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Thread: CIA Admits It Destroyed Tapes Of Interrogations

  1. #41
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    Justice Dept.: Back off on CIA tapes

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071215/...cia_videotapes

    By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer Sat Dec 15, 6:25 PM ET

    WASHINGTON - The controversy over destroyed CIA interrogation tapes is shaping up as a turf battle involving the courts, Congress and the White House, with the Bush administration telling its constitutional coequals to stay out of the investigation.

    The Justice Department says it needs time and the freedom to probe the destruction of hundreds of hours of recordings of two suspected terrorists. After Attorney General Michael Mukasey refused congressional demands for information Friday, the Justice Department filed late-night court documents urging a federal judge not to begin his own inquiry.

    The administration argued it was not obligated to preserve the videotapes and told U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy that demanding information about them "could potentially complicate the ongoing efforts to arrive at a full factual understanding of the matter."

    The documents represent the first time the government has addressed the issue in court. In the papers, acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey S. Bucholtz said Kennedy lacked jurisdiction and he expressed concern that the judge might order CIA officials to testify.

    Congressional inquiries and criminal investigations frequently overlap and it is not uncommon for the Justice Department to ask lawmakers to ease off. The request for the court to stand down is more unusual. Judges take seriously even the suggestion that evidence was destroyed, but they also are reluctant to wade into political debates.

    Legal experts say it will be up to Mukasey, a former judge who was only recently took over as the nation's chief law enforcer, to reassure Congress and the courts during his first high-profile test.

    "We're going to find out if the trust Congress put in Attorney General Mukasey was well placed," said Pepperdine Law professor Douglas W. Kmiec, who served in the Justice Department during the Reagan administration. "It's hard to know on the surface whether this is obstruction or an advancement of a legitimate inquiry."

    Kennedy ordered the administration in June 2005 to safeguard "all evidence and information regarding the torture, mistreatment, and abuse of detainees now at the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay."

    Five months later, the CIA destroyed the interrogation videos, which involved suspected terrorists Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri

    Bucholtz argued that the tapes were not covered by Kennedy's court order because Zubaydah and al-Nashiri were not at the Guantanamo military prison in Cuba. The men were being held overseas in a network of secret CIA prisons. By the time President Bush acknowledged the existence of those prisons and the prisoners were transferred to Guantanamo, the tapes had been destroyed.

    Lawmakers had reacted angrily to Mukasey's refusal Friday to give Congress details of the administration's investigation. He explained that doing so could raise questions about whether the inquiry was vulnerable to political pressure and said his department generally does not release information on pending cases.

    "It's clear that there's more to this story than we have been told, and it is unfortunate that we are being prevented from learning the facts. The executive branch can't be trusted to oversee itself," according to a statement by the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee, Reps. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, and Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich.

    They said "parallel investigations occur all of the time, and there is no basis upon which the attorney general can stand in the way of our work." Mukasey's decision, lawmakers said, blocks congressional oversight of his department.

    David Remes, a lawyer who represents a Yemeni national and other detainees, has called for a court hearing. He says the government was required to keep the tapes and he wants to be sure other evidence is not being destroyed.

    Even if Kennedy agrees that the government did not violate his order, he still could schedule a hearing. He could raise questions about obstruction or spoliation, a legal term for the destruction of evidence in "pending or reasonably foreseeable litigation."

    Those are serious matters, but Kennedy does not necessarily have to hold a hearing right away, said K. Lee Blalack, a Washington defense lawyer and former counsel to a Senate investigative committee.

    "If the department takes six months on this and reports back, nothing prevents the judge from taking up the issue then," Blalack said.

    Kmiec said much will depend on how much confidence Kennedy has in the Justice Department. The judge also might order a private hearing to protect national security, Kmiec said.

    Zubaydah was the first high-value detainee taken by the CIA in 2002. He told his interrogators about alleged Sept. 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 terrorist attacks.

    Al-Nashiri is the alleged coordinator of the 2000 suicide attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, which killed 17 sailors. Like Zubaydah, he is now at Guantanamo.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  2. #42
    simuvac Guest
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/16/sp...th&oref=slogin

    The Patriots? The CIA? Could there be a connection?


