CIA Confirms 12 Destroyed Videotapes Depicted "Enhanced Interrogation Methods"
Government To Release Tape Destruction Records In ACLU Lawsuit On March 20
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NEW YORK – As part of an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit seeking information on detainee abuse, the government today provided new details about the content of interrogation videotapes destroyed by the CIA, specifically that 12 depict so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques." In documents filed in a New York federal court, the government also announced it would produce a complete list of summaries, transcripts or memoranda related to the videotapes by March 20. However, an inventory of the tapes provided to the court was nearly entirely redacted.
"The government is needlessly withholding information about these tapes from the public, despite the fact that the CIA's use of torture – including waterboarding – is no secret," said Amrit Singh, staff attorney with the ACLU. "This new information only underscores the need for full and immediate disclosure of the CIA's illegal interrogation methods. The time has come for the CIA to be held accountable for flouting the rule of law."
In December 2007, the ACLU filed a motion to hold the CIA in contempt for its destruction of the tapes in violation of a court order requiring the agency to produce or identify all records requested by the ACLU. That motion is still pending.
Earlier this week, the CIA acknowledged it destroyed 92 tapes of interrogations. According to today's documents, 90 tapes relate to one detainee and two tapes relate to another detainee. The tapes, some of which show CIA operatives subjecting suspects to extremely harsh interrogation methods, should have been identified and processed for the ACLU in response to its Freedom of Information Act request demanding information on the treatment and interrogation of detainees in U.S. custody. The tapes were also withheld from the 9/11 Commission, appointed by former President Bush and Congress, which had formally requested that the CIA hand over transcripts and recordings documenting the interrogation of CIA prisoners.
A copy of the government's letter to the court is available at: www.aclu.org/torturefoia/released/030609/hellerstein_letter.pdf
A copy of the redacted videotape inventory is available at: www.aclu.org/torturefoia/released/030609/videotape_inventory.pdf
A redacted description of the tapes is available at: www.aclu.org/torturefoia/released/030609/paragraph_77.pdf
The ACLU's contempt motion and related legal documents are available online at: www.aclu.org/torturefoia