversation in Yemen and by phone this year, were lucid and detailed.

    In a message to C.I.A. employees on Thursday, General Hayden said “videotaping stopped in 2002,” after officials “determined that its documentary reporting was full and exacting, removing any need for tapes.”

    Asked Monday about Mr. Bashmilah’s claims, Mr. Gimigliano said he had nothing to add to General Hayden’s statement.

    In a related legal action, lawyers representing 11 inmates of the American military detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, filed an emergency motion on Sunday seeking a hearing on whether the government has obeyed a 2005 judge’s order to preserve evidence in their case.

    The C.I.A.’s destruction of tapes “raises grave concerns about the government’s compliance with the preservation order entered by this court,” the lawyers, David H. Remes and Marc D. Falkoff, wrote in their motion.

    The June 2005 order, signed by Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr., of the United States District Court in Washington, required the government to “preserve and maintain all evidence and information regarding the torture, mistreatment and abuse of detainees” at Guantánamo.

    That preservation order, one of several issued in Guantánamo cases, may be relevant to the C.I.A. videotapes, Mr. Remes said. He noted that the government has said that “a senior Al Qaeda lieutenant” reported seeing one of his Guantánamo clients in Afghanistan, raising the possibility that the statements on the destroyed videotapes may be relevant to his case.

    “There is never any justification for destroying materials that any reasonable person would believe might be requested in a civil or criminal proceeding,” said Mr. Remes, of the law firm Covington & Burling. “The C.I.A. had every reason to believe the videotapes would be relevant down the road.”
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  4. #34
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    Jan 2005
    The Man Who Ordered CIA's Tape Destruction
    Jose Rodriguez Ordered Tapes Of Terror Interrogations Destroyed Without Telling CIA Director

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 10, 2007

    (CBS) He is the man who ordered the destruction of video tapes documenting the CIA’s interrogation of two high-level al Qaeda operatives.

    The then-head of the clandestine service, Jose Rodriguez, ordered the tapes destroyed shortly after a Washington Post expose focused attention on the CIA’s secret prisons, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports.

    “Well, I think there might have been concern that those tapes could have been called for by some outside body and the CIA would no longer maintain control over them,” said retired CIA officer John Brennan, who is now a CBS News consultant.

    Brennan says Rodriguez was also worried the Justice Department was backing away from its earlier support of harsh interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding.

    “And that therefore agency officers who participated in those interrogation sessions may be subject to some type of prosecution,” Brennan said.

    Rodriguiz ordered the tapes destroyed without telling then-CIA director Porter Goss and against the advice of the CIA’s own general counsel, the White House deputy counsel and the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

    “I expressed concern about destroying any video tapes and said that would be a very ill-advised move by the agency,” Rep. Jane Harman, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said.

    Former CIA officer John Kiriakou led the raid, which captured the al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah, told CBS News he and at least one other CIA officer refused to use the harsh interrogation techniques.

    That job, he said, was turned over to retired commandos under contract to the CIA.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  5. #35
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    Jan 2005
    The CIA's Destroyed Interrogation Tapes and the Saudi-Pakistani 9/11 Connection

    Gerald Posner
    Posted December 7, 2007 | 03:25 PM (EST)

    On December 5, the CIA's director, General Michael V. Hayden, issued a statement disclosing that in 2005 at least two videotapes of interrogations with al Qaeda prisoners were destroyed. The tapes, which the CIA did not provide to either the 9/11 Commission, nor to a federal court in the case of Zacarias Moussaoui, were destroyed, claimed Hayden, to protect the safety of undercover operatives.

    Hayden did not disclose one of the al Qaeda suspects whose tapes were destroyed. But he did identify the other. It was Abu Zubaydah, the top ranking terror suspect when he was tracked and captured in Pakistan in 2003. In September 2006, at a press conference in which he defended American interrogation techniques, President Bush also mentioned Abu Zubaydah by name. Bush acknowledged that Zubaydah, who was wounded when captured, did not initially cooperate with his interrogators, but that eventually when he did talk, his information was, according to Bush, "quite important."

