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December 29, 2019

CIA lawyers defend destroying of tapes

first_img 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champThe former official spoke on condition of anonymity because there is a continuing Justice Department inquiry into the matter. He said he is sympathetic to Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., the former chief of the clandestine branch, who has been described by intelligence officials as having authorized the destruction of the tapes. The former official said he was concerned that Rodriguez was being unfairly singled out for blame in the destruction of the tapes. The CIA has said the two interrogations shown in the videotapes occurred in 2002, and that the taping of interrogations stopped that year. On Monday, however, a lawyer representing a former prisoner who said he was held by the CIA said the prisoner saw cameras in interrogation rooms after 2002. In describing the decision to destroy the tapes, current and former officials said John A. Rizzo, the agency’s top lawyer at the time, was not asked for final approval before the tapes were destroyed, although Rizzo had been involved in discussions for two years about the tapes. WASHINGTON – Lawyers within the clandestine branch of the Central Intelligence Agency gave written approval in advance to the destruction in 2005 of hundreds of hours of videotapes documenting interrogations of two al-Qaida lieutenants, according to a former senior intelligence official with direct knowledge of the episode. The involvement of agency lawyers in the decision-making would widen the scope of the inquiries into the matter that have now begun in Congress and within the Justice Department. Any written documents are certain to be a focus of government investigators. The former intelligence official acknowledged that there had been nearly two years of debate among government agencies about what to do with the tapes, and that lawyers within the White House and the Justice Department had in 2003 advised against a plan to destroy them. But the official said CIA officials had continued to press the White House for a firm decision, and that the CIA was never given a direct order not to destroy the tapes. “They never told us, `Hell, no,”‘ he said. “If somebody had said, `You cannot destroy them,’ we would not have destroyed them.” last_img

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