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Thread: CIA Admits It Destroyed Tapes Of Interrogations

  1. #91
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Harman releases Feb. '03 letter warning CIA not to destroy tapes
    Lawmaker's Letter Warned Destroying Tapes Would 'Reflect Badly' on the CIA

    The Associated Press
    Published: Thursday January 3, 2008

    The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee warned in a 2003 letter that destroying videotapes of terrorist interrogations would put the CIA under a cloud of suspicion, according to a newly declassified copy of the letter.

    "Even if the videotape does not constitute an official record that must be preserved under the law, the videotape would be the best proof that the written record is accurate, if such record is called into question in the future," Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., wrote in a Feb. 10, 2003 letter to then-CIA general counsel Scott Muller. "The fact of destruction would reflect badly on the agency."

    Harman's office released the declassified letter on Thursday, a day after the Justice Department announced it had opened a criminal investigation into the destruction of the tapes. The letter notes that a copy also went to then-CIA Director George Tenet.

    Last month, the CIA acknowledged destroying videos showing the harsh interrogation of two top al-Qaida suspects — Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

    CIA Director Michael Hayden said the videos, which were made in 2002, were destroyed in 2005 out of fear the tapes would leak and reveal the identities of interrogators. Hayden said the sessions were videotaped to provide an added layer of legal protection for officers using tough interrogation methods authorized by President Bush to help break down recalcitrant prisoners.

    Harman's letter, sent when memories of the 2001 terrorist attacks were still fresh, acknowledges that the CIA was faced with balancing security and liberty while protecting the country from another attack. But in a reference to the harsh interrogations, she asked Muller "whether the most senior levels of the White House have determined that these practices are consistent with the principles and policies of the United States. Have enhanced techniques been authorized and approved by the president?"

    In his response to Harman's letter, Muller did not address her concerns about destroying the tapes. Instead, he reassured her that the interrogation techniques used were legal. And he added: "I think it would be fair to assume that policy as well as legal matters have been addressed within the Executive Branch."

    The CIA declassified Harman's 2003 letter so that she could speak publicly about her concerns then and now. At the time, Harman was the senior Democrat on the intelligence panel.

    Harman was one of several officials who recommended against destroying the tapes. One official familiar with the investigation said Alberto Gonzales, who served as White House counsel and then attorney general, advised against destroying the videotapes. Another administration attorney, John Bellinger, then a lawyer at the National Security Council, has told colleagues that administration lawyers who discussed the matter in 2003 came to a consensus that the tapes should not be destroyed, said a senior official familiar with Bellinger's account of the 2003 White House discussion. "The recommendation in 2003 from the White House was that the tapes should not be destroyed," the official said.

    President Bush has said his "first recollection" of being told about the tapes and their destruction was when Hayden briefed him about it last month.

    House Intelligence committee Chairman Sylvestre Reyes, D-Texas, has scheduled a hearing for Jan. 16, at which he plans to question Jose Rodriguez, the former head of the CIA's National Clandestine Service who ordered the tapes destroyed, and acting CIA general counsel John Rizzo.

    On Wednesday, Attorney General Michael Mukasey appointed John Durham, a veteran federal prosecutor in Connecticut, to oversee a full criminal investigation that could further challenge the Bush administration's handling of terrorism suspects.

    Durham, a 25-year veteran of the Justice Department, has a reputation as one of the nation's most relentless prosecutors. He was appointed to investigate the FBI's use of mob informants in Boston, a probe that sent former FBI agent John Connolly to prison.

    Prosecutors from the Eastern District of Virginia, which includes the CIA's headquarters in Langley, Va., had removed themselves from the case. CIA Inspector General John L. Helgerson, who worked with the Justice Department on the preliminary inquiry, also removed himself.

    "The Justice Department went out and got somebody with complete independence and integrity," said former Connecticut U.S. Attorney Stanley Twardy, who worked with Durham. "No politics whatsoever. It's going to be completely by the book and he's going to let the chips fall where they may."

    Durham gained national prominence following the 1989 murder of Mafia underboss William Grasso, which led to one of the biggest mob takedowns in U.S history. He then turned to Connecticut street gangs, winning dozens of convictions and putting some gang leaders in jail for life. Former Attorney General Janet Reno hand-picked Durham to lead the investigation into the FBI's use of mob informants in Boston.

