Those known to have counseled against the tapes’ destruction include John B. Bellinger III, while serving as the National Security Council’s top legal adviser; Harriet E. Miers, while serving as the top White House counsel; George J. Tenet, while serving as CIA director; [Scott W.] Muller, while serving as the CIA’s general counsel; and John D. Negroponte, while serving as director of national intelligence.
Hayden, in an interview, said the advice expressed by administration lawyers was consistent. “To the degree this was discussed outside the agency, everyone counseled caution,” he said. But he said that, in 2005, it was “the agency’s view that there were no legal impediments” to the tapes’ destruction. There also was “genuine concern about agency people being identified,” were the tapes ever to be made public.
Hayden, who became CIA director last year, acknowledged that the questions raised about the tapes’ destruction, then and now, are legitimate. “One can ask if it was a good idea, or if there was a better way to do it,” he said. “We are very happy to let the facts take us where they will.” [complete article]
Editor’s Comment — The top officials here were either duplicitous or incompetant or both. The decision-making process carries the signature of the Bush-Cheney administration. It’s all about being able to act and evade responsibility. Under the leadership of a frat boy president, no one wants to carry the accountability that Bush himself refuses to bear.
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and 18 other House Democrats on Tuesday asked the attorney general to replace a government prosecutor with an outside lawyer to investigate the CIA’s destruction of interrogation videotapes. [complete article]