WASHINGTON — The CIA has tapes of 9/11 plotter Ramzi Binalshibh
being interrogated in a secret overseas prison. Discovered under a desk,
the recordings could provide an unparalleled look at how foreign
governments aided the U.S. in holding and questioning suspected
The two videotapes and one audiotape are believed to be the only remaining recordings made within the clandestine prison system.
The tapes depict Binalshibh's interrogation sessions at a
Moroccan-run facility the CIA used near Rabat in 2002, several current
and former U.S. officials told The Associated Press. They spoke on the
condition of anonymity because the recordings remain a closely guarded
When the CIA destroyed its cache of 92 videos of two other al-Qaida
operatives, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Nashiri, being waterboarded in 2005,
officials believed they had wiped away all of the agency's
interrogation footage. But in 2007, a staffer discovered a box tucked
under a desk in the CIA's Counterterrorism Center and pulled out the
A Justice Department prosecutor who is already investigating whether
destroying the Zubaydah and al-Nashiri tapes was illegal is now also
probing why the Binalshibh tapes were never disclosed. Twice, the
government told a federal judge they did not exist.
The tapes could complicate U.S. efforts to prosecute Binalshibh, 38,
who has been described as a "key facilitator" in the Sept. 11, 2001,
attacks. If the tapes surfaced at trial, they could clearly reveal
Morocco's role in the counterterrorism program known as Greystone, which
authorized the CIA to hold terrorists in secret prisons and shuttle
them to other countries.
More significantly to his defense, the tapes also could provide
evidence of Binalshibh's mental state within the first months of his
capture. In court documents, defense lawyers have been asking for
medical records to see whether Binalshibh's years in CIA custody made
him mentally unstable. He is being treated for schizophrenia with a
potent cocktail of anti-psychotic medications.