    Durham, a Republican, has shown no tolerance for corruption in either party. He supervised the corruption investigation that sent former Republican Connecticut Gov. John G. Rowland and several members of his administration to prison.

    Harman's full letter and the CIA's response are available here and reprinted below:

    February 10, 2003

    Mr. Scott Muller
    General Counsel
    Central Intelligence Agency
    Washington, DC 20505

    Dear Mr. Muller:

    Last week’s briefing brought home to me the difficult challenges faced by the Central Intelligence Agency in the current threat environment. I realize we are at a time when the balance between security and liberty must be constantly evaluated and recalibrated in order to protect our nation and its people from catastrophic terrorist attack and I thus appreciate the obvious effort that you and your Office have made to address the tough questions. At the briefing you assured us that the [redacted] approved by the Attorney General have been subject to an extensive review by lawyers at the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Justice and the National Security Council and found to be within the law.

    It is also the case, however, that what was described raises profound policy questions and I am concerned about whether these have been as rigorously examined as the legal questions. I would like to know what kind of policy review took place and what questions were examined. In particular, I would like to know whether the most senior levels of the White House have determined that these practices are consistent with the principles and policies of the United States. Have enhanced techniques been authorized and approved by the President?

    You discussed the fact that there is videotape of Abu Zubaydah following his capture that will be destroyed after the Inspector General finishes his inquiry. I would urge the Agency to reconsider that plan. Even if the videotape does not constitute an official record that must be preserved under the law, the videotape would be the best proof that the written record is accurate, if such record is called into question in the future. The fact of destruction would reflect badly on the Agency.

    I look forward to your response.



    Text of CIA General Counsel Muller’s Response to Representative Harman:

    28 February 2003

    The Honorable Jane Harman

    Ranking Democratic Member

    Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

    House of Representatives

    Washington, DC 20515

    Dear Ms. Harman:

    Thank you for your letter of 10 February following up on the briefing we gave you and Congressman Goss on 5 February concerning the Central Intelligence Agency’s limited use of the handful of specially approved interrogation techniques we described. As we informed both you and the leadership of the Intelligence Committees last September, a number of Executive Branch lawyers including lawyers from the Department of Justice participated in the determination that, in the appropriate circumstances, use of these techniques is fully consistent with US law. While I do not think it appropriate for me to comment on issues that are a matter of policy, much less the nature and extent of Executive Branch policy deliberations, I think it would be fair to assume that policy as well as legal matters have been addressed within the Executive Branch.

    I enjoyed meeting you, albeit briefly, and I look forward to seeing you again.


    Scott W. Muller
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #92
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    Jan 2005
    Will Justice Go After Cheney?

    Dan Froomkin

    How high will the newly-launched criminal investigation into the CIA's destruction of interrogation tapes go? And will it eventually target Vice President Cheney?

    Cheney has been the administration's central figure on all things related to torture. It was Cheney who pushed so hard for "flexibility" in interrogations of terrorist suspects. Former secretary of state Colin Powell's chief of staff, Lawrence Wilkerson, has long argued that it is "clear that the Office of the Vice President bears responsibility for creating an environment conducive to the acts of torture and murder committed by U.S. forces in the war on terror."

    In the weeks proceeding the November 2005 destruction of the torture tapes, Cheney was pulling out all the stops in a failed lobbying effort to get fellow Republicans on the Hill to exempt the CIA from a proposed torture ban. Cheney's arm-twisting was so unseemly that a Washington Post editorial dubbed him the "Vice President for Torture." (When the law passed, Cheney's office authored a " signing statement" for Bush, in which he reserved the right to ignore it.)

    So it should have come as no surprise when the New York Times reported last month that David S. Addington, Cheney's chief of staff and former legal counsel, was among the three White House lawyers who participated in at least one key meeting about the videotapes in 2004.

    (For background on Addington, the indomitable and secretive agent of Cheney's will, see this May 2006 profile by Chitra Ragavan in U.S. News; this July 2006 profile by Jane Mayer in the New Yorker, and my Sept. 5 column.)

    The initial spin from the White House was that only Harriet E. Miers, then a deputy White House chief of staff, had been briefed about the tapes -- and that she had advised against their destruction.

    But with anything related to torture, it's pretty clear the CIA took its orders from Cheney -- via Addington. And how plausible is it that, in his exchanges with the CIA, Addington advised against the tapes' destruction? Or that the CIA would have done it if he had told them not to? Isn't it more likely that he supported the idea, either overtly or with a nod and a wink?

    So one has to wonder what will happen if Addington is hauled in front of a grand jury to testify not just about his relevant conversations with the CIA, but about his conversations with Cheney.

    "Did you, Mr. Addington, indicate in any way to the CIA that destroying the tapes would be acceptable, or even preferable? Did you do so based on instructions from your boss, the vice president?"

    Wouldn't it be interesting to hear Addington answer those questions under oath?

    Then again, he might just lie.

    The last time a federal prosecutor got close to Cheney, of course, was in the CIA leak case. Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who investigated the outing of Valerie Plame as a CIA agent, indicated during and after the trial of Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, that he had been hot on the trail of the vice president himself until Libby obstructed his investigation.

    There was considerable evidence that it was Cheney who instructed Libby to out Plame as part of a no-holds-barred crusade against her husband, an administration critic. Libby's own notes showed he first heard about Plame from Cheney. But when the FBI came calling, Libby denied remembering anything about that or any other related conversations with Cheney, choosing instead to make up a fanciful story about having learned of Plame's identity from NBC's Tim Russert.

    When Libby was indicted and stepped down as chief of staff, Cheney's choice to replace him was obvious: He chose Addington.

    The Coverage
    Dan Eggen and Joby Warrick write in The Washington Post: "The Justice Department said yesterday that it has opened a formal criminal investigation into the CIA's destruction of interrogation tapes, appointing a career prosecutor to examine whether intelligence officials broke the law by destroying videos of exceptionally harsh questioning of terrorism suspects.

    "The criminal probe, announced by Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, significantly escalates a preliminary inquiry into whether the CIA's actions constituted an obstruction of justice. . . .

    "To oversee the probe, Mukasey appointed John Durham, a career federal prosecutor from Connecticut, bypassing the department's Washington headquarters and the local U.S. attorney's office in Alexandria, which recused itself from the case. . . .

    "Leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees vowed to continue their separate inquiries, including a hearing on Jan. 16 at which they plan to grill Rodriguez. Various committee members have accused the CIA of not properly informing them about how the tapes came to be made and, later, destroyed, despite CIA statements to the contrary."

    Mark Mazzetti and David Johnston write in the New York Times: "The announcement is the first indication that investigators have concluded on a preliminary basis that C.I.A. officers, possibly along with other government officials, may have committed criminal acts in their handling of the tapes, which recorded the interrogations in 2002 of two operatives with Al Qaeda and were destroyed in 2005.

    "C.I.A. officials have for years feared becoming entangled in a criminal investigation involving alleged improprieties in secret counterterrorism programs. Now, the investigation and a probable grand jury inquiry will scrutinize the actions of some of the highest-ranking current and former officials at the agency. . . .

    "The question of whether to destroy the tapes was for nearly three years the subject of deliberations among lawyers at the highest levels of the Bush administration. . . .

    "Among White House lawyers who took part in discussions between 2003 and 2005 about whether to destroy the tapes were Mr. Gonzales, when he was White House counsel; Harriet E. Miers, Mr. Gonzales's successor as counsel; David S. Addington, who was then counsel to Vice President Dick Cheney; and John B. Bellinger III, then the legal adviser to the National Security Council. It is unclear whether anyone outside the C.I.A. endorsed destroying the tapes."

    And here's a sobering point from Mazzetti and Johnston: "The new Justice Department investigation is likely to last for months, possibly beyond the end of the Bush administration."

    Greg Gordon writes for McClatchy Newspapers that, according to an unnamed U.S. government official, "Jose Rodriguez, the CIA's chief of clandestine services, had ordered the destruction of the tapes after consulting agency lawyers. However, the lawyers had 'an expectation . . . that additional bases would be touched,' the official said.

    "It couldn't be learned whether Rodriguez, who's declined to speak publicly, will assert that he was acting on orders from above, but former colleagues say he was a cautious officer."

    Evan Perez writes in the Wall Street Journal (subscription required): "Some Democrats . . . have pushed for the Justice Department to name an independent special counsel and aren't pleased with the appointment of Mr. Durham, who will report directly to the deputy attorney general. The law governing independent counsels expired in 1999, when Congress didn't renew it. In the case of the investigation into the leak of the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame, overseen by Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney in Chicago, some critics of the Bush administration complained that the probe never answered key questions because he didn't publish a final investigative report, as an independent counsel would do.

