Don’t expect anyone to be punished for the destruction of torture tapes by the CIA. Responding to a request from civil libertarians that the CIA should be held in contempt of court for destroying the tapes, U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein criticized the intelligence agency for its actions, but limited his punishment to a request that CIA officials investigate the matter themselves.
The 92 video recordings of detainees being tortured during interrogation sessions were illegally destroyed in November 2005, immediately after news accounts revealed the existence of secret prisons being operated by the CIA.
“This kind of destruction never should have occurred,” said Hellerstein, adding that it showed that the CIA does not trust “judges to have proper regard for the security interests of the United States.”
Following the judge’s remarks, Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara LaMorte said a government prosecutor who investigated the destruction has offered to meet with Hellerstein and tell him what he learned. The judge indicated he might make public some details revealed in that meeting.