Twelve of the 92 videotapes destroyed by the CIA contained evidence of torture, according to redacted documents filed March 6 in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) had acknowledged last week that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) destroyed 92 videotapes of high value terrorism suspect interrogations, in response to an August 2008 judicial order that the CIA turn over information regarding the tapes or provide specific justifications on why it could not release the information.
The August 2008 order came in response to a December 2007 American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) motion that the CIA be held in contempt of court for not providing information on the tapes during a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit brought by the organization in an effort to access government materials on the interrogations.
A stay on the ACLU suit was filed by the DOJ in December 2007 while a criminal probe was conducted on the videotapes’ destruction. That order expired last week, and in a letter to the court, US Attorney Peter Skinner wrote that the DOJ now intends to provide as much of the information as possible. The ACLU intends to proceed on the lawsuit. The lawsuit was brought after the October 2003 request filed by the ACLU under FOIA for information pertaining to US held detainees in overseas facilities received in answer only a set of media talking points used by the Department of State. (Jurist, March 9)
See our last post on the torture scandal.