White House and Justice Department officials, along with senior members of Congress, advised the Central Intelligence Agency in 2003 against a plan to destroy hundreds of hours of videotapes showing the interrogations of two operatives of Al Qaeda, government officials said Friday.
The chief of the agency’s clandestine service nevertheless ordered their destruction in November 2005, taking the step without notifying even the C.I.A.’s own top lawyer, John A. Rizzo, who was angry at the decision, the officials said.
The disclosures provide new details about what Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the C.I.A. director, has said was a decision “made within C.I.A. itself” to destroy the videotapes. In interviews, members of Congress and former intelligence officials also questioned some aspects of the account General Hayden provided Thursday about when Congress was notified that the tapes had been destroyed. [complete article]
Democratic lawmakers yesterday angrily demanded a Justice Department investigation into the CIA’s decision to destroy videotapes of harsh interrogation tactics used on two terrorism suspects.
The White House said that President Bush was unaware of the tapes or their destruction until this week, but administration sources acknowledged last night that longtime Bush aide Harriet E. Miers knew of the tapes’ existence and told CIA officials that she opposed their destruction.
The Senate intelligence committee also announced the start of its own probe into the destroyed videotapes, said Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.). [complete article]