    "Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said of Mr. Mukasey's move: 'Because of this action, the Congress and the American people will be denied -- as they were in the Valerie Plame matter -- any final report on the investigation.'"

    Dafna Linzer writes in The Washington Post: "John H. Durham, who was appointed yesterday to lead a criminal probe into the destruction of the CIA's interrogation tapes, oversaw corruption charges against a Republican governor in Connecticut, put away FBI agents in Boston and prosecuted many of New England's Mafia bosses. . . .

    "Former colleagues said the deputy U.S. attorney is known for seeking maximum sentences, shunning plea bargains and avoiding the spotlight. Four friends said they could not recall him losing a case in more than 30 years as a prosecutor, almost all of it spent fighting organized crime and gang violence in Connecticut. . . .

    "Several courtroom adversaries compared Durham, a Roman Catholic reared in the Northeast, to Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the staid U.S. attorney in Chicago who served as special prosecutor in the investigation of the leaked identity of a CIA officer. 'He's Fitzgerald with a sense of humor,' said Hugh O'Keefe, a Connecticut criminal defense lawyer who has known Durham for 20 years.

    "But Durham has had little experience with national security issues and with cases involving executive authority that appear to be less than black-and-white. His probe may require calling lawyers and aides to Bush, Vice President Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the CIA before a grand jury to testify about their knowledge of the tapes' destruction."

    Matt Apuzzo notes for the Associated Press: "Since leaving the White House shortly before Christmas, President Bush has not addressed the tapes' destruction. Before going to Camp David, then his ranch in Crawford, Texas, Bush said he was confident that investigations by Congress and the Justice Department 'will end up enabling us all to find out what exactly happened.'

    "He repeated his assertion that his 'first recollection' of being told about the tapes and their destruction was when CIA Director Michael Hayden briefed him on it in early December."

    Opinion Watch
    The New York Times editorial board writes: "It is essential that the truth of what was on those tapes and how they came to be destroyed now comes out and that all of the government officials involved in their destruction be held legally accountable -- whether they are C.I.A. officers or top White House officials who spent three years debating whether to destroy the tapes.

    "The tapes, which depicted the interrogations of two Al Qaeda operatives in 2002, may themselves have amounted to evidence of a crime -- torture -- carried out under the president's authority. The decision to destroy them appears to be one more move by the Bush administration to cover up the many abuses it has committed in the name of fighting terrorism."

    The Washington Post editorial board writes: "In all likelihood, the Justice Department investigation will focus narrowly on whether the destruction of the tapes constituted a crime; it will probably not delve into whether the tapes depicted a crime, namely torture. Congress should continue to demand answers about the administration's past and current detention and interrogation policies."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  3. #93
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    Jan 2005
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  4. #94
    simuvac Guest

    January 6, 2008
    Destruction of More Than C.I.A. Tapes

    To the Editor:

    Re “The Right Move on the C.I.A. Tapes” (editorial, Jan. 3), about the formal criminal investigation into the destruction of Central Intelligence Agency videotapes, which will be led by John H. Durham, a career federal prosecutor:

    You forcefully state many of the reasons the destruction of the interrogation videotapes needs to be investigated. But you mention only in passing that Mr. Durham is not an independent prosecutor, but reports, ultimately, to the same department and man, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, who named him — a department that is answerable to the same administration that may be responsible for actions under investigation. Isn’t this unacceptable?

    The intermingling of legal chains of command and reporting procedures makes the Durham nomination one that will require careful scrutiny.

    Anthony Pell
    Salt Point, N.Y., Jan. 3, 2008

    To the Editor:

    Is there one compelling reason why anything short of appointing an independent counsel to investigate the destruction of C.I.A. interrogation videotapes is adequate?

    It is impossible for a reasonable person to look at the last seven years and conclude that this administration is capable of policing itself.

    If the Democrats relent on this point, there is no point in voting for them in November.

    Tracy Brooking
    Kennesaw, Ga., Jan. 3, 2008

    To the Editor:

    Re “Stonewalled by the C.I.A.,” by Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton (Op-Ed, Jan. 2):

    It is not surprising that Mr. Kean and Mr. Hamilton, who led the 9/11 Commission, are surprised and dismayed to find out that the C.I.A. interrogation videotapes were not mentioned by the C.I.A. or the White House. What is surprising is that they thought the commission would receive the information it sought from this administration.