    In my 2003 New York Times bestseller, Why America Slept: The Failure to Prevent 9/11, I discussed Abu Zubaydah at length in Chapter 19, "The Interrogation." There I set forth how Zubaydah initially refused to help his American captors. Also, disclosed was how U.S. intelligence established a so-called "fake flag" operation, in which the wounded Zubaydah was transferred to Afghanistan under the ruse that he had actually been turned over to the Saudis. The Saudis had him on a wanted list, and the Americans believed that Zubaydah, fearful of torture and death at the hands of the Saudis, would start talking when confronted by U.S. agents playing the role of Saudi intelligence officers.

    Instead, when confronted by his "Saudi" interrogators, Zubaydah showed no fear. Instead, according to the two U.S. intelligence sources that provided me the details, he seemed relieved. The man who had been reluctant to even confirm his identity to his U.S. captors, suddenly talked animatedly. He was happy to see them, he said, because he feared the Americans would kill him. He then asked his interrogators to call a senior member of the Saudi royal family. And Zubaydah provided a private home number and a cell phone number from memory. "He will tell you what to do," Zubaydah assured them

    That man was Prince Ahmed bin Salman bin Abdul-Aziz, one of King Fahd's nephews, and the chairman of the largest Saudi publishing empire. Later, American investigators would determine that Prince Ahmed had been in the U.S. on 9/11.

    American interrogators used painkillers to induce Zubaydah to talk -- they gave him the meds when he cooperated, and withdrew them when he was quiet. They also utilized a thiopental sodium drip (a so-called truth serum). Several hours after he first fingered Prince Ahmed, his captors challenged the information, and said that since he had disparaged the Saudi royal family, he would be executed. It was at that point that some of the secrets of 9/11 came pouring out. In a short monologue, that one investigator told me was the "Rosetta Stone" of 9/11, Zubaydah laid out details of how he and the al Qaeda hierarchy had been supported at high levels inside the Saudi and Pakistan governments.

    He named two other Saudi princes, and also the chief of Pakistan's air force, as his major contacts. Moreover, he stunned his interrogators, by charging that two of the men, the King's nephew, and the Pakistani Air Force chief, knew a major terror operation was planned for America on 9/11.

    It would be nice to further investigate the men named by Zubaydah, but that is not possible. All four identified by Zubaydah are now dead. As for the three Saudi princes, the King's 43-year-old nephew, Prince Ahmed, died of either a heart attack or blood clot, depending on which report you believe, after having liposuction in Riyadh's top hospital; the second, 41-year-old Prince Sultan bin Faisal bin Turki al-Saud, died the following day in a one car accident, on his way to the funeral of Prince Ahmed; and one week later, the third Saudi prince named by Zubaydah, 25-year-old Prince Fahd bin Turki bin Saud al-Kabir, died, according to the Saudi Royal Court, "of thirst." The head of Pakistan's Air Force, Mushaf Ali Mir, was the last to go. He died, together with his wife and fifteen of his top aides, when his plane blew up -- suspected as sabotage -- in February 2003. Pakistan's investigation of the explosion -- if one was even done -- has never been made public.

    Zubaydah is the only top al Queda operative who has secretly linked two of America's closest allies in the war on terror -- Saudi Arabia and Pakistan -- to the 9/11 attacks. Why does Bush, and the CIA, continue to protect the Saudi Royal family and the Pakistani military, from the implications of Zubaydah's confessions? It is, or course, because the Bush administration desperately needs Pakistani and Saudi help, not only to keep Afghanistan from spinning completely out of control, but also as counterweights to the growing power of Iran. The Sunni governments in Riyadh and Islamabad have as much to fear from a resurgent Iran as does the Bush administration. But does this mean that leads about the origins of 9/11 should not be aggressively pursued? Of course not. But this is precisely what the Bush administration is doing. And now the cover-up is enhanced by the CIA's destruction of Zubaydah's interrogation tapes.

