NEWS & OPINION: New torture tapes?

Lawyers for detainee refer in filing to more CIA tapes

Attorneys for a former detainee at a secret CIA prison said in a court filing this week that intelligence officials had falsely claimed in public statements that his interrogations were not videotaped, that all videotaped interrogations stopped in 2002 and that only a small number of CIA detainees were subjected to unusually harsh interrogation techniques.

The basis of the assertions was redacted from the filing by the Bush administration, under an unusually stringent security order that blocks the attorneys for Majid Khan from disclosing evidence of the alleged falsehoods or detailing how Khan was treated while in CIA custody.

Khan, one of 14 detainees whom the CIA secretly imprisoned before transferring them last year to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has said he was systematically tortured. His attorneys at the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights have been pressing for a court order to prevent the government from destroying evidence of his treatment. [complete article]

The official story unfolds

The destruction of the CIA torture tapes is still a fairly young scandal as Washington scandals go. It hasn’t even acquired a “gate” suffix. But the Administration is already busily choreographing it, with the dozens of shiny metal parts clicking away in synchronicity, like a finely designed mechanical watch. There is an admirable efficiency to the political process. If only these people were a fraction as good at the work of government as they are at political shenanigans, I keep thinking. The Bush Administration plan is simple: let’s think of this as a movie–Abu Ghraib, The Sequel. Instead of offering up a group of young grunts for the sacrifice, this time it will be a retired senior management figure at the CIA and some of his subordinates. And this sacrifice will, in the White House’s view, divert attention from the real source of both scandals, which is high in the upper reaches of the Executive Branch. Inside the White House, in fact. [complete article]

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