I haven’t spent much time discussing the CIA destroying the tapes of their interrogations of two Al Qaeda suspects. I figured that this would fit in with all the rest of the scandals. The surprising development today. First, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, cochairman of the 9/11 commission, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times today entitled Stonewalled by the CIA. Their second paragraph gets to the meat of the matter —
The commission’s mandate was sweeping and it explicitly included the intelligence agencies. But the recent revelations that the C.I.A. destroyed videotaped interrogations of Qaeda operatives leads us to conclude that the agency failed to respond to our lawful requests for information about the 9/11 plot. Those who knew about those videotapes — and did not tell us about them — obstructed our investigation.
US Attorney General Michael Mukasey has opened a formal criminal investigation into the destruction of the tapes. Although this seemed to be a no-brainer today outside observer, the attorney general seem to resist this notion four to six weeks ago.
Update: Jonathan Turley was on Countdown (in the video), here’s a portion of what he said, “There‘s at least six that made compelling—there‘s a compelling basis for at least six. You‘ve got obstruction of congress, obstruction of justice, you have perjury, conspiracy, I think, a spoliation. There‘s also a chance you might have false statements, so the list gets longer. But the original one is torture. You know, many people in Congress and in the White House and at the Justice Department are framing this as an obstruction investigation, as if what‘s on those tapes is an episode of Barney. What‘s on those tapes is the original crime in the scandal. And that‘s the crime of torturing people. It is still, even after the last seven years, a crime to torture suspects.” (more…)