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Federal judge asked to probe CIA destruction of interrogation videos

[JURIST] Lawyers for several detainees at Guantanamo Bay filed an emergency motion [PDF text] Sunday asking a federal judge to look into the CIA's destruction of videotapes [JURIST report] showing the interrogations of terror suspects. CIA Director Michael Hayden acknowledged [statement text] last week that the CIA had videotaped the interrogation of two 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. In the case of Abdah v. Bush, currently before the US District Court for the District of Columbia, lawyers for 11 Yemeni detainees asked presiding judge Henry H. Kennedy, Jr. to determine whether the CIA's actions violated a June 2005 order in that case where Kennedy directed the government to "preserve and maintain all evidence and information regarding the torture, mistreatment, and abuse of detainees now at the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba." SCOTUSblog has more.

Existence of the videotapes was verified in November after the CIA admitted it had mistakenly denied [JURIST report] that it had recorded interrogations in a court declaration during the trial of 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. Since Hayden announced that the videotapes had been destroyed, several investigations have been launched, including a joint DOJ-CIA preliminary investigation [DOJ letter; JURIST report] and multiple congressional inquiries. Though Hayden said last week that the CIA acted "in line with the law," but the New York Times reported over the weekend that the DOJ advised against destroying the tapes [JURIST report].

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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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