Friday, December 07, 2007

Tape Update

Democrats call for Inquiry in Destruction of Tapes by C.I.A.

Yesterday, I blasted Dems for letting this destruction occur in 2005 because CIA director Michael Hayden said in an internal email yesterday that he had informed the House and Senate Intelligence Committees about plans to destroy the tapes.

That story has developed thusly: (I've always wanted to use thusly in a sentence)

In his statement, General Hayden said leaders of Congressional oversight committees had been fully briefed about the existence of the tapes and told in advance of the decision to destroy them. But the two top members of the House Intelligence Committee in 2005 said Thursday that they had not been notified in advance of the decision to destroy the tapes.

A spokesman for Representative Peter Hoekstra, Republican of Michigan, who was the committee’s chairman between 2004 and 2006, said that Mr. Hoekstra was “never briefed or advised that these tapes existed, or that they were going to be destroyed.”

The spokesman, Jamal Ware, also said that Mr. Hoekstra “absolutely believes that the full committee should have been informed and consulted before the C.I.A. did anything with the tapes.”

Representative Harman, the top Democrat on the committee between 2002 and 2006, said that she told C.I.A. officials several years ago that destroying any interrogation tapes would be a “bad idea.”

“How in the world could the C.I.A. claim that these tapes were not relevant to a legislative inquiry?” she said Thursday. “This episode reinforces my view that the C.I.A. should not be conducting a separate interrogations program.”


Representative Rush Holt of New Jersey, a Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, has been pushing legislation in Congress to have all detainee interrogations videotaped so officials can refer to the tapes multiple times to glean better information.

Mr. Holt said he had been told many times that the C.I.A. did not record the interrogation of detainees. “When I would ask them whether they had reviewed the tapes to better understand the intelligence, they said, ‘What tapes?’,” he said.

Okay, who knew what when? People are mad about this one. This story will continue into the next media cycle, it would appear.

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