December 7th, 2007
12:29 PM ET
11 years ago

Senate likely to hold hearings on destroyed CIA tapes

Rockefeller told reporters he will likely hold hearings about the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller told reporters Friday that he is “inclined” to hold hearings as soon as next week on news of the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes.

The revelation this week that the intelligence agency had destroyed 2002 video recordings of the interrogation of Al Qaeda suspects that may have involved the controversial “waterboarding” technique of terror suspects drew criticism from both sides of the aisle.

Rockefeller, who was ranking Democrat at the time, did not attend initial briefing on the tapes, held shortly after they were made, but said he learned about the tapes’ existence shortly afterwards. “[The CIA] destroyed it without letting us know, without asking our permission, without consulting, without informing us in any way,” he added. “They just did what the CIA likes to do.”

Said Rockefeller, “I’ll tell you I’m really sick of this. I’m really angry about it. It’s the manipulation of the Congress.

“The use of two people out of the Senate, two people out of the House, because nobody else can be told and they say… ‘oh! They’re briefed.”

The West Virginia Democrat said that the announcement awaited his consultation with the committee’s ranking Republican, Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri, and the timing of a deal on the next FISA renewal.

Sen. Dick Durbin, the Senate’s number two Democrat, told reporters he is writing a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey requesting a Justice Department investigation into the tapes. “To think that this agency would destroy evidence, evidence that might have been used against them really is something we cannot leave alone,” said the Illinois Democrat.

Reacting to agency claims that tapes were destroyed for security reasons, including the protection of interrogators, Durbin said, “I reject that completely. We know that there are ways to protect the identity of people involved in videotapes, you can block out their faces, protect their identities. I just don’t accept that at all.

“I think on its face, that is just an incredible statement… Obviously there is fear among some that some of the information contained is going to be troublesome if not incriminating.”

- CNN Radio’s Lisa Desjardins contributed to this report

Filed under: Senate
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Frank, San Diego

    I don't see what everybody is getting so excited about. What's one more criminal cover-up after all these years?

    Can we just have the election TODAY, please?!!

    December 7, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. David, Dallas Tx

    Psst! Four paragraphs of the robo-call story are buried in the middle of the CIA tape story above.

    There are these things out there called "Copy Editors". You might consider hiring a few.

    I am not as critical as some about typos and incorrect homonyms, but come on. Any copy-editing at all would have caught THIS error.

    December 7, 2007 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. W. Artis, Goldsboro, NC

    This is a shame. The CIA can't even be trusted. As the first post indicated, what is one more criminal coverup? Even sadder is the fact, no one in authority can do anything about it.

    It was a blatant act of obstruction of justice – you don't need an investigate to tell you that, it's obvious.

    December 7, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  4. kelly thompson, staten island, ny

    It may take years and years to dig through all the criminality of this present administration. the next president will be spending most of her time uncovering the dead bodies. I would also like to know what the FBI did with the video tapes taken from the Sheraton Hotel and a gas station across from the Pentagon on 9/11. The FBI confiscated those videos that would have showed the plane slamming into the pentagon on 9/11 and have never let anyone see them. They released only 5 still frames after the plane had hit the pentagon, what are they hiding??? why is everything such a secret??? even 6 yrs later??? i dont trust this government for one second and i blame bush 100% for decline of his office and the fact that no one trusts them anymore. remember when he was running for president? and he was going to bring back honor and respect to the oval office?? has he ever kept any of his lame promises??? where are the tapes????

    December 7, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  5. Ben, St. Louis

    Maybe I am wrong, but why would this be considered evidence? As far as I know, waterboarding has never been classified as 'torture'. I'm sure it could be included, but so far has not been included in any definition of torture that exists as law today. So what's the big deal? The CIA routinely destroys documents, tapes, etc.

    I'm afraid I can't jump on the conspiracy bandwagon that the media likes to trump up on a regular basis.

    December 7, 2007 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  6. PS, KC, MO

    Sic 'em, Jay! Just be sure to hold Kit's feet to the fire and don't let him weasel out.
    It's about time the CIA were held accountable for something.

