The government has acknowledged destroying 92 videotapes, including those containing interrogations of a high-level al-Qaida lieutenant who claimed he suffered physical and mental torture at the hands of the CIA. The tapes were destroyed in 2005.
The judge said a contempt finding would be impractical and told the CIA to investigate itself and report how it will prevent employees from destroying information in the future. He noted that the CIA adopted two new policies regarding document preservation to ensure that destruction of any documents outside of routine management of CIA materials will not occur without a review by lawyers to ensure they are preserved for legal proceedings or congressional oversight activity.
“The protocols should lead to better communication and more complete written records within the agency and across the government when an issue of document destruction or retention arises within the agency,” he said. “The CIA’s new protocols should lead to greater accountability within the agency and prevent another episode like the videotapes’ destruction.”
Alexander Abdo, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project, wrote the ACLU was “profoundly disappointed by the court’s unwillingness to label as contempt what it describes as the CIA’s ‘dereliction.’”
“We also strongly disagree with the court’s finding that the CIA has ‘remedied’ the destruction,” Abdo wrote. “The truth is that the CIA destroyed evidence of torture, and the destruction of this evidence has made it harder to hold high-level officials accountable for the abuse that they authorized.”
Carly Sullivan, a spokeswoman for federal lawyers who argued the case, said the government had no comment on the ruling.
In his ruling, the judge noted that the ACLU had cited a recently published article by a former general counsel for the CIA that accused the CIA’s former deputy director of operations of defying orders and going behind the top CIA lawyer’s back to destroy the videotapes.
He said the argument premised on the belief that one high-ranking official defied orders and destroyed the tapes undermines the ACLU’s contention that the CIA as an agency should be held in contempt for the conduct.
Still, the judge wrote, “the lapses of individuals cannot excuse the failures of the agency.” He said the CIA had an obligation to identify or produce the videotapes and “cannot be excused in its dereliction because of particular individuals’ lapses.”
The administration of President George W. Bush had said some tapes were destroyed to protect the identities of the government questioners while the Department of Justice was debating whether the interrogation tactics were legal.
An ACLU lawsuit already has forced the release of legal memos authorizing harsh interrogation methods, including waterboarding, a type of simulated drowning, and slamming suspects into walls, techniques described by critics as torture.
(What is) Torture
C.I.A. TORTURES CHILDREN
2,500 juveniles detained in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay since 2001
Pres. Barack Obama has condoned TORTURE
Army Now Says G.I. Was Beaten in Role
Amnesty International Denounces Torture in California Prisons
US to Turn Over Emails in Manning Case
Torture Pics BANNED by Obama-Obama has effectively decriminalized torture http://generalstrikeusa.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/512/
Former Interrogator Rebukes Cheney for Torture Speech http://generalstrikeusa.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/former-interrogator-rebukes-cheney-for-torture-speech-2/
Hinchey Report SUBJECT: CIA Activities in Chile FOIA U.S. Dept. of State
C.I.A & the MAFIA & the Global Drug Trade (Then & Now)
Larry NeumeisterOriginally posted here: