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CIA Confirms 12 Destroyed Videotapes Depicted ‘Enhanced Interrogation Methods’

The CIA has reportedly just confirmed — conveniently late on a Friday afternoon — that 12 of the videotapes it destroyed while its interrogation methods were under investigation and the subject of a pending lawsuit depicted the “enhanced interrogation methods” that detainees’ advocates were worried about.

The American Civil Liberties Union reports that as part of its lawsuit seeking information on detainee abuse, the government today provided new details about the content of interrogation videotapes destroyed by the CIA — specifically, that 12 depict so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques.” In court documents, the government also said it would produce a complete list of summaries, transcripts or memoranda related to the videotapes by March 20. However, the inventory of tapes provided to the court is so heavily redacted that it’s virtually all black ink.

“The government is needlessly withholding information about these tapes from the public, despite the fact that the CIA’s use of torture – including waterboarding – is no secret,” said Amrit Singh, staff attorney with the ACLU in a statement released today. “This new information only underscores the need for full and immediate disclosure of the CIA’s illegal interrogation methods. The time has come for the CIA to be held accountable for flouting the rule of law.”

In December 2007, the ACLU filed a motion to hold the CIA in contempt for its destruction of the tapes in violation of a court order requiring the agency to produce or identify all records requested by the ACLU. That motion is still pending.

Earlier this week, the CIA acknowledged it destroyed 92 tapes of interrogations. According to today’s documents, these tapes all related to just two detainees; 90 involved one, and the other two tapes showed the other. The tapes were not identified and processed for the ACLU in response to its Freedom of Information Act request back in 2005 seeking information on the treatment and interrogation of detainees in U.S. custody. The ACLU notes that the tapes were also withheld from the 9/11 Commission, which had specifically asked the CIA to hand over transcripts and recordings documenting the interrogation of CIA prisoners.

Legal documents in the case are available here.

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