Judge Refuses to Hold CIA in Contempt for Destroying Interrogation Videotapes

A Manhattan federal judge won’t hold the Central Intelligence Agency in contempt for destroying videotapes chronicling harsh interrogations of two al-Qaida detainees.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein ordered the CIA to pay to pay legal costs of the American Civil Liberties Union for pursuing the case, but said he didn’t think a contempt citation “will add to anything.” CNN, Reuters and a [post on the ACLU’s Blog of Rights have information on Hellerstein’s ruling.

The judge also is requiring the CIA to detail new document retention policies implemented after the tapes were destroyed. “The bottom line is we are in a dangerous world,” Hellerstein said. “We need our spies, we need surveillance, but we also need accountability.”

The ACLU had contended the destruction of the tapes violated a court order in its Freedom of Information suit seeking information about the treatment of detainees.

Prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “DOJ Lets Deadline Lapse for Case Involving Destruction of CIA Interrogation Tapes”

ABAJournal.com: “Lawyers ‘Livid’ and ‘Upset’ Over Destroyed Interrogation Tapes, E-Mails Show”

ABAJournal.com: “CIA Destroyed 92 Interrogation Videotapes”

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