CIA destroyed nearly 100 interrogation tapes of al Qaeda operatives

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New York, Mar 3 (ANI): The US Government has admitted that the CIA destroyed 92 videos of its intelligence officers grilling al Qaeda suspects at secret black sites.

A previous admission by prosecutors following al Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui's 2006 conviction and life sentence had revealed that the spy agency burned two videos and one audiotape.

"CIA can now identify the number. Ninety-two videotapes were destroyed," the Justice Department wrote in a letter to a judge hearing a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Prosecutors were supposed to turn over any interrogation materials related to al Qaeda detainees who knew Moussaoui or were directly involved in the 9/11 plot, the Daily News reported.

The defense was never told any tapes existed, though it isn't clear how many of the 92 videos would have been relevant to their case.

However, CIA officials declined to comment, citing an ongoing criminal probe into obstruction of justice.

Ex-CIA Director Michael Hayden revealed in late 2007 that the agency had videotaped al Qaeda interrogations only in 2002.

Hayden told CIA staffers it was done "after it was determined they were no longer of intelligence value and not relevant to any internal, legislative, or judicial inquiries - including the trial of Zacarias Moussaoui."

The ACLU has sued for documents related to the agency's discontinued enhanced interrogation program, which ex-President Bush ordered as a covert action, a source said.

The tapes were shredded in November 2005, just as controversies arising over possible torture - involving techniques such as waterboarding used on three Al Qaeda prisoners - led some CIA officials to fear prosecution. (ANI)

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