New document sheds light on 2005 destruction of torture tapes

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    Daily Kos: Torture Tapes Destruction and "Looking Backward"

    Porter J. Goss, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, in 2005 approved of the decision by one of his top aides to destroy dozens of videotapes documenting the brutal interrogation of two detainees, according to an internal C.I.A. document released Thursday.

    Shortly after the tapes were destroyed at the order of Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., then the head of the C.I.A.’s clandestine service, Mr. Goss told Mr. Rodriguez that he "agreed" with the decision, according to the document. He even joked after Mr. Rodriguez offered to "take the heat" for destroying the tapes.

    "PG laughed and said that actually, it would be he, PG, who would take the heat," according to one document, an internal C.I.A. e-mail message.

    According to current and former intelligence officials, Mr. Goss did not approve the destruction before it happened, and was displeased that Mr. Rodriguez did not consult him or the C.I.A.’s top lawyer before giving the order for the tapes to be destroyed.

    Which is in contrast to statements by officials at the time. First, from then CIA Director Hayden after the news broke in 2007:

    I understand that the Agency did so only after it was determined they were no longer of intelligence value and not relevant to any internal, legislative, or judicial inquiries -- including the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui. The decision to destroy the tapes was made with CIA itself ... and the absence of any legal or internal reason to keep them, the tapes posed a serious security risk.

    And from the White House after the news broke in 2007:

    General Hayden made a statement yesterday to his employees in which he said that the decision was made by the agency, it was made in consultation with the agency's lawyers.

    Now, apparently, according to CIA officials, "Mr. Rodriguez did not consult him or the C.I.A.'s top lawyer [or Goss] before giving the order for the tapes to be destroyed."

    The destruction of these tapes, Glenn points out, was called obstruction of justice by the 9/11 Commission. An obstruction that covered up the illegal torture of these two detainees. And, an obstruction that is apparently one of those things that the current administration isn't interested in looking back at.

    Contrast that with the case of NSA whistleblower JohnThomas Drake. The Obama Justice Department is going to pursue a case against this NSA official, a whistleblower, who helped expose huge waste in a failing NSA program. At this point, you have to read John Cole on the news that Exactly how does the administration determine when to look backward and when only to look forward? At the moment, it looks like John's assessment seems about right.

    The message is clear- you torture people and then destroy the evidence, and you get off without so much as a sternly worded letter.

    If you are a whistle blower outlining criminal behavior by the government, [] you get prosecuted.
     

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