For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Brenda Bowser Soder
O -202/370-3323, C – 301/906-4460

Group Calls For Completion of Investigation Into Interrogation Videotape Destruction

WASHINGTON - Human Rights First today stated that the release of documents
showing that senior CIA officials approved of the destruction of 92
videotapes of abusive interrogations of terrorism suspects underscores
the need for the administration to complete its investigation of the
matter and hold accountable any officials found to have obstructed
justice. The tapes, released yesterday, were destroyed in November
2005, shortly after the existence of CIA "black sites" was revealed in
the press.

"The abuse and torture of prisoners in U.S. custody was a
disgraceful chapter in this country's history," said Human Rights
First's Dixon Osburn. "Only by revealing all of the facts surrounding
these episodes can we move beyond them and take the steps necessary to
ensure that this history does not repeat itself."

E-mail messages produced yesterday in response to a Freedom of
Information Act request by the American Civil Liberties Union reveal
that then-CIA Director Porter Goss agreed with the decision to the
destroy the tapes after it was made.  Jose Rodriguez, Jr., head of the
directorate of operations of the CIA from 2004 to 2007, authorized the
tapes' destruction.

In January 2008, then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey appointed
Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham to investigate the destruction of
the tapes. Attorney General Eric Holder in August 2009 expanded the
investigation to include an inquiry into the actions of CIA
interrogators and contractors involved in abusive interrogations.

"These latest documents suggest that senior CIA officials were
responsible both for making the decision to destroy the tapes and
afterwards, for covering it up," said Osburn. "While we applaud the
administration for continuing to investigate this matter and expanding
the investigation's scope, we urge the Attorney General to invest all
of the resources necessary to bring the investigation to a conclusion
and to hold any culpable individuals accountable."



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Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington D.C. Human Rights First believes that building respect for human rights and the rule of law will help ensure the dignity to which every individual is entitled and will stem tyranny, extremism, intolerance, and violence.

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