December 16th, 2007
02:38 PM ET
15 years ago

Senators: Congress should investigate CIA tapes destruction

WASHINGTON (CNN)–Three senators told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that Congress needs to investigate the interrogation tapes of suspected terrorists destroyed by the CIA in 2005.

On CNN’s Late Edition, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware said, "I can't think of a Justice Department that's been riddled with as much politicizing of everything from firing prosecutors to making up tapes. That is the last place we should be using as the investigative tool."

Biden also reiterated his call for a special prosecutor if Congress is not allowed to do its job.

On Friday, Justice Department officials sent a letter to the House Intelligence committee that said congressional inquiries would interfere with their own investigations.

But two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Republican Kit Bond of Missouri and Democrat Evan Bayh of Indiana, told Blitzer Sunday that Congress and the Justice Department should both have their own investigations. "The reason we have confidence in our process is because there are checks and balances," Bayh said.

Bond agreed that Congress should have an oversight role when it comes to the intelligence services. "We in the Intelligence Committee have had extensive investigations, and one of the problems in the intelligence community is they have not held anybody accountable for anything," he said. "We are continuing to push to see that accountability exists."

The controversy is expected to continue in the coming weeks, as the Intelligence Committee's chairman, Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, and the House Intelligence Subcommittee's chairwoman, California Rep. Jane Harman, have both vowed to proceed with the investigations despite the Justice Department’s requests.

- CNN's Ted Metzger and Peter Lanier

Filed under: Senate
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL

    NO...not Congress.

    Our interim Attorney General should appoint an independent counsel to investigate.

    Congress is too full of demagogues for the right/left to get a fair airing of this issue. Or mabye we should impart the "patriot act"...and just arrest the culprits we think did it–say that it provided aid and support to the enemy..and lock them away indefinitely.

    December 17, 2007 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  2. Tom Dedham, Mass

    Simple questions and points here:

    You have been misled that waterboarding is happening all the time, the FACT is that it was done THREE TIMES, THREE.

    Two of the three times we gained information QUICKLY (after at first they would not talk), it is PROVEN that we captured KSM and STOPPED many acts that were being planned by using these methods. FACT.

    Nancy Pelosi and other leading Democrats were all made aware of the methods used and said NOTHING as it was politically expedient to use them, now they complain and call it torture.

    Hillary said that it should be used under the Presidents discretion and just recently (like Pelosi and others) changed their tune as it is now not popular.

    Would you high and mighty people not want the Government to do EVERYTHING to protect all of us, just like you would your own children?

    These tapes on the Internet would help the terrorists gain sympathy (they wouldn't think twice about cutting your head off for NO reason).

    The CIA agents would also be exposed to harm and their family may be harmed as well.

    Whose side are you on?

    December 17, 2007 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  3. Former US Army Officer, Kansas

    Kate, Aurora CO : December 17, 2007 11:17 am

    Just one comment our military does not employ waterboarding or other methods deemed as torture and has regulations in place that outlaw such practises. Other governmental agencies such as the CIA are not governed by the same high standards and ethical behavior however as our military.

    December 18, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  4. Mike, Cleveland, OH

    Tom Dedham, Mass

    Are you sure it was only done 3 times? The Bush Adm. is known for its cloak and dagger secrecy. Case in point, several private groups like Judicial Watch sued to get a list of people visiting the VP to see who was involved in the Cheney Energy task force. Cheney claimed executive privilege to prevent to Secret Service logs from becoming public. Then later the National Archives (based on a presidential order) started requiring officials to report statistics on the number of documents it classifies and declassifies. Cheney then states he isn't part of the executive branch. Surely you can see that Cheney wants to have both ways and is overly secretive. This is just another case of more people working with administration to cover their tracks. Furthermore, this is the CIA, do you really think it was necessary to destroy the tapes, why not just make them classified or a matter of "Top National Security"?

    NNNNOOOO lets destroy the evidence of so that we won't be criticized. After all we don't want people to think we took the low road and resorted to torture.

    I do want the Gov't to protect me, however, I also want the gov't to take the high road in times of war. I think the argument that because they weren't part of a "standing army" they aren't covered under the Geneva Convention is a cop-out. We're splitting hairs when we don't label them POWs. Hey I got a great idea, lets just hold them in Gitmo for the rest of their lives and never give them a fair trial. I'm sure the muslim world would just love to have another reason to hate us even more.

    As for the CIA agents being exposed to harm, come on Tom! Ever heard of distorting figures or faces on camera? The technology is out there to edit film to prevent the identification of the agents. Likewise, I suppose it was ok for the CIA to protect these guys but it equally ok for Armitage/Rove/Libby to disclose Plame's ID?

    Tom, you may think waterboarding isn't torture and thats an opinion that I respectfully disagree with. However, John McCain who actually was tortured numerous times has said that it is torture and he doesn't support the practice. There are other GOP members of the House and Senate who also support a waterboarding ban, so don't make this a Us vs Them issue. God I hope CNN doesn't censor this post!

    December 18, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  5. PatriotAct

    The destruction of the CIA tapes documenting evidence obtained in interrogations of two high level terrorism suspects is a :

    FELONY VIOLATION of the USA Patriot Act

    Wake UP ! It's hidden in plain sight right in front of your nose.

    This is the very first blog I have found after weeks of intensive searching and posting on this matter, the very first blog that one single other person has mentioned the possibility of using the USA Patriot Act to prosecute.

    December 28, 2007 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
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