  3. #43
    dMole Guest

    AHA!

    Tim has cracked the case! Truth be known, I'm much more afraid of New England than I am of al CIAda. Did you see what the Pats did to my Steelers? Shameful.

    Some people say that the undefeated New England Patriots have ties to al Qaeda. Just like that elusive, wily, evil OBL. [paragraph Faux News parody/sarcasm meter sez: TILT! TILT!]

  4. #44
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    Hoekstra defies Bush administration, pledges investigation into destroyed CIA tapes

    http://www.kmeg14.com/Global/story.a...av=menu609_2_1

    Associated Press - December 16, 2007 8:13 PM ET

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee is defying the Bush administration and promising to investigate the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes.

    The Justice Department has urged Congress not to look into the matter and advised intelligence officials not to cooperate with a legislative inquiry.

    Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Congressman Peter Hoekstra (HUK'-struh) said he thinks Congress will issue subpoenas. He lambasted the intelligence community as "incompetent," "arrogant" and "political."

    The CIA says it destroyed videos showing the harsh interrogation of top al-Qaida suspects. The CIA's director says the 2002 videos were destroyed in 2005 for fear the tapes would leak and reveal the identities of interrogators.

    The Bush administration has asked Congress to postpone its review until it's clear where the government's preliminary inquiry will lead. They say they don't know how long that will take.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  5. #45
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    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  6. #46
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    Judge Orders Hearing On CIA Interrogation Tapes

    http://cbs4.com/national/CIA.tapes.h....2.613415.html

    12/18/2007

    WASHINGTON (CBS) ― A federal judge has ordered a hearing on whether the Bush administration violated a court order by destroying CIA interrogation videos of two Al Qaeda suspects.

    U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy rejected calls from the Justice Department to stay out of the matter. He ordered lawyers to appear before him Friday morning.

    In June 2005, Kennedy ordered the 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."

    Five months later, the CIA destroyed the interrogation videos. The recordings involved suspected terrorists Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. The Justice Department argued that the videos weren't covered by the order because the two men were being held in secret CIA prisons overseas, not at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

    David Remes, a lawyer who represents Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo Bay, asked for the court hearing. He said the government was obligated to keep the tapes and he wants to be sure other evidence is not being destroyed.

    "We want more than just the government's assurances. The government has given these assurances in the past and they've proven unreliable," Remes said. "The recent revelation of the CIA tape destruction indicates that the government cannot be trusted to preserve evidence."

    Kennedy did not say why he was ordering the hearing or what he planned to ask. Even if the judge accepts the argument that government did not violate his order, he still could raise questions about obstruction or spoliation, a legal term for the destruction of evidence in "pending or reasonably foreseeable litigation."

    The Justice Department did not immediately comment. Its lawyers are working with the CIA to investigate the destruction of the tapes and had urged Kennedy to give them time to investigate.

    Remes urged Kennedy not to comply.

    "Plainly the government wants only foxes guarding this henhouse," Remes wrote in court documents this week.

    The Bush administration has taken a similar strategy in its dealings with Congress on the issue. Last week, the Justice Department urged lawmakers to hold off on questioning witnesses and demanding documents because that evidence is part of the joint CIA-Justice Department investigation.

    However, Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, defied the Bush administration Sunday and pledged to investigate the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes.

    Attorney General Michael Mukasey, on the other hand, refused to give Congress details of the government's investigation into the matter Friday, saying doing so could raise questions about whether the inquiry was vulnerable to political pressure.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  7. #47
    PhilosophyGenius Guest
    Mohammed al-Kaboom: Okay okay, I'll admit it, we were protected by the ISI and CIA.

    XYZ: .........what the hell are we going to do now?.....This is being recorded....

    ABC: ......mmmm......good question.....

  8. #48
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    What is Probably in the Missing Tapes

    http://www.911truth.org/article.php?...71214165538365

    By Naomi Wolf, Monday, December 13, 2007*

    To judge from firsthand documents obtained by the ACLU through a FOIA lawsuit, we can guess what is probably on the missing CIA interrogation tapes -- as well as understand why those implicated are spinning so hard to pretend the tapes do not document a series of evident crimes. According to the little-noticed but extraordinarily important book Administration of Torture: A Documentary Record from Washington to Abu Ghraib and Beyond (Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh, Columbia University Press, New York 2007), which presents dozens of original formerly secret documents - FBI emails and memos, letters and interrogator "wish lists," raw proof of the systemic illegal torture of detainees in various US-held prisons -- the typical "harsh interrogation" of a suspect in US custody reads like an account of abuses in archives at Yad Vashem.

