December 6, 2007
C.I.A. Destroyed Tapes of Interrogations
By MARK MAZZETTI
WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 — The Central Intelligence Agency in 2005 destroyed at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two Al Qaeda operatives in the agency’s custody, a step it took in the midst of Congressional and legal scrutiny about the C.I.A’s secret detention program, according to current and former government officials.
The videotapes showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terror suspects — including Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in C.I.A. custody — to severe interrogation techniques. They were destroyed in part because officers were concerned that tapes documenting controversial interrogation methods could expose agency officials to greater risk of legal jeopardy, several officials said.
The C.I.A. said today that the decision to destroy the tapes had been made “within the C.I.A. itself,” and they were destroyed to protect the safety of undercover officers and because they no longer had intelligence value. The agency was headed at the time by Porter J. Goss. Through a spokeswoman, Mr. Goss declined this afternoon to comment on the destruction of the tapes.
I am reminded of a line from The Wiz, “The good news is there ain’t no more bad news.”
But that’s unfortunately not the case in the sad tale of the CIA. Its moral destruction (if indeed it ever had morals) began under George Tenet in an almost frantic effort to serve his 9-11 president.
9-11 destroyed so very much more than buildings and lives in New York City. The continuing agency demoralization under Porter Goss and now General Michael Hayden is apparent.
The very fact that we have an active-duty general officer at the head of our spy agency sounds more Russian than American. That, added to the embarrassment of our government willingly and unendingly calling our nation a ‘homeland’ is beyond all understanding.
That which is beyond understanding (in government affairs) is extremely dangerous.
I would (not at all humbly) insist that all members of the executive branch, legislative branch, judicial branch and military officers remind themselves that the oath they took upon assuming those duties was to the defense and protection of the Constitution of the United States of America.
It is not a higher duty to fight terrorism, nor to defend against attack, nor to follow a president who waves those banners.
There is no higher duty.