Friday, April 16, 2010

Torture, lies, and videotape

Did CIA officials lie about having permission to destroy torture tapes? Maybe:
Jose Rodriguez, then the CIA's top clandestine service official, ordered the destruction of the videotapes, which showed the waterboarding and interrogations of Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, alleged al Qaeda mastermind of the 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole. Rodriguez believed that if the tapes were ever viewed out of context, "they would make us look terrible, it would be 'devastating' to us," according to one of the emails released.

The email, which describes a meeting on Nov. 10, 2005, the day after Rodriguez ordered the tapes destroyed, seems to show then director Goss agreeing with Rodriguez's decision.

Sent to the CIA's number three official shortly after the meeting, the email suggested that Goss had approved of the destruction and "laughed" and acknowledged that he "would take the heat" for the decision. "All in the room agreed," said the email, that release of the tapes would be a major problem.

But a former intelligence official familiar with the meeting said Goss had not approved of the destruction.

Porter understood why Jose destroyed the tapes, but was against their destruction," the official told At the meeting, said the official, Goss told Rodriguez and other CIA officers that "destroying tapes of any kind is just a bad idea in Washington."
Read the whole thing here.

Now, why would the tapes "...make us look terrible...", I wonder? Surely all that was going on was a little perfectly legal enhanced interrogation, right? What could possible be wrong with that?