    More is still being hidden as of this writing -- as those in Congress now considering whether a special prosecutor is needed in this case should be urgently aware: "Through the FOIA lawsuit," write the authors, "we learned of the existence of multiple records relating to prisoner abuse that still have not been released by the administration; credible media reports identify others. As this book goes to print, the Bush administration is still withholding, among many other records, a September 2001 presidential directive authorizing the CIA to set up secret detention centers overseas; an August 2002 Justice Department memorandum advising the CIA about the lawfulness of waterboarding [Italics mine; nota bene, Mr. Mukasey] and other aggressive interrogation methods; documents describing interrogation methods used by special operations forces in Iraq and Afghanistan; investigative files concerning the deaths of prisoners in U.S. custody; and numerous photographs depicting the abuse of prisoners at detention facilities other than Abu Ghraib.'

    What we are likely to see if the tapes documenting the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah and Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri are ever recovered is that the "confessions" of the prisoners upon which the White House has built its entire case for subverting the Constitution and suspending civil liberties in this country was obtained through methods such as electrocution, beating to the point of organ failure, hanging prisoners from the wrists from a ceiling, suffocation, and threats against family members ("I am going to find your mother and I am going to fuck her" is one direct quote from a US interrogator). On the missing tapes, we would likely see responses from the prisoners that would be obvious to us as confessions to anything at all in order to end the violence. In other words, if we could witness the drama of manufacturing by torture the many violently coerced "confessions" upon which the whole house of cards of this White House and its hyped "war on terror" rests, it would likely cause us to reopen every investigation, including the most serious ones (remember, even the 9/11 committee did not receive copies of the tapes); shut down the corrupt, Stalinesque Military Commissions System; turn over prisoners, the guilty and the innocent, into a working, accountable justice system operating in accordance with American values; and direct our legal scrutiny to the torturers themselves -- right up to the office of the Vice President and the President if that is where the investigations would lead.

    By the way: "The prohibition against torture [in the law] is considered to be a jus cogens norm, meaning that no derogation is permitted from it under any circumstances."

    This is what the FOIA documents report, belying White House soundbites that "we don't torture" and explaining the intent pursuit on the part of the CIA and the White House of the current apparent obstruction of justice:

    Late 2002 -- the FBI objects to the illegality of abuses being put into place by the Defense Department in its "special interrogation plan" to use isolation, sleep deprivation and menacing with dogs against prisoners.

    Dec 2, 2002 -- Defense Secretary Rumsfeld personally issues a directive authorizing the use of stress positions, hooding, removal of clothing, and the terrorizing of inmates at Guantanamo with dogs.

    Dec 3, 2002 -- at Baghram, interrogators kill an Afghan prisoner "by shackling him by his wrists to the wire ceiling above his cell and repeatedly beating his legs. A postmortem report finds abrasions and contusions on the prisoner's face, head, neck, arms and legs and determines that the death was a "homicide" caused by "blunt force injuries."

    April 16, 2003 -- Rumsfeld approves yet another directive for abusive interrogation.

    This directive for Afghanistan restores to the interrogators' arsenal many forms of torture that had been resisted by the FBI. [Notably, the FBI had resisted complying with the direct commission of torture since as early as 2002 because, as its Behavioral Analysis Unit complained to the Defense Department at that time in an internal email, "not only are these tactics at odds with legally permissible interviewing techniques [italics mine: in other words, all concerned know these are apparent war crimes]...but they are being employed by personnel in GTMO who have little, if any, experience eliciting information for judicial purposes." In other words, as any trained interrogator knows, the abuses are both doubtless illegal and certainly ineffective for getting real intelligence. [Jaffer and Singh, Timeline of Key Events, pp. 45-65,op. cit.]