    The American public deserves no less than the complete truth about 9/11. And those CIA officials now complicit in hiding the truth by destroying key evidence should be held responsible.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Not many answers from CIA director

    PAMELA HESS; The Associated Press
    Published: December 12th, 2007 01:00 AM

    WASHINGTON – CIA Director Michael Hayden, testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors Tuesday, failed to answer central questions about the destruction of secret videotapes showing harsh interrogation of terror suspects, the panel’s chairman said.

    Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., called the committee’s 90-minute session with Hayden “a useful and not yet complete hearing” and vowed the committee would get to the bottom of the matter. Among lingering questions: Who authorized destruction of the tapes, and why wasn’t Congress told about it?

    Hayden told reporters afterward that he had “a chance to lay out the narrative, the history of why the tapes were destroyed” and the process that led to that decision.

    But since the tapes were made under one of his predecessors, George Tenet, and destroyed under another, Porter Goss, he wasn’t able to answer all questions, he said.

    “Other people in the agency know about this far better than I,” Hayden said, and promised the committee he would make those witnesses available.

    A similar session is set for today, when Hayden appears before the panel’s House counterpart.

    One former senior intelligence official said Tuesday that the recordings were contained on older videocasettes, rather than modern digital tapes or disks, and that no verbatim transcripts were made. Instead, results of the interrogations were contained in classified summaries, the official said.

    Hayden’s appearance followed disclosures by former CIA officer John Kiriakou who said that the use of a simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding on Abu Zubaydah, a major al-Qaida figure, elicited information that “probably saved lives” but also amounted to torture.

    Kiriakou’s public remarks prompted Hayden to send a reminder to CIA employees Tuesday about the importance of not disclosing classified information, intelligence officials said.

    At the White House, press secretary Dana Perino said the CIA interrogation program approved by the president is safe, tough, effective and legal.

    “It’s no secret that the president approved a lawful program in order to interrogate hardened terrorists,” Perino said. “We do not torture. We also know that this program has saved lives by disrupting terrorist attacks.”

    Abu Zubaydah, the first high-value detainee taken by the CIA in 2002, is now being held with other detainees at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He told his interrogators about alleged 9/11 accomplice Ramzi Binalshibh, and the two men’s confessions also led to the capture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who the U.S. government said was the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

    The Washington Post contributed to this report.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  7. #37
    AuGmENTor Guest

    How many court orders has this administration ignored now?

    CIA destroyed tapes despite court orders

    By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer

    WASHINGTON - The Bush administration was under court order not to discard evidence of detainee torture and abuse months before the CIA destroyed videotapes that revealed some of its harshest interrogation tactics.

    Normally, that would force the government to defend itself against obstruction allegations. But the CIA may have an out: its clandestine network of overseas prisons.

    While judges focused on the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and tried to guarantee that any evidence of detainee abuse would be preserved, the CIA was performing its toughest questioning half a world away. And by the time President Bush publicly acknowledged the secret prison system, interrogation videotapes of two terrorism suspects had been destroyed.

    The CIA destroyed the tapes in November 2005. That June, U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. had ordered the Bush administration to safeguard "all evidence and information regarding the torture, mistreatment, and abuse of detainees now at the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay."

    U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler issued a nearly identical order that July.

    At the time, that seemed to cover all detainees in U.S. custody. But Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the terrorism suspects whose interrogations were videotaped and then destroyed, weren't at Guantanamo Bay. They were prisoners that existed off the books — and apparently beyond the scope of the court's order.

    Attorneys say that might not matter. David H. Remes, a lawyer for Yemeni citizen Mahmoad Abdah and others, asked Kennedy this week to schedule a hearing on the issue.

    Though Remes acknowledged the tapes might not be covered by Kennedy's order, he said, "It is still unlawful for the government to destroy evidence, and it had every reason to believe that these interrogation records would be relevant to pending litigation concerning our client."

