CIA Warned Not to Destroy Terror Tapes

Lawmaker cautioned it would 'reflect badly' on agency
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 4, 2008 3:19 AM CST
Rep. Jane Harman, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, warned in 2003 that destroying the videotapes of the interrogation of top al-Qaeda suspects would put the agency under suspicion.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee warned the CIA not to destroy videotapes of controversial interrogations of terror suspects, AP reports. "Videotape would be the best proof that the written record is accurate," California Rep. Jane Harman wrote in the declassified 2003 letter.  "Destruction would reflect badly on the agency."

The letter asked whether the harsh interrogation techniques had been approved by President Bush. In his response, CIA's general counsel at the time said he thought it "would be fair to assume" so. He did not discuss the tapes. The Justice Department has launched a criminal probe into the destruction of the videos.