    The Bush administration has been couched in secrecy and deceit whether it is discussing Iraq, Iran, the use of torture and rendition, or the violation of the privacy of American citizens. The undermining of our Constitution has been a hallmark of this administration, lent credibility by the likes of Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Kean, Colin L. Powell and many Republican as well as Democratic senators who assume that that the administration acts in good faith.

    How can we as citizens expect a responsive government when those who represent us in speaking to power cannot receive an honest response?

    The media and the Senate rose up in anger at President Bill Clinton for lying about his personal affairs. What deeds are needed for these voices to rise again against this administration?

    Harry Hagendorf
    New Rochelle, N.Y., Jan. 2, 2008

    To the Editor:

    Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton make it absolutely clear that the critically important mission of the 9/11 Commission was intentionally obstructed by the Bush administration’s failure to provide the panel with the now-destroyed videotapes. This obstruction was compounded by the administration’s failure to even inform the commission of the existence of the videotapes.

    This turn of events cannot, however, be a surprise. The comically absurd refusal of the president and the vice president to be interviewed separately by the commission provided ample evidence of how far the administration would go to avoid revelation of the full truth.

    By accepting embarrassing limits on its investigation, the commission left itself a victim of the known and still unknown efforts to conceal the full story of 9/11. Does anyone seriously believe that the destruction, much less the existence, of the videotapes is the last “discovery” of important information kept from the commission?

    Ira Belsky
    Franklin Lakes, N.J., Jan. 2, 2008

    To the Editor:

    Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton use the word “obstruction” to describe the C.I.A.’s destruction of videotapes depicting prisoners being subjected to waterboarding and other barbaric interrogation practices. The word is apt, but a complete characterization of the C.I.A.’s actions should include the word “contempt.”

    The A.C.L.U. and other advocacy organizations filed Freedom of Information Act requests in 2003 and 2004 for materials concerning the abuse of prisoners in C.I.A. custody. In August 2004, a federal judge ordered the C.I.A. and other federal agencies to release responsive materials or explain why they should be withheld from the public.

    Since then, various federal agencies have released tens of thousands of pages. Virtually nothing, however, has been released by the C.I.A.

    In legal papers filed two weeks ago, we argued that by destroying some of the materials it was required to identify, the C.I.A. violated the judge’s order and placed itself in contempt.

    The Freedom of Information Act was enacted to ensure an informed public and an accountable government. There is no hope of achieving those ends if federal agencies are permitted to disregard orders issued by federal judges and withhold and even destroy information that is incriminating.

    Jameel Jaffer
    Amrit Singh
    New York, Jan. 2, 2008

    The writers are on the staff of the A.C.L.U. and are co-authors of a book about the torture and abuse of prisoners.

    To the Editor:

    The headline for the Op-Ed article by Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton may say “Stonewalled by the C.I.A.,” but I say “Stonewalled by Republicans.”

    Victor Kelley
    Monroeville, Pa., Jan. 2, 2008

  5. #95
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    Jan 2005
    More CIA torture videos

    Nat Hentoff, The Jamestown Sun
    Published Wednesday, January 09, 2008

    By any basic definition of criminal obstruction of justice, the CIA did just that in 2005 by destroying videotapes made in its secret prisons of what the president approvingly calls “coerced interrogations.” Thereby the CIA defied orders by federal judges and the 9/11 Commission to keep intact all records of interrogations of detainees.

    This internationally criticized removal of hard evidence of CIA tortures is supposedly under official investigation by the Justice Department in partnership with the CIA. There is also a second investigation by committees of Congress. But the latter was at first limited by Attorney General Michael Mukasey’s refusal to turn over to Congress records and witnesses of possible Justice Department involvement.

    Now that Mukasey has apparently relented, Democratic Sen. Joe Biden is right in calling for a special counsel because both these investigations lack credibility. For instance, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel — in its 2002 “torture memos” — allowed the CIA to engage in such practices as waterboarding (shown in these vanished CIA tapes).

    Those 2002 permissions were withdrawn the following year but secretly reinstituted by the Justice Department in 2005. And in a classified executive order in July 2006, the president, without objection from the Justice Department, has allowed CIA’s secret prisons to remain open, and we don’t know what’s going on in them.