    Oct 22 2003 -- Final autopsy report relating to death of "52 y/o Iraqi Male, Civilian Detainee" held by U.S. forces in Nasiriyah, Iraq. Prisoner was found to have "died as a result of asphyxia...due to strangulation."

    November 14, 2003 -- a sworn statement of a soldier stationed at Camp Red, Baghdad, states that "I saw what I think were war crimes" and that "the chain of command....allowed them to happen."

    May 13, 2004 -- a sworn statement of the 302nd Military Intelligence Battalion recounts an incident in which "interrogators abused 17-year-old son of prisoner in order to 'break' the prisoner."

    May 18, 2004 -- a Privacy Act statement of an Abu Ghraib sergeant notes that prisoners had been forced to stand "naked with a bag over their head, standing on MRE boxes and their hand[s] spread out...holding a bottle in each hand."

    May 24, 2004 -- Sworn statement of interrogator who arrived at Abu Ghraib in October 2003, discussing use of military dogs against juvenile prisoners.

    June 16, 2004 -- Marine Corps document describing abuse cases between September 2001 and June 2004, including "substantiated" incidents in which marines electrocuted a prisoner and set another's hands on fire.

    Undated: Sworn statement of screener who arrived at Abu Ghraib in September 2003, indicating that prisoners at Asamiya Palace in Baghdad had been beaten, burned and subjected to electric shocks.

    Subsequent internal documents record prisoners being stripped, made to walk into walls blindfolded, punched, kicked, dragged about the room, observed to have bruises and burn marks on their backs, and having their jaws deliberately broken. Still other reports document further incidents classified by the military itself as probable murders committed by US interrogators.

    The book also reveals an extraordinary original transcript of a Dept. of the Army Inspector General interview with Lieutenant General Randall Marc Schmidt. Lt. Gen. Schmidt had interfaced with MG Geoffrey Miller on the one hand -- the most brutal overseer of such abuses, the one who was sent to "Gitmo-ize" other prisons -- and the honorable JAG military lawyers on the other hand, over the abuses under investigation at that time. [Lt. Gen. Schmidt advised MG Miller of his rights under Article 31 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice at that time -- in other words, those involved know something serious is at stake, p. a-16].

    The transcript of this internal document reveals Lt. Gen. Schmidt's own words that it was his understanding that the directives to commit these acts, many of which are apparently war crimes, came right from the top.

    The interview was not primarily intended to be a public document:

    "An Inspector General" notes the document, "is an impartial fact-finder for the Directing Authority Testimony taken by an IG and reports based on that testimony may be used for official purposes. Access is normally restricted to persons who clearly need the information to perform their official duties. [italics mine]. In some cases, disclosure to other persons may be required by law or regulation or may be directed by proper authority." As in the case, clearly, here -- though the immense implications of this privately taken testimony have not reverberated fully yet in a public forum: "I thought the Secretary of Defense in good faith was approving techniques," testified Lt. Gen. Schmidt. "In good faith after talking to him twice. I know that -- and these weren't interrogations or interviews of him. This was our hour and forty-five minutes and then another hour and fifteen kind of thing were [sic] we sat in there and had these discussions with him." [Testimony of Lt. Gen. Randall M Schmidt, Taken 24 August 2005 at Davis Mountain Air Force Base, Arizona, Dept. of the Army Inspector General, Investigations Division, pp. a-30 to a-53, Jaffer and Singh, op. cit].

    So what should Congress know as it decides what is to be done?

    We torture, illegally, by directive; the directives come from the top; those who torture know it is probably criminal; when we torture prisoners, the guilty and the innocent, they will tell us anything they think we want to hear -- including implicate themselves falsely, as many reports from Human Rights Watch and other rights organizations testify to -- to make the torture stop; and the White House routinely uses that faked or coerced unverifiable "intelligence" to buttress its wholesale assault on our liberties.

    As the CIA tries to spin its apparent crimes and claim that its waterboarding and other forms of criminal torture "saved lives" -- while conveniently offering no evidence to back that up, and while the administration withholds evidence to the contrary from the lawyers of the detainees -- we should bear in mind that the decades of research on torture summarized in the magisterial survey "The Question of Torture" show beyond the shadow of a doubt that prisoners being tortured will indeed "say anything." When American prisoners were tortured by the North Vietnamese, their confessions were phrased in Communist cliches.

