CIA destroyed 92 torture tapes, US government says



United States government lawyers said on Monday that the CIA incinerated 92 videotapes containing footage of torture applied on several “war on terrorism” detainees. The decision to destroy the tapes was taken in November 2005 by CIA official Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., who at the time headed the Agency’s National Clandestine Service. Interestingly, Rodriguez took the decision to destroy the videotapes just as the public concern over alleged torture of CIA detainees increased, causing considerable anxiety at Langley. Moreover, Rodriguez had the videotapes destroyed even though CIA lawyers advised him that “getting rid of the recordings was sloppy and unwise”. Nevertheless, observers believe that the disclosure of the exact number of incinerated videotapes is unlikely to make a difference in the ongoing criminal investigation into the incident. The Washington Post quotes “sources” who say the investigation is about to conclude and is “not expected […] to secure criminal indictments against Rodriguez and other agency operations personnel” involved in the videotapes’ destruction. Last January, departing CIA Director Michael V. Hayden revealed that US President Barack Obama privately assured him “he has no plans to launch a legal inquiry” into the CIA’s use of controversial interrogation methods in the “war on terrorism”. Mr. Hayden also stated that Mr. Obama offered similar guarantees to then Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnel, during a secret meeting in Chicago in December 2008.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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