New Reports On 9/11 Interrogation Tapes Underscore Need For Full Accountability And Transparency, Says ACLU

August 17, 2010 1:38 pm

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NEW YORK – An Associated Press report today provided the first public details about CIA tapes of interrogations of accused 9/11 conspirator Ramzi Binalshibh. Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union requested information from the government about these tapes, specifically asking why the CIA appears never to have noted the tapes’ existence in the ACLU’s long-running litigation over records relating to the treatment of detainees. The government has not yet responded.

The tapes were reportedly discovered in 2007 under a desk in the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, and their existence was first revealed by the government in a letter sent that year to U.S. Circuit Judge Karen J. Williams and U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema. Prior to that letter, the government had denied the tapes’ existence and until today, nothing was publicly known about the contents of the tapes.

Many critical records were destroyed by the CIA, including at least 92 other interrogation videotapes depicting waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques.” The ACLU continues to believe that the CIA’s destruction of those videotapes was in violation of court orders and the Freedom of Information Act.

The following can be attributed to Alexander Abdo, legal fellow with the ACLU National Security Project:

“Today’s report is a stark reminder of how much information the government is still withholding about the Bush administration’s interrogation policies. Many records critical to real accountability remain secret, such as transcripts in which prisoners tell of the abuse they suffered in CIA custody and the presidential directive authorizing the CIA to establish secret black sites.

“The content of these tapes could provide insight into the U.S.’s troubling collaboration on interrogations with Morocco, a country routinely cited by the State Department for its use of torture. Only with real transparency and accountability for these abuses can the government turn the page on this dark chapter in our history.”

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