    December 7, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. Michael Arnaud-Glen Burnie, MD.

    So the CIA cleans out a file cabinet and now Cogress wants to have hearings.

    I'm sorry, the peopele questioned in the tapes are terrorists. People who want to kill Americans. OUR CONGRESS is worried about the techniques used to question them?

    Try this, if you want to kill Americans, when you are captured plan on being tortured or killed the way you want to do to us.

    The naieve members of Congress need to wake up and grow up. Teorrists love to hear about our hands being tied fighting them. The only concept terrorists understand is force. Blunt and brutal. Until OUR CONGRESS grows a backbone for the women and a set of b***s for the men, the CIA and the DOD is going to hamstrung by all the bureaucratic BS that comes out of Congress.

    If this is a War on Terrorism, then it should be a total war. No mercy, no prisoners. That's what our opponets want to do to us, that's EXACTLY what we should do to them.

    December 7, 2007 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  8. Kristy Sanborn, Buckhorn, Mo.

    I think the CIA did the right thing, they may be able to block out faces, distort voice, etc. of the interrogators, but there is always something someone could put together. Body size, height, etc from these videos.
    If CIA protected just one interrogator's identity from becoming known by destroying these videos, then that alone could save one life. Or keep someone in the CIA agency, keep their identity from becoming public knowledge, as in the case of Valerie Plume.
    A person just has to wonder, or at least I do, why does Congress want these videos so bad?
    I would think that Mr Mukasey, as being the new Attorney General, would understand how confidential the CIA's identities are. If their own agency doesn't protect their employees identities, who is going to? Congress? I don't believe that in a million years.

    December 7, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  9. NeverTrustARockefeller

    Never trust a Rockefeller. Who do you think owns the private Federal Reserve banks?

    December 7, 2007 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  10. Mike USMC 95-99

    any takers that Bush & cheney will becomes ex-pats in less than 2 years after leaving office?

    I bet they leave this country in short order...

    December 7, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. M. Saunders, Higley, Arizona

    I understand why Senator Rockefeller is angry; I can understand why he is upset. But to be surprised about the "manipulation" of Congress – really Jay ! Has not Congress been manipulated for all these seven plus years ? Is not rolling over and playing Bush's "private war" game being manipulated ? Is not ignoring how the White House has made a mockery of law and the rule of law – national and international – allowing Congress to be manipulated ?
    It's been a sad trek and one for which we shall pay dearly for many many years

    December 7, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  12. S. Wright

    That's ok, Senator Rockefeller. You keep doing what you, and your Democrat brethren have been doing since you got the majority: wasting taxpayer money with nothing to show for it.

    Who is your source stating that the CIA destroyed evidence? Another "unidentified" source?

    So, your "sick" of this, and "angry" too. What does anyone who isn't a Democrat expect you to be?

    You may have your inclinations, Senator, but I've got one for you: come November 2008, your party is going to find itself out of power again.

    December 7, 2007 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  13. mark wilkes barre pa

    kelly thompsan staten island,,,,,, OR HIM

    December 7, 2007 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. mark wilkes barre pa

    the cia destroys imformation ,tapes of audio/video paperwork as a standard of practice. this keeps field and house operatives alive and there identities safe. they imformed congress on this matter, whats the problem ?????Not everything that goes on in the cia is consperacy or orders from Bush's mouth directly, they have an important job to do, how could they possibly perform there work with out an air of secrecy ???

    December 7, 2007 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  15. John Karsten, Virginia Beach, VA

    Here is my view on what the CIA did. I don't care, they have a very hard job and do not want the public dictating their every move. I think there should be oversight as there is right now. We should let them do their job for this country. Pouring water on somebody.....have you all forgot the 4 Blackwater guys that were hung from a bridge and burned and then finally killed. Pouring water on them......oh no.
    Poor terrorists....
    We are at war people....and most of these radicals would do the same or more likely worse to you if they could.