    We should note too -- as the White House tries to muddy the waters by pretending that there has ever been a "debate" about such acts as these -- that the US in the past prosecuted waterboarding itself: when the Japanese had waterboarded US prisoners they were convicted with sentences of fifteen years of hard labor.

    We should also bear in mind that the Bush White House has deliberately crafted its memos and laws -- such as the Bybee/Gonzales "torture memo" and the Military Commissions Act of 2006 -- with a keen eye to seeking indemnification of its own guilt regarding having committed evident crimes, because those involved know quite well that acts committed could be criminal acts. (An historical note worth mentioning, when we consider how hyperalert the Bush White House has been to the issue of seeking retroactively to protect itself and its subordinates from prosecution for war and other crimes, is that the Nuremberg Trials eventually swept up influential Nazi industrialists such as Fritz Thyssen of IG Farben -- who relied on Auschwitz slave labor -- and with whom Prescott Bush had collaborated in amassing the Bush family millions; some of the sentences given to those industrialists found guilty in the postwar trials were severe.) For a moment postwar, the legal spotlight was also about to search out and hold accountable the several prominent US investors who had partnered with Nazi industrialists (see the exhaustively documented study of US/Nazi corporate collaboration, IBM and the Holocaust.)

    Prosecution for war crimes and other criminal acts, which the administration so clearly recognizes that it may well have committed -- which its legislation so clearly shows it realized it may well commit in advance of the commission -- is the only consequence the Bush team seems to be really afraid of as it attempts its multiple subversions of the rule of law. This is why the nation's grassroots call for a truly independent investigation into possible criminality is so very urgent and so necessary to restore the rule of law in our nation.

    Mr. Mukasey could look up his own department's files and understand that waterboarding is a war crime; not only that, the US Military prosecuted waterboarding as a war crime itself in 1902 -- it had been used against prisoners in the Phillipines -- and those Americans who had committed it received convictions from the military. It is hopeless to rely on the Justice Department.

    An independent special prosecutor must be appointed. The people who are found guilty, in America, must face justice.

    Let the investigations begin.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  9. #49
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    Bush Lawyers Discussed Fate of C.I.A.Tapes

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/19/wa...us&oref=slogin

    By MARK MAZZETTI and SCOTT SHANE
    Published: December 19, 2007

    WASHINGTON — At least four top White House lawyers took part in discussions with the Central Intelligence Agency between 2003 and 2005 about whether to destroy videotapes showing the secret interrogations of two operatives from Al Qaeda, according to current and former administration and intelligence officials.

    The accounts indicate that the involvement of White House officials in the discussions before the destruction of the tapes in November 2005 was more extensive than Bush administration officials have acknowledged.

    Those who took part, the officials said, included Alberto R. Gonzales, who served as White House counsel until early 2005; David S. Addington, who was the counsel to Vice President Dick Cheney and is now his chief of staff; John B. Bellinger III, who until January 2005 was the senior lawyer at the National Security Council; and Harriet E. Miers, who succeeded Mr. Gonzales as White House counsel.

    It was previously reported that some administration officials had advised against destroying the tapes, but the emerging picture of White House involvement is more complex. In interviews, several administration and intelligence officials provided conflicting accounts as to whether anyone at the White House expressed support for the idea that the tapes should be destroyed.

    One former senior intelligence official with direct knowledge of the matter said there had been “vigorous sentiment” among some top White House officials to destroy the tapes. The former official did not specify which White House officials took this position, but he said that some believed in 2005 that any disclosure of the tapes could have been particularly damaging after revelations a year earlier of abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

    Some other officials assert that no one at the White House advocated destroying the tapes. Those officials acknowledged, however, that no White House lawyer gave a direct order to preserve the tapes or advised that destroying them would be illegal.

    The destruction of the tapes is being investigated by the Justice Department, and the officials would not agree to be quoted by name while that inquiry is under way.

    Spokesmen for the White House, the vice president’s office and the C.I.A. declined to comment for this article, also citing the inquiry.

