CIA Escapes Prosecution for Criminal Destruction of Torture Tapes

Thursday, August 04, 2011
Jose A. Rodriguez, destroyer of evidence
Amounting to less than a slap on the wrist, the CIA was ordered by a federal judge on Tuesday to reimburse the American Civil Liberties Union for legal fees after it failed to have the spy agency sanctioned for destroying evidence of torturing detainees during the Bush administration.
 
The ACLU had requested that the CIA be held in contempt for disposing of 92 videotapes of suspected terrorists being tortured. But Judge Alvin Hellerstein refused to go that far and only directed the CIA to cover the ACLU’s expense of pursuing torture evidence through the courts. The tapes were destroyed in November 2005 under the orders of Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., the CIA’s former head of clandestine service. Rodriguez’s exposure to prosecution was limited by the fact the CIA lawyers approved his actions at the time. The destruction was carried out immediately after The Washington Post first revealed the existence of CIA “black sites” where suspects were tortured.
 
Not only were the tapes destroyed, but so were detailed records of the CIA’s “torture flights” showing the planes, destinations and passengers involved in the covert operation.
 
Attorney General Eric Holder announced in June the Department of Justice would probe the deaths of two prisoners who allegedly perished in the CIA’s custody. But Holder refused investigate the approximately 100 other cases of detainees who were subjected to harsh interrogation techniques.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
 
Court Sanctions CIA for Destroying Torture Tapes (by Stephen Webster, Raw Story)
ACLU v. Department of Defense et al. (U.S. District Court, Southern New York) (pdf)
Judge Asks CIA to Investigate Itself Regarding Illegal Tape Destruction (by Noel Brinkerhoff and David Wallechinsky, AllGov)

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