No Charges for CIA Torture Tape Destruction

Submitted by tnjp on November 10, 2010 - 4:36pm.

No charges for CIA tape destruction: Justice Dept
By Jeremy Pelofsky
Tue Nov 9, 2010 5:16pm EST

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - No CIA personnel will face criminal charges for destroying videotapes of harsh interrogations of terrorism suspects, the U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday.

While the decision will spare the CIA and the Obama administration the potential backlash and embarrassment that a trial could have generated, another federal probe continues into possible abuse of detainees by CIA personnel.

The videotapes probe was launched in January 2008 by then-U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey after revelations that the CIA in 2005 had destroyed hundreds of hours of videotapes of the interrogations of terrorism suspects Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

Zubaydah was one of three terrorism suspects who was subjected to waterboarding, a procedure in which the person experiences simulated drowning. It was believed that the tapes included footage of the waterboarding...

Human rights groups and some lawmakers call waterboarding torture, but former President George W. Bush strongly defended its use in his new memoir released on Tuesday.

Federal prosecutor John Durham conducted an "exhaustive investigation" into the destruction of the videotapes, Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

"As a result of that investigation, Mr. Durham has concluded that he will not pursue criminal charges for the destruction of the interrogation videotapes," he said.

He declined to comment on the possibility of other charges such as perjury or false statements.

A CIA spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

The interrogations took place in 2002 and the CIA said that it acted lawfully in destroying the tapes because it needed to guard against leaks that could endanger interrogators. Critics accused the agency of covering up illegal acts.

Lawmakers had questioned whether the destruction flouted court orders and investigators' demands that the CIA hand over evidence in various terrorism cases.

A lawyer for the former head of the CIA's clandestine branch, Jose Rodriguez, who is believed to have made the decision about the tapes, said they were pleased that no charges would be filed for the destruction.

"This is the right decision because of the facts and the law," lawyer Robert Bennett said in a statement. He declined to comment on the possibility of other charges.

In addition to probing the destruction of the tapes, the Obama administration drew criticism last year when Attorney General Eric Holder tasked Durham to examine whether CIA employees or contractors broke the law when they conducted harsh interrogations that went beyond approved limits.

That review, which is still ongoing, came after the Justice Department's inspector general recommended considering prosecution in such instances. Holder's decision reversed a conclusion by the previous Bush administration which decided against prosecutions.

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CIA May Face New Probe Over Destroyed Torture Videos

Submitted by tnjp on November 12, 2010 - 4:51pm.

Destroyed CIA tapes prompt 'new probe' 11 Nov 2010 The US government's record keeper says it will investigate cases of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) personnel allegedly destroying videotapes of torturing suspects. The announcement by US National Archives came one day after the US Justice Department cleared the CIA's former top clandestine officer Jose Rodriguez and other agents of the same charges. The CIA agents are accused of destroying videotapes showing waterboarding of terror suspects.

CIA May Face New Probe Over Destroyed Videos 11 Nov 2010 The CIA may face new legal challenges over its destruction of videotapes showing the waterboarding of terror suspects, NBC News reports, just two days after a special prosecutor cleared the agency's former top clandestine officer and others of any criminal charges for destroying the records... A spokeswoman for the National Archives and Records Administration, however, told NBC on Wednesday that the government's official records keeper may well reopen its own investigation into whether the CIA's destruction of the tapes was a violation of the Federal Records Act.

DoJ Probe of CIA Torture Evidence: Another Whitewash?

Submitted by tnjp on November 13, 2010 - 9:12pm.

Justice Department Probe of CIA Torture Evidence: Another Whitewash? |

ere’s why the Justice Department’s halt to its probe of CIA obstruction of justice involving torture looks like another whitewash.

The DOJ compromised its probe from the beginning in 2008 by assigning it to Connecticut federal prosecutor John Durham, whom courts have twice implicated in suppressing evidence. In one of those cases, a federal judge rebuked him also for what she described as “severe misconduct” during cross-examination.

As background on this week’s case, the DOJ announced Nov. 9 that it would not file obstruction of justice charges against CIA personnel for destroying in 2005 92 videotapes showing CIA interrogation of terrorism suspects, including waterboarding.

“This decision is stunning: There is ample evidence of a cover-up regarding the destruction of the tapes,” commented ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero. “The Bush administration was instructed by a court of law not to destroy evidence of torture, but that’s exactly what it did.”

No one should be surprised... read full article here

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