    December 7, 2007 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  16. RB

    Oh well there seems to be something everyday with this administration. I guess things weren't so bad under Bill Clinton! This president and his cronies surely take the cake. I can't understand how he continues to get away with this crap day after day!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 7, 2007 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  17. Jeannie, Sacramento, CA

    Ahhh yes... one the one hand, destroy anything that might jeopardize the identification of CIA interrogators engaging in torture, except of course Valerie Plame's identity. That had to be exposed; after all, her husband was the first to point out that Bush lied about Iraq, among other things.

    The selective morality of Bush-Cheney is astounding!

    December 7, 2007 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  18. Mark, B'hma., Al.

    The democrats have their proiorties set right, the rights of terrorist over the life of American Citizens. When I did my 20 years in the service, one thing we were taught about the Geneva Convention was if we were caught while out of uniform we had no rights and could be executed, so get the firing squads warmed up. We need to bring back the black ops and just find suspected terrorist and make them dissappear from the face of the earth permenantly.

    December 7, 2007 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  19. erika morgan black dimond wa

    So there will be another inquisition. Unless there are some folks permanently in the pokey for torturing post haste, we are just the same as the third reich. THE BUSHIES DID NOT WISH THIS TAPE TO PLAY ON TV LIKE THE RODNEY KING VIDEO CAUSE THEY KNOW THAT THE GENERAL PUBLIC WOULD OVER RUN THEIR SECURITY AND EXECUTE A CITIZEN ARREST/LYNCHING ON THEM PERSONALLY. Please congress understand we now 70% of the American public require of Congress to get about our business.

    December 7, 2007 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  20. Danny C TN

    How are we conspiracy theorist when we give factual reference to previous CIA sponsored false flag operations? E.I "Operation Northwoods" perfect example. That alone by itself is a horrible plan, by our own loving government but was never implemented by Kennedy and look what that got him? But be scared cuase the media tells you to be. you fools. Peace out folks

    December 7, 2007 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  21. Sam Bloomfield, NJ

    I think we will be like other countries just one man show BUSH show, every day there is something this Administration do wrong, look what happened after the Republican too office:
    War, Home crisis, Economy is down, we owe other countries billions of dollars, the oil prices sky rockets, CIA leak, CIA Destroying evidence, we deal with China and every day there is a recall from China, the senators can't do anything to stop this Administration because they don't have enough votes.
    We as American should stop those Republican next election, forget for one day that you are Democrats or Republican think as American see who could UNIT US ONE NATION.
    and who know maybe BUSH will send us to war with Iran before he leaves office.

    December 7, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  22. Nick, Glendora CA

    As a 26 year old man I find that this administration is a reflection of the "New America" we live in where there is no acountability or trust! But the future starts with people like myself who can see through the lies and who know what is right, "The Truth"! What kind of example do we set to the youth of this country when we see the people who represent us lying to our faces?

    December 7, 2007 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  23. Linda Chavez, Dallas, TX

    With so many scandals popping up every month, it is no surprise that an another one like CIA will come and go. This administration is so shameless that another enquiry won't matter to them at all. And some people in this country are so dumb that they will elect the same idiots again as they did in 2000 and 2004. Unless there is a mass firing from top to the bottom, this will continue for ever. I am sick of these politicians!

    December 7, 2007 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  24. Mike, Baltimore, Maryland

    Ben, St. Louis said, "As far as I know, waterboarding has never been classified as 'torture'."

    You might ask several Japanese soldiers from WW II if waterboarding is or is not torture.

    Oh. Wait. I don't think you can ask them.

    They were executed by the US after conviction in a War Crimes trial for torturing prisoners. Waterboarding was one of the methods used in the torture and the basis for their conviction and execution for torturing prisoners.

    I think the old adage would fit: What's good for the goose is good for the gander. If it was torture then, it is still torture now.

    December 7, 2007 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  25. Angel, Los Angeles of Anaheim

    Hey John Karsten,
    Don't you think Blackwater has more than avenged their employees by about 40 innocent civilians to each one?

    Don't you even dare bring up those disgusting mercenaries in this conversation.

    December 7, 2007 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
1 2 3