    In legal documents filed in January 2005, Assistant Attorney General Peter D. Keisler assured Kennedy that government officials were "well aware of their obligation not to destroy evidence that may be relevant in pending litigation."

    For just that reason, officials inside and outside of the CIA advised against destroying the interrogation tapes, according to a former senior intelligence official involved in the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because it is under investigation.

    Exactly who signed off on the decision is unclear, but CIA director Michael Hayden told the agency in an e-mail this week that internal reviewers found the tapes were not relevant to any court case.

    Remes said that decision raises questions about whether other evidence was destroyed. Abu Zubaydah's interrogation helped lead investigators to alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Remes said Abu Zubaydah may also have been questioned about other detainees. Such evidence might have been relevant in their court cases.

    "It's logical to infer that the documents were destroyed in order to obstruct any inquiry into the means by which statements were obtained," Remes said.

    He stopped short, however, of accusing the government of obstruction. That's just one of the legal issues that could come up in court. A judge could also raise questions about contempt of court or spoliation, a legal term for the destruction of evidence in "pending or reasonably foreseeable litigation."

    Kennedy has not scheduled a hearing on the matter and the government has not filed a response to Remes' request.

  8. #38
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    Jan 2005
    Was Pelosi aware of CIA's tactics?

    Robert Scheer, Creators Syndicate
    Wednesday, December 12, 2007

    When the CIA destroyed those prisoner interrogation videotapes, were they also destroying the truth about Sept. 11, 2001? After all, according to the 9/11 Commission report, the basic narrative of what happened on that day - and the nature of the enemy in this war on terror that Bush launched in response to the tragedy - comes from the CIA's account of what those prisoners told their torturers. The commission was never allowed to interview the prisoners, or speak with those who did, and was forced to rely on what the CIA was willing to relay instead.

    On the matter of the existence of the tapes, we know the CIA deliberately lied, not only to the 9/11 commission, but to Congress as well. Given that the Bush administration has for six years refused those prisoners any sort of public legal exposure, why should we believe what we've been told about what may turn out to be the most important transformative event in our nation's history? On the basis of what the CIA claimed the tortured prisoners said, President Bush launched a "Global War on Terrorism," (GWOT), an endless war that threatens to bankrupt our society both financially and morally.

    How important were those "key witnesses" to the 9/11 Commission report?

    Check out the disclaimer on page 146 about the commission's sourcing of the main elements laid out in its narrative:

    "Chapters 5 and 7 rely heavily on information obtained from captured al Qaeda members ... Assessing the truth of statements by these witnesses ... is challenging. Our access to them has been limited to the review of intelligence reports based on communications received from the locations where the actual interrogation took place. We submitted questions for use in the interrogations, but had no control over whether, when, or how questions of particular interest would be asked. Nor were we allowed to talk to the interrogators so that we could better judge the credibility of the detainees and clarify ambiguities in the reporting. We were told that our requests might disrupt the sensitive interrogation process."

    Videos were made of those "sensitive" interrogations, which were accurately described as "torture" by one of the agents involved, John Kiriakou, in an interview with ABC News. Yet when the 9/11 Commission and federal court judges specifically asked for such tapes, they were destroyed by the CIA, which then denied their existence.

    Of course our president claims he knew nothing about this whitewash, and he may be speaking the truth, since plausible deniability seems to be the defining leadership style of our commander in chief.

    But what about those congressional leaders who were briefed on the torture program as early as 2002? That includes Democrats like Nancy Pelosi, who has specialized in heartfelt speeches condemning torturers in faraway places like China.

    Pelosi's press aide Brendan Daly told me that the Washington Post report on her CIA briefing was "overblown" because Pelosi, then the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee thought the techniques described, which the CIA insists included waterboarding, were planned for the future and not yet in use. Pelosi claimed that "several months later" her successor as the ranking Democrat, Rep. Jane Harman of Los Angeles County, was advised the techniques "had in fact been employed" and wrote a classified letter to the CIA in protest, and Pelosi "concurred." Neither went public with her concerns.

