Quantcast
Connect with us

Public interest groups demand renewed probe of CIA’s destroyed torture records

Published

on

In a recent letter to the Archivist of the United States, a collection of public interest groups demanded a renewed investigation into the destruction of federal records pertaining to the Bush administration’s torture program.

As many as 92 tapes of terror war captives being tortured by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operatives were allegedly destroyed. Officials suggested these recordings depicted torture sessions with terrorism suspects Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Nashiri.

ADVERTISEMENT

Along with the tapes, detailed records of the CIA’s so-called “torture flights,” showing the planes, destinations and even the passengers, were also said destroyed.

The letter (PDF), published Wednesday, was signed by organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), Public Citizen and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, among others.

The destruction of these records was revealed by then-CIA Director Michael Hayden in Dec. 2007, who said the decision was made because the videos posed “a serious security risk” to the agency.

Two stray video tapes, depicting the interrogation of Ramzi Binalshibh in a secret CIA black site prison, were later uncovered in 2007, but the revelation did not make news until August of this year.

“When records are destroyed because they would reveal embarrassing information or illegal activities, the public is denied the right to understand and debate what the federal government is doing in its name, and hold the government accountable for its actions,” the groups wrote in a letter published Wednesday (PDF). “Furthermore, the destruction of records makes it impossible for historians to someday write the authoritative history of our nation.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The ultimate decision to destroy the torture tapes was made by Jose Rodriguez Jr., the former Director of the National Clandestine Service. Though it is a crime to destroy public records, after a probe of the issue the US Department of Justice said in Nov. that Rodriguez would not face charges.

The collection of public interest groups said they were “profoundly disappointed” by the decision.

“Failing to enforce the law of the land in this instance sends a message of impunity to agencies that decide to destroy records containing evidence of illegality, mismanagement, corruption, or even fairly benign mistakes,” they wrote.

ADVERTISEMENT

“This decision stands in stark contrast to the President’s January 21 memorandum on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) directing Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies that the government ‘not keep information confidential merely because public officials might be embarrassed by disclosure, because errors and failures might be revealed, or because of speculative or abstract fears.’ For these reasons, we hope DOJ will fully support your investigation and act on your conclusions.”

A list of the letter’s signatories follows.

ADVERTISEMENT

Many of these same groups also signed another open letter released Tuesday, demanding that US lawmakers stand up for freedom of the press when considering new laws that many fear could criminalize third party release of stolen government secrets.

####

American Association of Law Libraries
American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
American Civil Liberties Union
American Library Association
Arizona First Amendment Coalition
Association of Research LibrariesBill of Rights Defense Committee
The Center for Media and Democracy
The Center for Victims of Torture
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in
Washington (CREW)
Defending Dissent Foundation
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Essential Information
Feminists for Free Expression
Fund for Constitutional Government
Government Accountability Project (GAP)
iSolon.org
Liberty Coalition
Muslimah Writers Alliance
National Coalition Against Censorship
No More Guantanamos
Northern California Association of Law Libraries
OMB Watch
OpenTheGovernment.org
PEN American Center
Progressive Librarians Guild
Project On Government Oversight (POGO)
Public Citizen
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
Society of American Archivists
Society of Professional Journalists
US Bill of Rights Foundation
Utah Foundation for Open Government


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

Center-left Keir Starmer replaces Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader

Published

on

Britain's main opposition Labour Party named Keir Starmer, a former director of public prosecutions who opposed the country's exit from the European Union, as its leader on Saturday.

Starmer, who has tried to carry the socialist supporters of outgoing leader Jeremy Corbyn while also keeping more centrist Labour members on board, beat Rebecca Long-Bailey, an ally of Corbyn, and Lisa Nandy in the contest.

He won with 56.2% of the vote by party members and supporters.

Continue Reading

COVID-19

Video app Zoom rockets to fame, with some hiccups, amid pandemic

Published

on

What does British Prime Minister Boris Johnson have in common with virtual happy hour celebrants and thousands of students around the world?

All use the Zoom videoconferencing application to get together while staying apart during the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

But amid its newfound fame, the Silicon Valley-based company has come under stepped-up scrutiny over how it handles privacy and security -- including allowing uninvited guests to barge in on sessions.

Created by engineer Eric Yuan in 2011 and listed on the Nasdaq a year ago, Zoom has seen its market value skyrocket to some $35 billion.

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

Knife attack leaves two dead in French town of Romans-sur-Isère, mayor says

Published

on

Two people were killed and four others injured in a knife attack in the southeastern French town of Romans-sur-Isère on Saturday, the mayor said.

The attack took place in the morning outside a bakery where customers had queued, according to Mayor Marie-Hélène Thoraval, who said that the assailant had been arrested.

One of the wounded is in critical condition in hospital.

France is currently in its third week of self-isolation because of Covid-19.

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image