CIA Was Warned Not to Destroy Tapes

Agency defied advice from White House, Congress, Justice
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2007 7:56 AM CST
This undated handout photo provided by the CIA shows Jose Rodriguez. As director of the CIA's clandestine service, Rodriguez ordered the 2005 destruction of interrogation tapes. (AP Photo/CIA)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The CIA destroyed interrogation videotapes in 2005 against the advice of the White House, Justice Department, and members of Congress, the New York Times reports. All warned of the potential legal risks of destroying the tapes, which showed the harsh interrogation of two al-Qaeda operatives. The agency's chief of clandestine operations overruled the advice and destroyed them without notifying even the CIA's top lawyer.

“I think the intelligence committee needs to get all over this,” said Rep. Peter Hoekstra, who chaired the House Intelligence Committee at the time. In 2003, the CIA told senior lawmakers, Justice Department lawyers, and White House officials, including then deputy chief of staff Harriet Miers, of the tapes and said it intended to destroy them. All warned against the move, which came during congressional scrutiny of the CIA's detention program.