Monday, December 10, 2007

C.I.A. Chief Cites Agency Lapse on Tape

Published: December 13, 2007

WASHINGTON — Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, acknowledged on Wednesday that the C.I.A. had failed to keep members of Congress fully informed that the agency had videotaped the interrogations of suspected operatives of Al Qaeda and destroyed the tapes three years later.

Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the C.I.A. director, after appearing before members of a House committee on Wednesday.

General Hayden’s comments struck a different tone from a message he sent to C.I.A. employees last Thursday, when he said that Congressional leaders had been informed about the tapes and of the “agency’s intention to dispose of the material.”

Emerging from a closed session with members of the House Intelligence Committee, General Hayden said Wednesday that “particularly at the time of the destruction, we could have done an awful lot better at keeping the committee alert and informed.”

After a hearing that lasted nearly four hours, Representative Silvestre P. Reyes of Texas, the committee’s chairman, called parts of General Hayden’s testimony “stunning” and said lawmakers were just at the beginning of what would probably be a “long-term investigation.”

Government officials said Wednesday’s session was far more contentious than General Hayden’s classified briefing to the Senate Intelligence Committee a day earlier. They said lawmakers had grilled the C.I.A. director about the accuracy of the statement he sent to agency employees after learning that The New York Times was preparing to publish an article about the tapes. As General Hayden noted publicly after the Senate hearing on Tuesday, the tapes were destroyed before he arrived at the C.I.A. in May 2006.

The Senate and House committees are expected now to turn their focus to officials said to be directly involved in the decision, including Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., who has been described by intelligence officials as having authorized the destruction of the tapes while he was head of the agency’s clandestine branch in 2005. One Congressional official said the House panel was likely to call Mr. Rodriguez as a witness next week.

Congressional investigators are particularly interested in advice the C.I.A. received from White House lawyers over a two-year period, from 2003 to 2005. Government officials have said that White House aides advised the C.I.A. to preserve the tapes, but the exact guidance they gave remains murky.

Some in Congress are curious to know why, if Mr. Rodriguez had really ignored White House advice not to destroy the tapes, he was apparently never reprimanded.

Also on Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a motion in a federal court in New York asking a judge to hold the C.I.A. in contempt for flouting a 2004 court order that it said required that the agency retain and identify all material related to the treatment of detainees in C.I.A. custody.

Intelligence officials have said that the tapes, documenting the interrogations of the suspected Qaeda operatives Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, were made in 2002 and destroyed in November 2005.

In the A.C.L.U. case, the court ruled in September 2004 that several government agencies, including the C.I.A, must produce all detainee documents. Those documents that are classified, the court ruled, must be identified in a written log and the log must be submitted to the judge for review.

Some legal experts said that the C.I.A. would have great difficulty defending what seemed to be a decision not to identify the tapes to the judge, and the subsequent decision to destroy the tapes.

“Where the court ordered them to search and enumerate the records at issue, they had a clear duty to do so,” said Meredith Fuchs, general counsel at the National Security Archive, a research group in Washington that frequently files Freedom of Information Act requests for national security documents.

On Wednesday, Senator Richard J. Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, asked Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, General Hayden and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to expand the inquiry to examine whether security services in other countries might have taped interrogations of terrorism suspects sent abroad by the C.I.A.

David Johnston contributed reporting.


Anonymous said...


..... if I remember clearly , the topic of being taped while being investigated on a crime. on this topic I will feel confuse because of the simple fact that this idea has its pro's and con's. its right to be recorded while being investigated for your protection if the cops feel that they will change up the story and put words in your mouth.. the tape will always be there to prove your innocence. also the tape is wrong because of an example made in class.. the tapes is a invasion of privacy & identity, like if someone is running for governor and they look back at your jistory they can see that you been involved in a crime and mess up with your election or even the thoughts of the critics and outsiders.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Courteney. Tapes will always be there to prove your innocence or in other words, show the truth. Unfortunately, tapes can also "ruin" you. Like Courteney said, it's an invasion of identity and privacy.

manpreet kaur said...

I agree with both Courtney's and Tiffany's point of views. I found the "waterboy" issue very shocking.
Aperson's identity when, it gets invaded that person has lost one right of the freedom of speech. But, if the person is a foreigner,not a American citizen that could be charged differently.
Today, having the F.B.I. agent in school was very interesting, I got to learn more on what the F.B.I.does.

Anonymous said...

A tape can be a strong piece of evidence when you have to present it in court or anywhere else. A tape can prove you to be innocent or guilty. I agree with Courtney when she said It's invading privacy also because if you are running in an election or something, people look at the tape and make judgements about you and mess everything up. It changes people's thoughts about you. It can be either a good thing or a bad thing.

-Simran Kaur

Anonymous said...

I also agree with Courtney. There are pros and cons. The tape would always be there to prove your innocence but it's an invasion of privacy and identity. As Manpreet said, i also found the "waterboy" appalling. It's right is lost if its invaded but of course it is different when it is a foreigner.

-Anta R.

Anonymous said...

I agree with courteney as well because camaras show proof and the real deal camaras speak for themself I feel video taping everything that goes down but privacy is a big issue because some doesn't want that.
Kristal Atchison

Anonymous said...

Kristen Fitz

I agree with everyone because they taped the confession so that the people or judge can look at it to see that there was no endangerment of the person they are interrogating.Also to make sure every thing is legit.

Samantha Ross said...

I agree with Courteney and everyone who agreed with her. Tapes could be used both for good and bad. Tapes could prove you innocent and then tapes could be used in invading your own privacy. As both Anta and Manpreet have stated the “waterboy” issue was very surprising. And as Kristen said the tapes keep everything in check, legit.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone who said it was good to record the integrogations because its also for the safety reasons of the person being investigated but now and days with the tactics being used anything is acceptable when integrogating which is wrong because with most of there remidies of getting the truth they can make a innocent man confess being guilty of what ever crime just to get out of the tourture they go through. Imagine you was pick up for "terrorist activity"
which you never comitted but put through all the aggony of integrogation.

Jamaal adams