NEWS: CIA obstructed 9/11 commission inquiry

9/11 panel study finds that CIA withheld tapes

A review of classified documents by former members of the Sept. 11 commission shows that the panel made repeated and detailed requests to the Central Intelligence Agency in 2003 and 2004 for documents and other information about the interrogation of operatives of Al Qaeda, and were told by a top C.I.A. official that the agency had “produced or made available for review” everything that had been requested.

The review was conducted earlier this month after the disclosure that in November 2005, the C.I.A. destroyed videotapes documenting the interrogations of two Qaeda operatives.

A seven-page memorandum prepared by Philip D. Zelikow, the panel’s former executive director, concluded that “further investigation is needed” to determine whether the C.I.A.’s withholding of the tapes from the commission violated federal law.

In interviews this week, the two chairmen of the commission, Lee H. Hamilton and Thomas H. Kean, said their reading of the report had convinced them that the agency had made a conscious decision to impede the Sept. 11 commission’s inquiry. [complete article]

No immediate ruling on judicial inquiry

A federal judge said Friday that he would not rule immediately on whether to hold a judicial inquiry into the destruction of C.I.A. videotapes that showed the harsh interrogation of two suspected operatives of Al Qaeda. [complete article]

CIA seeks investigation of ex-officer’s claims

The CIA has asked the Justice Department to investigate whether a former agency officer illegally disclosed classified information in describing the capture and waterboarding of an al-Qaeda terrorism suspect, officials said yesterday.

In interviews last week with The Washington Post and other news organizations, former CIA officer John Kiriakou discussed details of the capture of Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein alleging that he resisted cooperating with interrogators until he was subjected to waterboarding, which makes a captive believe he is being drowned.

Kiriakou, who participated in the capture of the man commonly known as Abu Zubaida in Pakistan in March 2002, said he did not see the waterboarding but was given details by others who were there. He said waterboarding was effective in Abu Zubaida’s case, though Kiriakou now regards the technique as torture.

Kiriakou’s attorney, Mark Zaid, a Washington lawyer whose clients include former CIA employees, said the CIA routinely refers such cases to the Justice Department, though only rarely do the referrals result in criminal charges.

“If they do pursue it, they will open a Pandora’s box that will put the spotlight on whether the interrogations were lawful, and the extent to which they have been fully revealed by federal officials,” Zaid said in an interview. [complete article]

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