Given the last seven years, expectations are already low for the administration that’s never seen justice it didn’t want to obstruct. But intentio
December 6, 2007

Given the last seven years, expectations are already low for the administration that’s never seen justice it didn’t want to obstruct. But intentionally destroying evidence of a possible crime, in the midst of ongoing legal inquiries, suggests the Bush gang’s contempt for the rule of law can’t get much worse.

The Central Intelligence Agency in 2005 destroyed at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two Qaeda operatives in the agency’s custody, a step it took in the midst of Congressional and legal scrutiny about its secret detention program, according to current and former government officials.

The videotapes showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terrorism suspects — including Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in C.I.A. custody — to severe interrogation techniques. The tapes were destroyed in part because officers were concerned that video showing harsh interrogation methods could expose agency officials to legal risks, several officials said. [...]

The destruction of the tapes raises questions about whether agency officials withheld information from Congress, the courts and the Sept. 11 commission about aspects of the program.

Indeed, it arguably does more than just “raise questions”; it may point to actual criminal wrongdoing, intended to cover up more criminal wrongdoing. As Sullivan put it, “What defines [a banana] republic? How about an executive that ignores the rule of law, commits war-crimes and then destroys the actual evidence? … We live in a country where the government can detain indefinitely, torture in secret, and then secretly destroy the tapes of torture sessions to protect its own staff.”

Time for the Justice Department to launch a criminal investigation? Marcy Wheeler explains: "AG Mukasey has a mighty big headache on his hands, a clear case of obstruction of justice involving Goss and a bunch of other people. I guess we won't have long to wait to see whether he's willing to spike investigations for the Unitary Executive."

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