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December 11, 2007

CIA Lawyers Approved Of Interrogation Tape Destruction

It turns out that in addition to being an American Hero, Jose Rodriguez the CIA official who authorized the destruction of interrogation video tapes, is not a fool. He received prior permission from lawyers in the CIAs Clandestine Operations Branch to do it (warning, its a NYT link)

The former official spoke on condition of anonymity because there is a continuing Justice Department inquiry into the matter. He said he was sympathetic to Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., the former chief of the clandestine branch, who has been described by intelligence officials as having authorized the destruction of the tapes. The former official said he was concerned that Mr. Rodriguez was being unfairly singled out for blame in the destruction of the tapes.

The former official said Mr. Rodriguez decided in November 2005 that he had sufficient authority to destroy the interrogation videos, based on the written authorization given to him from lawyers within the branch, then known as the Directorate of Operations.

Obviously, lawyers can be wrong and this decision was the subject of debate for years between the White House (who opposed the action) and the agency but we are no longer talking about some rogue officer acting on his own initiative or a premeditated effort to obstruct justice.

Naturally, this wont slow down the Democrats in Congress in their rush to label this a Bush cover up. The fact (at least according to the Times) that the White House opposed the destruction of the tapes is simply an incontinent inconvenient truth they will ignore.

h/t The Corner


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posted by DrewM. at 11:11 AM

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