    Harman told the Washington Post "I was briefed, but the information was closely held to just the Gang of Four. I was not free to disclose anything." The "Gang of Four" is an insider reference to the top members of the House and Senate intelligence committees and not to the thugs who ran Mao's China during the Cultural Revolution.

    Not only did the congressional Gang of Four fail to inform the public about the use of torture by our government but they also kept the 9/11 Commission in the dark.

    Pelosi testified before the commission on May 22, 2003 but uttered not a word of caution about the methods used. However, more than two years later on Nov. 16, 2005, Pelosi stated correctly that on the basis of her "many years on the intelligence committee," she knew that "The quality of intelligence that is collected by torture is ... uncorroborated and it is worthless."

    Hopefully I am missing something here, having admired Pelosi for decades, but if she and the others in the know have another version of these events, it's time to come clean. As matters now stand, they not only concealed torture but, more significantly, they abetted the waterboarding of our democracy.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  9. #39
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    Jan 2005
    Which lie should we believe? CIA admits it destroyed evidence it said didn't exist.

    by Nicholas Levis
    December 10, 2007

    CIA claims it destroyed videotapes of interrogations central to the official story of September 11th. Writing in TIME magazine, former CIA agent and occasional "conspiracy theory" debunker, Robert Baer concedes that 9/11 skeptics seem all the more credible in the aftermath. Full-time debunker Gerald Posner also sees a cover-up.

    The most important document in the official mythology of September 11th, The 9/11 Commission Report, is based largely on the reported statements of three prisoners: Khalid Shaikh Mohamed, Ramzi Binalshibh, and Abu Zubaydah. The Report describes these men as high-ranking members of Al Qaeda. U.S. authorities announced the captures of the three in the course of separate raids in 2002 and 2003. According to the CIA and U.S. military, they have been held ever since at "undisclosed locations," and have had contacts only with a handful of interrogators. No U.S. agency has ever produced any of them in a public proceeding, or even provided photographs of them in captivity.

    Khalid Shaikh Mohamed (see entries in the "Complete 9/11 Timeline") was originally reported as killed during an attempt to capture him in Pakistan on September 10, 2002. He apparently survived, for he was reported as captured alive in March 2003. Until 2004, it was considered a security breach for a U.S. government source even to mention his name, although he was publicly identified as the "9/11 mastermind" in 2002.

    The 9/11 Commission asked to see Mohamed and other prisoners, and was denied. The CIA instead provided English-language transcripts of interrogations supposedly held at the Guantanamo prison, and told the Commission no videotapes of such interrogations existed. The Commission made no fuss about this denial of access, although its report portrays Mohamed in particular as the most important planner of the September 11th plot.

    The Report cites Mohamed, Binalshibh and Zubaydah uncritically as primary sources, without expressing a shred of doubt that the transcripts constitute the mens' words, that the words are genuine and unedited, or that the prisoners really are who the CIA says they are. This is despite the fact that Ernest May, one of the architects of the Report, admitted in a May 2005 memoir that the Commission "never had full confidence in the interrogation reports as historical sources." One top CIA official throws out an estimate that as much as 90 percent of information gleaned from Mohamed (or is that "Mohamed"?) is unreliable.

    We learned this week that CIA videotapes of at least some of these supposed interrogations -- tapes which were previously said not to have existed! -- are now said to have been destroyed in 2005. So far the CIA has copped to destroying hundreds of hours of tapes of Abu Zubaydah and of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, also identified as an Al Qaeda leader (captured in 2002, never produced in public).

