Friday, November 12, 2010

White House rejects criminal charges in CIA destruction of torture videos

By John Andrews,, Nov 11, 2010
The five-year statute of limitations for criminally prosecuting the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officials who destroyed videos depicting torture during interrogations expired Monday with no charges being filed. The lapsing of the case followed a nearly three-year-long investigation by a special prosecutor.

Before their destruction, government officials were ordered by courts to preserve all records of so-called “enhanced interrogations.” Both before and after the videos were destroyed, officials lied repeatedly about the recordings’ existence.

Monday’s non-action is the latest by the Obama administration to cover up Bush era war crimes. Previously, Attorney General Eric Holder invoked the “state secrets” privilege to quash a case brought by torture victims against the private contractor hired by the CIA to transport them abroad for torture, and to block a case brought against the National Security Agency for illegal wiretapping.

Holder’s lawyers also successfully petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court order mandating the release of photos, which depict torture and abuse of inmates held at Abu Ghraib and other notorious Bush-era detention facilities. Although Obama pledged to close the concentration camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within a year of his inauguration, it still holds 240 prisoners, most having languished there for years without charges or trials of any sort.

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