    As for Congress’s investigation, it was that body in 2005 (the Detainees Treatment Act) and in 2006 (the Military Commissions Act) that further expanded the use of “coercive interrogations” by the CIA and other armed services.

    Whether an independent special prosecutor will be appointed, with a credibility the CIA and Congress do not have, depends on Mukasey. As of this writing, he says he prefers to wait until the current compromised investigations, as I call them, are concluded. But he is strongly disinclined to bring in a special counsel.

    In any case, Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois has opened another important dimension of discovering other documentation of the CIA’s violations of our own antitorture statute and corollary international treaties we have signed. Writing to Mukasey on Dec. 12, Durbin points out that:

    “According to (the) Chicago Tribune, the interrogation of a detainee who was allegedly rendered to Egypt by the CIA may have been recorded.” These CIA kidnapping “renditions” to a number of countries known to torture prisoners have been widely documented by human rights organizations and the press (both in this country and abroad).

    Therefore, Durbin’s letter to the attorney general continues: “This raises questions whether Egypt or other countries to which the CIA has rendered detainees have made video or audio recordings of these detainees being interrogated — and whether such recordings have been destroyed by or at the request of the CIA.”

    Durbin asks Mukasey that the Justice Department’s inquiry into the CIA’s own destruction of such videos in 2005 now “be expanded to cover” visual and/or audio tapes of coercive interrogations in other countries the CIA has depended on to “break” prisoners it is unable to.

    A similar letter was sent by Durbin on Dec. 12 to Gen. Michael Hayden, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, also asking whether other countries to which the CIA has rendered prisoners have recordings of the special interrogation techniques that were used on them.

    In that letter to Hayden, Durbin makes several intriguing points. First, “you acknowledge that in 2002 the CIA videotaped interrogations of detainees, but you asserted that ‘videotaping stopped in 2002.’”

    However, he adds, “According to The Chicago Tribune, Abu Omar was detained in February 2003, and he believes that his Egyptian interrogators recorded ‘the sounds of my torture and my cries.’”

    Durbin then asks Hayden a fair question: “Indeed, if the CIA renders a detainee to a foreign country for the purpose of interrogation, it seems reasonable to expect that the CIA would monitor the interrogation by video or audio recording or other means.”

    After all, since the CIA regards itself as a premier intelligence organization, in the process of sending a prisoner it believes has extremely valuable information to be extracted in another country, surely the CIA would want proof from that country of the information it had wrenched from the prisoner.

    Durbin also asks Hayden: “Have any such recordings been reviewed to verify compliance with diplomatic assurances by those countries (to the United States) not to torture detainees?”

    The letters to Hayden and Mukasey ask for replies no later than Dec. 19. As of this writing, I have no information that answers have been received. A similar letter by Durbin has been sent to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with the same deadline.

    Nat Hentoff is a nationally renowned authority on the First Amendment and the Bill of Rights and author of many books, including “The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance” (Seven Stories Press, 2004).
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  6. #96
    simuvac Guest

    Published on Wednesday, January 9, 2008 by The Associated Press
    Judge Won’t Inquire Into CIA Tapes Case

    by Matt Apuzzo

    A federal judge refused on Wednesday to delve into the destruction of CIA interrogation videos, saying there was no evidence the Bush administration violated a court order and the Justice Department deserved time to conduct its own investigation.

    The decision by U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy was a victory for the Bush administration, which had urged the courts not to wade into a politically charged issue already being investigated by the Justice Department, CIA and Congress.

    The CIA has acknowledged last month that in 2005 it destroyed videos of officers using tough interrogation methods while questioning two al-Qaida suspects. Lawyers for other terrorism suspects quickly asked Kennedy to hold hearings, saying the executive branch had proved itself unreliable and could not be trusted to investigate its own potential wrongdoing.

    Kennedy disagreed, ruling that attorneys hadn’t “presented anything to cause this court to question whether the Department of Justice will follow the facts wherever they may lead and live up to the assurances it made to this court.”

    Attorney General Michael Mukasey recently appointed a prosecutor to conduct a criminal investigation into destruction of the tapes. John Durham, a career public corruption and organized crime prosecutor, has a reputation for being independent.

    Kennedy, a former prosecutor who was appointed to the bench by President Clinton, said he had been assured that the Justice Department would report back if it found evidence that a court order had been violated.

