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CIA Destroyed Tapes Admission Comes In ACLU Lawsuit Over Torture Documents

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

NEW YORK — According to a letter filed by the government in court today,
the CIA acknowledged it destroyed 92 tapes of interrogations. The admission
comes in an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit seeking records of the treatment
of prisoners in U.S. custody abroad. In December 2007, the ACLU filed a motion
to hold the CIA in contempt for its destruction of videotapes recording the
harsh interrogation of prisoners in violation of a court order requiring the
agency to produce or identify all the requested records. That motion is still
pending.

The following can be attributed to Amrit Singh, staff attorney with the ACLU:

“This letter provides further evidence for holding the CIA in contempt
of court. The large number of videotapes destroyed confirms that the agency
engaged in a systemic attempt to hide evidence of its illegal interrogations
and to evade the court’s order. Our contempt motion has been pending in court
for over a year now — it is time to hold the CIA accountable for its flagrant
disregard for the rule of law.”

The tapes, which show CIA operatives subjecting suspects to extremely harsh
interrogation methods, should have been identified and processed for the ACLU
in response to its FOIA request demanding information on the treatment and interrogation
of detainees in U.S. custody. The tapes were also withheld from the 9/11 Commission,
appointed by former President Bush and Congress, which had formally requested
that the CIA hand over transcripts and recordings documenting the interrogation
of CIA prisoners.

A copy of the government’s letter is available at: www.aclu.org/safefree/torture/38869lgl20090302.html

The ACLU’s contempt motion and related legal documents are available online
at: www.aclu.org/torturefoia