    The new information came to light as a federal judge on Tuesday ordered a hearing into whether the tapes’ destruction violated an order to preserve evidence in a lawsuit brought on behalf of 16 prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The tapes documented harsh interrogation methods used in 2002 on Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, two Qaeda suspects in C.I.A. custody.

    The current and former officials also provided new details about the role played in November 2005 by Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., then the chief of the agency’s clandestine branch, who ultimately ordered the destruction of the tapes.

    The officials said that before he issued a secret cable directing that the tapes be destroyed, Mr. Rodriguez received legal guidance from two C.I.A. lawyers, Steven Hermes and Robert Eatinger. The officials said that those lawyers gave written guidance to Mr. Rodriguez that he had the authority to destroy the tapes and that the destruction would violate no laws.

    The agency did not make either Mr. Hermes or Mr. Eatinger available for comment.

    Current and former officials said the two lawyers informed the C.I.A.’s top lawyer, John A. Rizzo, about the legal advice they had provided. But officials said Mr. Rodriguez did not inform either Mr. Rizzo or Porter J. Goss, the C.I.A. director, before he sent the cable to destroy the tapes.

    “There was an expectation on the part of those providing legal guidance that additional bases would be touched,” said one government official with knowledge of the matter. “That didn’t happen.”

    Robert S. Bennett, a lawyer for Mr. Rodriguez, insisted that his client had done nothing wrong and suggested that Mr. Rodriguez had been authorized to order the destruction of the tapes. “He had a green light to destroy them,” Mr. Bennett said.

    Until their destruction, the tapes were stored in a safe in the C.I.A. station in the country where the interrogations took place, current and former officials said. According to one former senior intelligence official, the tapes were never sent back to C.I.A. headquarters, despite what the official described as concern about keeping such highly classified material overseas.

    Top officials of the C.I.A’s clandestine service had pressed repeatedly beginning in 2003 for the tapes’ destruction, out of concern that they could leak and put operatives in both legal and physical jeopardy.

    The only White House official previously reported to have taken part in the discussions was Ms. Miers, who served as a deputy chief of staff to President Bush until early 2005, when she took over as White House counsel. While one official had said previously that Ms. Miers’s involvement began in 2003, other current and former officials said they did not believe she joined the discussions until 2005.

    Besides the Justice Department inquiry, the Congressional intelligence committees have begun investigations into the destruction of the tapes, and are looking into the role that officials at the White House and Justice Department might have played in discussions about them. The C.I.A. never provided the tapes to federal prosecutors or to the Sept. 11 commission, and some lawmakers have suggested that their destruction may have amounted to obstruction of justice.

    Newsweek reported this week that John D. Negroponte, who was director of national intelligence at the time the tapes were destroyed, sent a memorandum in the summer of 2005 to Mr. Goss, the C.I.A. director, advising him against destroying the tapes. Mr. Negroponte left the job this year to become deputy secretary of state, and a spokesman for the director of national intelligence declined to comment on the Newsweek article.

    The court hearing in the Guantánamo case, set for Friday in Washington by District Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. over the government’s objections, will be the first public forum in which officials submit to questioning about the tapes’ destruction.

    There is no publicly known connection between the 16 plaintiffs — 14 Yemenis, an Algerian and a Pakistani — and the C.I.A. videotapes. But lawyers in several Guantánamo cases contend that the government may have used information from the C.I.A. interrogations to identify their clients as “unlawful combatants” and hold them at Guantánamo for as long as six years.

    “We hope to establish a procedure to review the government’s handling of evidence in our case,” said David H. Remes, a lawyer representing the 16 detainees.

    Jonathan Hafetz, who represents a Qatari prisoner at Guantánamo and filed a motion on Tuesday seeking a separate hearing, said the videotapes could well be relevant.

    “If the government is relying on the statement of a witness under harsh interrogation, a videotape of the interrogation would be very relevant,” said Mr. Hafetz, of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University law school.