    “There is no reason to disregard the Department of Justice’s assurances,” Kennedy said.

    Attorney David Remes had said a judicial inquiry might involve testimony from senior lawyers at the White House and Justice Department. Government attorneys, appearing in court Dec. 21, said such hearings would disrupt and possibly derail the Justice Department inquiry.

    Lawyers for other terrorism suspects have filed similar requests before other judges. While Kennedy’s decision doesn’t require those judges to follow suit, it will help bolster the Justice Department’s argument that they should not wade into the investigation.

    Kennedy had ordered the government not to destroy any evidence of mistreatment or abuse of detainees held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But the two suspects interrogated on video Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri were not held at Guantanamo Bay. They were interrogated in secret CIA prisons overseas.

    Kennedy said Wednesday he saw no evidence those tapes were covered by his court order.

    Remes, who represents Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo Bay, argued that destruction of the tapes may have violated a more general rule prohibiting the government from destroying any evidence that could be relevant in a case, even if not directly noted in a court order.

    Copyright 2008 The Associated Press

  7. #97
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    They couldn't find ANYTHING “to cause this court to question whether the Department of Justice will follow the facts wherever they may lead and live up to the assurances it made to this court?!?!?”
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  8. #98
    simuvac Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Gold9472
    They couldn't find ANYTHING “to cause this court to question whether the Department of Justice will follow the facts wherever they may lead and live up to the assurances it made to this court?!?!?”
    Like, what about THE LAST SEVEN YEARS?

  9. #99
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    Jan 2005
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  10. #100
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    Jan 2005
    Ex-C.I.A. Aide Won’t Testify on Tapes Without Immunity

    Published: January 10, 2008

    WASHINGTON — A lawyer for Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., the former Central Intelligence Agency official who in 2005 ordered the destruction of videotapes of harsh interrogations of prisoners at a secret site overseas, has told Congress that Mr. Rodriguez will not testify about the tapes without a grant of immunity, a person familiar with the discussions said Wednesday.

    The House Intelligence Committee has scheduled a closed hearing on the tapes’ destruction for next Wednesday, and John A. Rizzo, the C.I.A.’s acting general counsel, has agreed to testify.

    The committee issued a subpoena last month for Mr. Rodriguez’s testimony. Since then, the Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into the tapes’ destruction. Mr. Rodriguez’s lawyer, Robert S. Bennett, wrote to the committee last week, saying that in light of the investigation he would not allow Mr. Rodriguez to offer testimony that might subsequently be used against him, according to the person familiar with the discussions, who would not speak for attribution because of their confidential nature.

    The immunity demand creates a quandary for the House committee, which rejected a request from Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey to postpone the Congressional inquiry. An offer of immunity for Mr. Rodriguez’s testimony could make prosecuting him difficult or impossible, legal experts say.

    Mr. Rodriguez, who recently retired from the C.I.A., led the agency’s clandestine service in November 2005 when he sent a cable ordering the destruction of the tapes. The decision, which he made after consulting with two agency lawyers, followed a two-year debate inside the Bush administration.

    Mr. Bennett declined to comment, as did a spokesman for Representative Silvestre Reyes, the Texas Democrat who is chairman of the committee.

    In a related matter, Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr., of the Federal District Court in Washington, declined Wednesday to order a hearing on the tapes’ destruction because of the criminal investigation. Lawyers representing 11 Yemeni men held by the United States at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, argued last month that the tapes’ destruction raised “grave concerns” that the government had defied Judge Kennedy’s 2005 order to preserve evidence in their case.

    In his three-page order, Judge Kennedy said the videotapes, recorded at a secret C.I.A. site overseas, had not been recorded at Guantánamo and were therefore not directly relevant to the treatment of prisoners at the detention center in Cuba.

    Moreover, the judge wrote, his decision was “influenced by the assurances of the Department of Justice” that its criminal investigation would cover the issue of whether the tapes’ destruction “was inconsistent with or violated any legal obligations,” including his 2005 order.

    Marc D. Falkoff, a law professor at Northern Illinois University and one of the lawyers for the Yemeni prisoners, said it was “not surprising that Judge Kennedy would take the Justice Department at its word.”

    Lawyers in several other cases in which Guantánamo prisoners are challenging their detention are still seeking hearings on the tapes’ destruction.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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