Friday, December 21, 2007

So Now They Close the Barn Door . . .

Marty Lederman

General Michael Hayden, Director of the CIA, has now issued an order to all CIA personnel to preserve and maintain all documents, information and evidence relating to any detainee held by the CIA or at GTMO. See page 23 of the pdf of this motion filed in court today. That was easy. And yet in the several years of internal discussions about the fate of the CIA videotapes of interrogations of high-level detainees, none of the relevant actors in the White House, the CIA, or the Department of Justice ever thought to issue such an order. In open, public hearings, each of those officials should be asked a simple question: Why not?


Because if we had issued such an order, Congress would have asked us (a) why had we issued such an order and (b) why hadn't we issued the order earlier.

BTW, has anyone in Congress (a) previously asked us to issue such an order or (b) issued an order to preserve congressional documents relating to the same subjects? Just wondering.

I'll bet there is a classified codicil to the order prohibiting the videotaping of any future interrogations.

And the people held at various sites around the world who might not be in the "custody" of the CIA but who the CIA is questioning or having questioned by others?

I'm in the same boat as J.

From that Scotusblog government motion, Appendix C from Mikey Hayden at the CIA wrote:

"4. In light of recent events surrounding the destruction of recordings of the interrogations of detainees formerly in the custody of the CIA, I have issued an order to all CIA personnel to preserve and maintain all documents, informaLion, and evidence relating to:

A. any detainee held at the united States Nava! Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and

B. any detainee held by the CIA"

What struck me is the limiting language that was used.

For example, if you are a detainee and have been “renditioned” to be held by some of the US’s “friends” in the GWOT, such as Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, etc. AND the CIA has information regarding your detention in said “friendly hands”, the CIA does not oblige itself to maintain such information.

CIA-held information like video of interrogations performed by “friends”.

“Sorry, but like Netflix, we just rented this interrogation video and we have to return it or pay a late fee. Can’t have that with US living on a budget and all.”

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