    The CIA claims -- bizarrely -- that this was done to protect the identities of the interrogators (apparently the Agency's 19th-century video technology is incapable of blurring out faces or distorting voices on a tape). The corporate media floated the idea that the motive was to cover up the use of torture, possibly waterboarding. But as the "evidence" from which the official 9/11 fable lives disappears further into a black box, naturally any breathing skeptic must wonder to what extent the tapes, or even the prisoners, existed in the first place. And granting that the tapes existed, was the motive behind their destruction to hide torture, or to hide evidence? Even a defender of the official story like former CIA agent Robert Baer knows this latest twist only adds to the stink of obstruction and fakery in everything the intelligence community says about 9/11. Gerald Posner, meanwhile, finds occasion to repeat a story told to him and to other sources such as Ron Suskind (author of The One Percent Solution), of how Zubaydah was supposedly duped by the CIA into naming three Saudi princes and a Pakistani general as accomplices to the terror network. All four of these personages subsequently turned up dead, the three princes in fact killed in separate incidents within a single week.

    (Thanks to Paul Thompson and KJF for assists.)
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  10. #40
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    Jan 2005
    Torture tapes


    When the CIA tells you that a piece of evidence has been destroyed, you should react as skeptically as you would to the death of a Marvel supervillain.

    As you know, CIA Deputy Director of Operations Jose Rodriguez reportedly made the decision to destroy tapes of prisoner interrogation, allegedly to protect the identities of the interrogators. This action, we are told, ran contrary to the wishes of Porter Goss, who then ran the Agency.

    According to Jon Ponder on BradBlog, a federal prosecutor reports the continued existence of either the same tapes or similar ones.

    Charles Rosenberg, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, wrote that his office viewed two videotapes of CIA interrogations of al-Qaida suspects as recently as September 19 and October 18 of this year --- contrary to Hayden's statement that the tapes were destroyed in 2005.
    Larisa makes much the same point. This PDF gives you the actual letter from USA Rosenberg.

    Larry Johnson compares the alleged destruction of these torture tapes to the "family jewels" -- a catch-all term for high-level CIA misdeeds uncovered in the 1970s. The most notorious of these "jewels" was the Agency's MKULTRA program. Richard Helms told both Congress and the CIA Inspector General that he ordered the destruction of all the voluminous documentation created by this massively-funded, cutting-edge research project. That statement was a lie. Those documents still exist.

    So do the "nonexistent" interrogation tapes. Bank on it.

    Added note: Here's an interesting response from "canuckjournalist," one of Larisa's readers:

    I did research for Gerald Posner a couple of years ago; my best guess is that if he didn't see those tapes, he had viva voce evidence from an eyewitness who did.

    As an old intelligence reporter [CBC and Globe and Mail, Toronto], my best theory here is that it's the Saudis who're being protected here. It's not beyond the realm of possibility---it's even likely---that Saudi intelligence officers were in on the Zubaydeh torture sessions.

    Those faces or accents would give the game away and reveal the depth of Bush administration complicity with the Saudis, eg, the Jedda 'visa express'/9-11 attack team misidentification; the 'escape flights' to Riyadh after 9/11; the serial murder/suicides of the Saudi princes...and that doesn't begin to address Pakistani/ISI complicity.
    Even before Posner wrote his egregious Case Closed, some folks thought that he was spookier than the Winchester mansion. His testimony to Congress on the Josef Mengele mystery was very strange, especially when compared to the reportage in his subsequent book. But that -- as I say too often -- is a tale for another time.

    The idea of Saudi participation in the torture sessions is very intriguing. Let me mention another possibility: Israeli participation. We've heard odd reports of Israeli "experts" showing up at Abu Ghraib. Is it really so unthinkable to suspect that they helped in the interrogation of Zubaydah?

    Don't expect Gerry to talk about that idea any time soon.

    Ron Suskind has argued that Zubaydah was a minor player, a logistical "go to" guy, not a high-level planner. According to Suskind, Zubaydah is also loonier than Daffy Duck. Bush painted a very different picture, of course.

    Perhaps the tapes would prove that the Suskind version is closer to the truth.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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