    In addition to the Guantánamo court filings, the American Civil Liberties Union has asked a federal judge to hold the C.I.A. in contempt of court for destroying the tapes. The A.C.L.U. says the destruction violated orders in a Freedom of Information Act case brought by several advocacy groups seeking materials related to detention and interrogation.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  10. #50
    dMole Guest

    Gonzales Was There for Talks

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/...l?iref=topnews

    Newspaper: Gonzales in on tape destruction talks


    • Story Highlights
    • New York Times reports White House lawyers discussed action with CIA
    • Former attorney general was administration counsel at the time
    • Harriet Miers and Cheney's chief of staff also named
    • Judge orders hearing on whether destruction violated court order
    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Alberto Gonzales and other top White House lawyers took part in discussions about destroying CIA videotapes of interrogation of two al Qaeda suspects, the New York Times reported Tuesday night on its Web site.

    At least four top White House lawyers discussed the issue with the CIA between 2003 and 2005, according to current and former administration and intelligence officials the newspaper did not identify.

    Gonzales, the former attorney general who served as White House counsel until early 2005, was among those who took part, the officials said.

    Also involved, according to the Times' sources, were David Addington, who was the counsel to Vice President Dick Cheney and is now his chief of staff; John Bellinger III, who until January 2005 was the senior lawyer at the National Security Council; and Harriet Miers, who succeeded Gonzales as White House counsel.

    One former senior intelligence official told the Times there had been "vigorous sentiment" among some top White House officials to destroy the tapes.

    Other officials asserted that no one at the White House advocated destroying the tapes, the newspaper said. Those officials added that no White House lawyer gave a direct order to preserve the tapes or advised that destroying them would be illegal.

    U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy on Tuesday ordered Justice Department lawyers to appear before him at 11 a.m. Friday to discuss whether destroying the tapes, which showed two al Qaeda suspects being questioned, violated a court order.

    The Justice Department has urged Congress and the courts to back off, saying its investigators need time to complete their inquiry. Government attorneys say the courts don't have the authority to get involved in the matter and could jeopardize the case.

    For now, at least, Kennedy disagreed. Attorneys in unrelated cases, meanwhile, began pressing other judges to demand information about the tapes.

    In June 2005, Kennedy 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."

    Five months later, the CIA destroyed the interrogation videos. The recordings involved suspected terrorists Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

    The Justice Department argued that the videos weren't covered by the order because the two men were being held in secret CIA prisons overseas, not at the Guantanamo Bay prison.

    David Remes, a lawyer who represents Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo Bay, said the government was obligated to keep the tapes and he wants to be sure other evidence is not being destroyed.

    "We want more than just the government's assurances. The government has given these assurances in the past and they've proven unreliable," Remes said. "The recent revelation of the CIA tape destruction indicates that the government cannot be trusted to preserve evidence."

    Kennedy did not say why he was ordering the hearing or what he planned to ask. Even if the judge accepts the argument that the government did not violate his order, he still could raise questions about obstruction or spoliation, a legal term for the destruction of evidence in "pending or reasonably foreseeable litigation."

    Also Tuesday, lawyers for a man convicted of terrorism charges alongside Jose Padilla asked a federal judge in Miami to force the government to turn over any remaining evidence regarding Zubaydah's interrogation.

    Prosecutors have acknowledged that Zubaydah provided information identifying Padilla as an al Qaeda operative working on a purported "dirty bomb" plot, leading to his May 2002 arrest at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

    Lawyer Ken Swartz said information about his client, convicted terrorism supporter Adham Amin Hassoun, might be found in those interrogations.

    In a third case, this one involving another Guantanamo Bay detainee, attorney Jonathan Hafetz of the Brennan Center for Justice asked U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler in Washington to schedule a hearing. Kessler's order, filed in July 2005, is almost identical to Kennedy's, and Hafetz says he worries key evidence was destroyed.

    The Justice Department had no comment on Kennedy's decision to hold a hearing. Its lawyers are working with the CIA to investigate the destruction of the tapes and urged Kennedy to give them space and time to let them investigate.

    Remes had urged Kennedy not to comply.

    "Plainly the government wants only foxes guarding this henhouse," Remes wrote in court documents this week.

    The Bush administration has taken a similar strategy in its dealings with Congress on the issue. Last week, the Justice Department urged lawmakers to hold off on questioning witnesses and demanding documents because that evidence is part of a joint CIA-Justice Department investigation.

    Attorney General Michael Mukasey also refused to give Congress details of the government's investigation into the matter Friday, saying doing so could raise questions about whether the inquiry was vulnerable to political pressure.

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