9/11 Commission chair: 'No question' CIA knew we wanted tapes
David Edwards and Jason Rhyne
Published: Monday December 24, 2007

 del.icio.us |
Print This  Email This

Kean says agency tried to 'impede our investigation'

There is "no question" the CIA was aware that its now-destroyed videotapes depicting severe interrogations were among evidence being sought by 9/11 Commission investigators, says the commission's chairman Thomas Kean.

Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, told CNN's John Roberts that the 9/11 Commission had actively sought all of the spy agency's information about detainees with suspected links to the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

"I'm not a lawyer and I'm not sure if they broke the law or not but what they did do, I think, is try to impede our investigation," said Kean. "Because we asked for...anything to do with those detainees, because they were the ones who knew most about the plot of 9/11 and that was our mandate."

He sharply dismissed the agency's continued insistence that the tapes were not specifically requested by the commission.

"They can parse their words all they want," he continued. "We asked for every single thing that they had, and then my vice chairman, Lee Hamilton, looked the director of the CIA in the face and said, 'look, even if we haven't asked for something, if it's pertinent to our investigation, make it available to us.' And our staff asked again and again of their staff and the tapes were not given to us. So there was no question."

Asked about comments from former acting CIA director John McLaughlin, who previously told CNN that the tapes did not include any information relevant to the 9/11 Commission's inquiry, Kean was skeptical.

"It's hard to tell, because the tapes have been destroyed," he said, "But we should have seen them and made that determination ourselves. I mean no, question that we again and again and again asked for everything, and we needed it, and we weren't given it, and so the only conclusion we can draw is it was withheld from us, and that can only be seen to me as an attempt to impede our investigation."

Kean added that he was prepared to aid investigations into the destroyed tapes in any way he could -- and would testify before Congress if necessary.

"Our staff has gone back to the congressional records and congressional library and looked at all the records," he said. "We can make them available to the congress or any other investigating committee...Anybody who needs me in any way I'm available."

This video is from CNN's American Morning, broadcast on December 24, 2007.