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Note to CIA: Be Kind, Rewind

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April 10, 2009

Yesterday, the government sent a letter to the judge in our Torture FOIA case in response to a deadline that required them to provide a work plan for producing documents related to the 92 videotapes depicting illegal interrogation methods that were destroyed by the CIA.

Although the letter acknowledges that the destroyed tapes were made between April and December 2002, the letter said that the agency would provide reasons for withholding only 65 documents relating to interrogations conducted during August of 2002, while noting that August was the month during which Abu Zubaydah was subjected to the most intensive interrogations. The CIA’s unwillingness to produce details on interrogation-related documents for months other than August 2002 is highly suspect, especially in light of the fact that the Office of Legal Counsel did not give written authorizations to CIA interrogation methods until August 1, 2002. And, according to a DOJ Office of Inspector General report (PDF), Abu Zubaydah was subjected to “borderline torture” in the spring of 2002.

In response to yesterday’s developments, ACLU staff attorney Amrit Singh stated, “The government is still needlessly withholding information about these tapes from the public, despite the fact that the CIA’s use of torture is well known. Full disclosure of the CIA’s illegal interrogation methods is long overdue and the agency must be held accountable for flouting the rule of law.”

You can check out our response letter to the judge here (PDF).

You can learn more about the ACLU’s motion to hold the CIA in contempt for destroying the tapes online at:

Stay tuned.

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