Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Credibility Just Keeps Getting Worse

According to the New York Times, back in 2005 the C.I.A. destroyed two videotapes of interrogations of Al Qaeda suspects:

"The Central Intelligence Agency in 2005 destroyed at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two Al Qaeda operatives in the agency’s custody, a step it took in the midst of Congressional and legal scrutiny about the C.I.A’s secret detention program, according to current and former government officials.

The videotapes showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terror suspects — including Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in C.I.A. custody — to severe interrogation techniques."

The C.I.A. explained this act by saying that the tapes posed a "serious security risk" to the C.I.A. operatives in the tapes and their families, as Al Qaeda might have tried to retaliate against them if they were able to identify them. (They did not explain why they couldn't have blocked out the faces of those involved, which would have addressed that risk).

The C.I.A. apparently lied when asked about the existence of any tapes:

"The recordings were not provided to a federal court hearing the case of the terror suspect Zacarias Moussaoui or to the Sept. 11 commission, which had made formal requests to the C.I.A. for transcripts and any other documentary evidence taken from interrogations of agency prisoners.

C.I.A. lawyers told federal prosecutors in 2003 and 2005, who relayed the information to a federal court in the Moussaoui case, that the C.I.A. did not possess recordings of interrogations sought by the judge in the case."
(emphasis added).

According to a legal expert, the destruction of the tapes and the cover-up of their existence should have legal consequences:

"John Radsan, who worked as a C.I.A. lawyer from 2002 to 2004 and is now a professor at William Mitchell College of Law, said the destruction of the tapes could carry serious legal penalties.

'If anybody at the C.I.A. hid anything important from the Justice Department, he or she should be prosecuted under the false statement statute,' he said."

It has been reported that the suspect in the tape, Abu Zubaydah, endured a number of nasty physical interrogation methods, including the controversial waterboarding technique, which involves near-suffocation.

Even C.I.A. officers admit that the release of videos would "provoke a strong reaction," which may explain why the C.I.A. wasn't too keen on anyone seeing them.

“People know what happened, but to see it in living color would have far greater power,” a former intelligence official said.

Lying and torture are both bad. Lying about torture is worse.

My question is, do you think anyone in Congress or the Justice Department will do anything about this? Or will they just let it slide, as they have everything else this administration and its cronies have done?


FreakyNick said...

The only thing that torture produces is responses from the recipients intended to end the torture, whether it's true or not.

Info gained this way cannot be trusted, the torture contaminates it, so why even consider using makes no sense using it.

the only thing it produces is sadistic pleasure for a psychotic, mentally ill, interrogators.

The destruction of the tapes proves we were doing bad things that need to be covered up.

dguzman said...

What a great fairy tale! Tell me that part again about how "If anybody at the C.I.A. hid anything important from the Justice Department, he or she should be prosecuted under the false statement statute," because that's the funniest fecking thing I've heard in a long long time.

Of course no one will do anything about it; no one has done anything about ANY of the abuses this government has inflicted since first stealing office in 2000. I hate to sound bitter and cynical, but the reality of the last seven years is that BushCo and its minions, both here and abroad, can literally get away with murder, perjury, destruction of evidence, grand theft, war crimes--need I go on?

Chris Dashiell said...

Once a country begins to torture, the spiritual rot starts spreading through the entire society. Torture corrupts the torturer.
Of course the CIA has a long history of burying evidence of its crimes.

Mary Ellen said...

Nothing will be done in the Justice Dept. with Mukasey at the helm and we all know that Congress won't do squat. There will be no justice in this case, I'm sorry to say. This isn't the America that I was taught about in school...this is more like Communist China

Mauigirl said...

Agree with all the comments. I don't believe anything will be done about it either. And so far I have no hope that whoever wins the presidency will make any substantive changes to the way things are being done. It is truly going to be the lesser of two evils. I wonder how much longer our government will survive under these conditions.

There was an op-ed piece in the Times yesterday saying we could learn something about democracy from Chavez in Venezuela; what a sad commentary on our times.

TomCat said...

Great minds, Maui. :-)

I would hope something would be done, but it won't. I have no doubt that the orders to destroy the tapes came from the top, to protect the Reich, the GOP, and the Fuhrer from war-crimes charges.

Fran said...

We live in a land where truth has no meaning.

Surely we all remember the line used by a Bush staffer in the NYTimes magazine years ago calling folks like us "the reality based community" or something like that and then dissing us.

That short sentence changed our lives.

For the worse.

LET'S TALK said...

If the "tapes" posed a "serious security risk" to the C.I.A. operatives in the tapes and their families.

Didn't outing Valerie Plames pose a "serious security risk" to the her, and her family?

Mauigirl said...

Hi Tomcat, it's just one more example of the lies and deception we keep seeing in this administration. I'm sure you're right, the orders came from the top.

Fran, it's very creepy that they call us the "reality based community" - and they DON'T want to be "reality based." No wonder their judgment is so bad.

Let's Talk, great point. Ironic how they can talk out of both sides of their mouths about these things.

Anonymous said...

We are not who we think we anymore. It's quite a sad state of affairs.

We were never the perfect country that we like to pretend we were. But we're so much worse now. So much so that it seems like it can't ever be fixed.

Yeah, that's me, total downer. Sorry to show up here and poo all over your great post, Mauigirl.

Larry said...

If there were 2 tapes there were 222 and who knows what else has been destroyed to cover up the genre of Bush.

Distributorcap said...

the duplicity that is going here is mind boggling...

they will do nothing --- NOTHING -- bush and cheney will weasle their way around this and somehow let the CIA off the hook

congress has had ZERO spine since being re-taken by dems, why would they have now?

btw for torture lovers like Rudy, Mitt and Duncan --- what do you think when our guys get captured and get tortured?

TomCat said...

Larry raises an excellent point. If they admit to two, how many more are there?

Mauigirl said...

DCup, I am feeling the same way about our country as you are so no apologies needed. It is a sad state of affairs.

Larry, I'm sure you're right - they probably destroyed many more than they have admitted to.

DCap, you're right, that's the whole problem - if we torture then we can't tell others not to do the same. And they will, for sure.

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Paul said...

Does the US not have the freedom of information act? It's being used in the UK