CIA destroyed 92 interrogation tapes

An attorney for the government reveals that many more records than originally believed have been destroyed.

Published March 2, 2009 6:45PM (EST)

The federal government revealed in court on Monday that the CIA destroyed far more tapes of interrogations of terror suspects than it had previously revealed.

The revelation, which came during the proceedings of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, was filed in a letter from Acting U.S. Attorney Lev Dassin, who said that 92 videotapes were destroyed. According to the Associated Press, Dassin also told the court that "the CIA is now gathering more details for the lawsuit, including a list of the destroyed records, any secondary accounts that describe the destroyed contents, and the identities of those who may have viewed or possessed the recordings before they were destroyed."

"This letter provides further evidence for holding the CIA in contempt of court," ACLU staff attorney Amrit Singh said in a statement. "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."

My Salon colleague Glenn Greenwald has previously written about this issue, pointing out that the co-chairmen of the 9/11 Commission, Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, have come out publicly to chastise the CIA for its actions.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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