The IUSB Vision Weblog

The way to crush the middle class is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation. – Vladimir Lenin

CIA Interrogation Tape Destruction: Another Contrived Scandal

Posted by iusbvision on January 12, 2008

It was all over the news when last semester ended. The CIA was destroying “evidence” of interrogations done on high intelligence value prisoners. The media was having a field day; the Democrats made statements saying that the techniques were torture and pretended as if this was all new to them. Democrats started asking for investigations and accusations of cover-up were being thrown around.

Nearly the entire cadre of the leadership of the Democratic Party tried to make political hey out of this story. Ted Kennedy said that the tapes were destroyed as a reaction to the 2006 Democratic victory in the Congress and made accusations that this was the next Watergate.

Curiously, the story vanished from the air not to be heard from again.

So what happened? This story seemed too good to be true for leftists bent on preventing progress on the war.

It started to get out that; believe it or not, the CIA destroys stuff all the time as keeping secrets is their job.  The tapes that were destroyed only had value because they could be used to see what interrogation techniques worked and to make sure that nothing was missed in the questioning. These are prisoners of a war, not people being processed for crimes in civilian courts, so the evidentiary value of the tapes is nil and the identities of the interrogating agents must be kept secret even from members of Congress who would leak the names for political gain. Keeping those agents protected is a matter of national security.

CIA lawyers had approved the destruction of the tapes and many CIA departments have a person who is given the duty of burning materials that can never be released. The media was filled with reports that the CIA burned the tapes in spite of a court order to preserve all interrogation tapes from Guantanamo, but what they often left out was the fact that these interrogations happened in Europe.

The Washington Post dropped the bomb shell on December 9th by reporting that the Democratic Leadership had been briefed and given a tour of the CIA interrogation techniques, including water-boarding, in September of 2002. The leadership who was given oversight included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) and Senators Bob Graham (D-FL) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV).

According to the Post, “Yet long before ‘water boarding’ entered the public discourse, the CIA gave key legislative overseers about 30 private briefings, some of which included descriptions of that technique and other harsh interrogation methods, according to interviews with multiple U.S. officials with firsthand knowledge.”

Shortly after leaked reports of water boarding made it in the news in 2005, the Democrats pretended to be shocked, surprised and outraged about it, when the truth was that many in the leadership were very aware of it since 2002.

In fact, according to the Washington Post, after they were given the knowledge of the techniques used, “on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.”

The hypocrisy of the Democratic leadership was now on full display, the outrage was contrived for political gain. The very thing that CIA interrogators feared, that their identities might end up exposed for political gain is now proven to have merit. All of the sudden this story lost its newsworthiness as it began to vanish from the evening news and radio network news broadcasts. It is yet another example of how biased elites in the media and in politics use and abuse national security as a tool for political gain.

Chuck Norton

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