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9/11 Commission: CIA withheld interrogation videotapes

[JURIST] A panel of former 9/11 Commission [official website] members say the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) withheld videotapes showing the interrogation of terror suspects, possibly violating federal law. According to a Saturday New York Times report, the panel began to review documents [PDF text] concerning the matter after it was disclosed earlier this month that the agency destroyed the videotapes [JURIST news archive]. The Commission made repeated requests for information on interrogations in 2004 and 2004. The CIA maintains that it was prepared to furnish the tapes, but the commission never specifically asked for interrogation videos. Former commission chairmen Lee H. Hamilton and Thomas H. Kean said the agency acted improperly. The New York Times has more.

CIA Director Michael Hayden acknowledged [statement text] earlier this month that the CIA had videotaped the interrogation of two al Qaeda suspects in 2002, but said that the tapes had been destroyed in 2005 amid concerns that they could be leaked to the public and compromise the identities of the interrogators. Several investigations have been launched into the tapes' destruction, including a joint DOJ-CIA preliminary investigation [JURIST report] and multiple congressional inquiries. The Justice Department initially asked the House Intelligence Committee to defer its investigation [JURIST report] pending the DOJ inquiry, but has since backed off that position.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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