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CIA Interrogation Tapes Destroyed Shortly After News Reports on CIA Black Sites and Interrogation Methods

Last updated: July 31, 2020 | November 25, 2009 | Elisa Mueller

Marcy Wheeler at Firedoglake has an interesting take today on the most recent summary of classified documents that the government turned over to the American Civil Liberties Union Friday, as part of its response to the organization’s Freedom of Information Act requests about the destruction of 92 videotapes of CIA interrogations. The documents reveal what Wheeler calls “a tension between the torturers in the field growing increasingly panicked about the torture tapes” and wanting the CIA to destroy them, and the reluctance, at first, of the CIA’s Office of General Counsel to do that.

The ACLU, meanwhile, has identified an important point about the chronology of the CIA’s internal communications about the tapes. Although the communications remain classified, the dates and summaries of their content provided by the government reveals that a request to destroy the 92 tapes were  made just days after The Washington Post reported on the existence of secret overseas CIA prisons known as “black sites.” Another request was made on the day The New York Times reported that the CIA inspector general had issued a report questioning the legality of the agency’s interrogation methods.

The tapes were destroyed that same day.

Elisa Mueller | Elisa Mueller was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to a mother who taught reading and a father who taught film. As a result, she spent an excessive amount of her childhood reading books and watching movies. She went to the University of Kansas for college, where she earned bachelor's degrees in English and journalism. She moved to New York City and worked for Entertainment Weekly magazine for ten years, visiting film sets all over the world.

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