CIA "destroyed rendition interrogation tapes"
Of course there's no useful intelligence to be gleaned. And could it maybe, just maybe, have something to do with them not wanting the public to see its horrible torture techniques?
The CIA destroyed video evidence of severe interrogation techniques used on al-Qaeda operatives detained under the agency’s controversial rendition programme, the New York Times reported today.
The decision to destroy two videotapes was taken in November 2005 amid increasing media attention on the practise of extraordinary rendition, under which detainees are flown to secret locations abroad to be held outside the reach of US law, and interrogation methods. The footage was disposed of in order to shield agents from retaliation and prosecution, the report said, citing former and current government officials.
The tapes reportedly showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terrorism suspects - including Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in CIA custody - to coercive interrogation techniques.
CIA chief Gen. Michael Hayden on Thursday told colleagues that the decision to destroy the tapes was made “within the CIA,” in order to protect the safety of undercover officers and because they were no longer of intelligence value, the report said.
Zubaydah, wounded when he was captured in Pakistan, was fooled in a fake flag operation to believe that the Saudis held him. Instead of being afraid of the ‘Saudis,’ he demanded to talk to three Saudi princes (one, the nephew of the King, who happened to be in the U.S. on 9/11). He gave his interrogators the private cell phone numbers of all 3. He did the same regarding the chief of Pakistan's air force.
After the U.S. told the Saudis and Pakistanis of Zubaydah's finger pointing, all four men had tragic 'accidents.' The King's nephew died of complications from liposuction at the age of 43. A day later, the 41 year old Prince named by Zubaydah died in a one-car accident on his way to the funeral of the King’s nephew. The third named prince, age 25, died a week later of "thirst," according to the Saudi Royal Court. And shortly after that, the chief of Pakistan’s air force died when his plane exploded with his wife and 15 of his top aides on board
When my book was published, CIA officials trashed it 'off the record,' but made no public comment. I have always held the same position. There is (or was) firm evidence of what transpired, of whether my reporting was accurate or not. Make the interrogation tapes public and then we'll know whether one of the top al Qaeda operatives accused leading Saudi royals and a top Pakistani military man - now all dead - of being his sponsors. And accused two of them – the King’s nephew and the Pakistani air force chief – of having advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks. Now, suddenly coincidence of coincidence, the CIA says the Zubaydah interrogation tapes are destroyed. How convenient.
The CIA's admission that it filmed the interrogation of terrorism suspects and then destroyed the tapes will wreck the chances of convicting them, a lawyer representing Guantanamo Bay prisoners said on Friday.
"First, it's a criminal offence to destroy evidence," said Clive Stafford Smith, head of British-based legal charity Reprieve.
"Second, if you do, the American case law is quite clear: the charges get dismissed against the individual if it's evidence that would have helped the defence," he told Reuters.
CIA Director Michael Hayden says his agency destroyed videotapes of two top al Qaeda operatives in 2002 because the agency feared keeping them "posed a security risk."
Mr. Hayden, in an email to agency employees which became public Thursday, caused a stir on Capitol Hill, where member of the Senate Intelligence Committee immediately vowed to conduct an investigation.
In his email, Mr. Hayden told employees the House and Senate intelligence committee leaders were told of the agency's intention to destroy the tapes, in an effort to protect the identity of the questioners.
The director also said the agency's internal watchdog viewed the tapes and concluded the interrogation practices were legal.
The tapes were destroyed in 2005.