CIA destroyed tapes of harsh interrogations: report


Washington : The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has destroyed video recordings of operatives subjecting two terrorism suspects to harsh interrogation techniques, US media reported Friday.

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At least two tapes, made in 2002, documented the interrogations of Abu Zubaydah, an associate of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and another high-level Al Qaeda member. The videos were destroyed in 2005 to protect the identity of the operatives, according to an internal staff memo from CIA director Michael Hayden, the New York Times reported.

The Washington Post reported that Zubaydah had been subjected to water-boarding, a controversial practice which simulates drowning, though it was unclear if it was specifically that technique which was documented on the video tapes in question.

Hayden’s memo said the Congress had been made fully aware of the tapes’ existence and decision to destroy them, but spokesmen for the two ranking members of the House of Representatives’ Intelligence Committee in 2005 told the Times they had not been consulted.

The tapes were also not handed over to the Sep 11 Commission, an independent inquiry board into the 2001 terrorism attacks on New York and Washington, the intelligence leading up to it and their aftermath.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in a statement late Thursday accused the CIA of destroying the tapes to protect the operatives from legal consequences.

“The destruction of these tapes suggests an utter disregard for the rule of law,” said Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project.

“Both the Congress and the courts have repeatedly demanded that this evidence be turned over, but apparently the CIA believes that its agents are above the law,” Jaffer added.