By withholding and ultimately destroying videotapes of the interrogation of al-Qaeda detainees, the CIA willfully obstructed the 9/11 commission, its top two members charge in today’s New York Times. Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton say the CIA repeatedly stonewalled their investigation in 2003-04, answering questions vaguely, denying access to prisoners, and never mentioning the fateful tapes.
Detainee treatment wasn’t in the commission’s purview, but CIA reports were so patchy it was compelled to ask detailed questions about interrogation methods. In a 2003 meeting, the commission members say they urged director George Tenet to release all documents on the case, even ones not specifically requested. By dodging that demand, Tenet obstructed a lawful investigation into the tragedy.