December 16th, 2007
02:38 PM ET
14 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. mark wilkes barre pa

    the three stooges is more like it

    December 16, 2007 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  2. Robert Worthington

    Yes, the tapes should definitely be investigated. I lost all confidence in the Democrats a short time after I elected them though, so I won't holg my breath.

    December 16, 2007 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  3. Wyatt Medford,Oregon

    Joe is right, once again.

    December 16, 2007 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  4. Sara Wilke SC

    This whole administration needs to be investigaged.
    I would not trust anyone of them for a second even watching them all the time.
    That goes double for Bush and Cheney/

    December 16, 2007 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  5. Joseph, St. Louis, MO

    The CIA should have the right to keep certain investigations confidential that concern our Country's security.

    These Senators and Congressmen are just trying to make political points by pushing for these investigations.

    The nation's security has truly been weakened over the past 20 years by not having enough foreign infiltration throughout the world.

    December 16, 2007 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  6. Paul C, Palmetto Bay, FL

    Another example of the Bush arrogance.
    You will see the Bush gang doing everything they can to stop any investigation. It will be interesting to see if Congress has the where-with-all to pursue the issue.

    December 16, 2007 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  7. Brian, Eastham MA

    Want transparent and accountable government? Vote Ron Paul. Donate to Ron Paul tonight, and be part of history, the highest one day political donation total ever! We're already over 5 million!

    December 16, 2007 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  8. Pixie, Murfreesboro, TN

    Um. yes this should definitely be investigated. It's sad that this is even a point of contention.

    December 16, 2007 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  9. Ron Nebraska

    give the Dems more of a majority and then see how much can be accomplished. It's all dependant on votes and as long as Bush has enough lap dogs in Congress obstruction is inevitable.

    December 16, 2007 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  10. Alan

    While there at it, Congress needs to look at another Bush faux pax, the omission of the hospital with the largest patient death toll post Hurricane Katrina? Why is this relevant now? Because the same private equity firm is getting ready to buy ManorCare.

    If the Carlyle Group can fail 24 LifeCare patients in a time of disaster, what might they do with 550 mostly nursing homes? It's directly relevant to the proposed purchase but no oversight body has made a peep.

    Get off your keister Congress!

    December 16, 2007 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  11. larry kraus farmersville illinois

    i'm glad the democrats are in power in congress because if the republican's were still in control not only would congress not investigate we would never even have heard about it. the republicans have let this president do so much wrong that he isn't used to being told NO NO NO.

    December 17, 2007 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  12. Chance Fresno, CA

    Replying to KC....You cant figure out why waterboarding is such a big deal? So if Iran catches our soldiers and waterboards them are we supposed to think thats ok? Is our CIA so helpless they cant keep video tapes secure? if they cant keep 2 video tapes secure then god help all of us...they had a reason for destroying them and given this administrations record so far im guessing it was to cover something up.

    December 17, 2007 04:41 am at 4:41 am |
  13. mark wilkes barre pa

    I would like to think that as far as we have come as a nation in such a short time in comparison to other nations, we would have other means of extracting the imformation we need out of prisoners of war. The reality is we do not. This is the ugly side of war !! When we go to war ,we take the pros and cons with us. Our enemies at the present time would do and have done far worse. Congress knew or should know this when they sign on. there is no room for monday morning quarterbacks during war. It undermines our solders efforts, lessons there sacrfice, It gives our enemies a false sense of weakness on our side that emboldens them to keep fighting.If our troops are busy thinking how there commanders orders are to be interpreted at home, they can't do there job on the battle field. War sucks, War is hell on earth,, but war is somthing no one on this earth is ammune of at this time. Battles and events that happen during war times can not be scrutinized in real time as they occure by the congress, by the media, or by us. This does not fall under the RIGHT TO KNOW

    December 17, 2007 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  14. Ann ME

    How pathetic our congress has become. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have brought tremendous shame to America, and disgust from the world. Democrats can't get beyond their petty hatred to perform even the most menial tasks. They have become totally ineffectual and meaningless.

    December 17, 2007 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  15. R M

    Investigate what? Most of you people have got your priorities friggen backwards. Most of what should be investigated goes by the wayside and you idiots want to stir up more unpopular criticism in the worlds eyes. Thanks much you bleedin heart liberals.

    December 17, 2007 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  16. Mark, Shreveport, LA

    and this effects me how?

    December 17, 2007 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  17. Michelle D. - Atlanta, GA

    And I quote from the gospel of "W":

    "America does not torture."

    That is, unless you have the tapes to prove it.

    Can't we convict this man for LYING???

    What an A-hole!

    December 17, 2007 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  18. Roderick Scotsko, Washington, DC

    These news releases are exactly why Congress should NOT conduct investigations. At least when the Dept of Justice investigates, the information is still protected. Congress runs right to the press every time. It is a sad day when Congress thinks they can declassify National Security information for political gain. Our country is going to the dogs.

    December 17, 2007 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  19. JC, Topeka, Kansas

    First off, Congress called for a independent prosecutor to be placed in charge of the investigation. This was done because it has political consquenses and is an investigation within the executive branch of government which both the DoJ and the CIA fall.

    The AG has not appointed an independent investigator, it is with in Congresses perview to provide over sight of the CIA. Refusal to cooperate would be interference with Congress in preforming its Consitutional duties.

    While I agree that much much more about this administration should be invesitogated, this is where we are today. As far as concerns about national security, there are provisions where matters that involve national secuirity can be provided behind closed doors. However, it should be noted that matters of national security involve security of the natioon not protecting administration flunkys.

    The nations security has been weakened, by the eroding of American values that this nation was founded upon. Humint is not a factor here, one does not recruit spys through illegal actions by our personnal, one recruits spys for many reasons to include illegal activities on behalf of the recruit. So if anything the administrations use of illegal means has weakened our nations security by exposing our inteligence personnal involved in carrying out these illegal activites to blackmail and recruitment by foreign governments.

    To preserve our national security, we must get to bottom of this mess and identify those responsible for the destruction of the tapes and the crimes that they were attempting to coverup.

    December 17, 2007 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  20. Robert, Vivian, LA

    And this effects me how?
    No one I know is worried about this. we worry about taxes, health care prices, terrorism, ending the war in Iraq, government waste, etc.
    Stick to the important topics, congress!

    December 17, 2007 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  21. Hank, Memphis, TN

    investigate this. this really reeks of a cover up. the CIA is obviously out of control and covering their tracks.

    December 17, 2007 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  22. Kate, Aurora CO

    In response to KC:

    Isn't one of the many reasons used by this administration to justify the war in Iraq, that we are spreading freedom? How are we spreading freedom if our military resorts to the same cruel and inhumane tactics employed by our "enemies"?
    The democrats don't have to try very hard to embarrass this president, he does more than enough to accomplish that feat on his own. We all laugh about this president's abuse of the english language but other countries see it as our president being an uneducated backyard shoot 'em up cowboy who got through life on a name and a legacy. Al Gore isn't president but still your republican right wingers take every chance to insult him, for example when he was given the Nobel Peace Prize. Republicans don't lower themselves? Excuse me? Millions and millions of our tax dollars spent on investigating an extramarital affair? That wasn't wasteful? What exactly came out of that investigation? You say the democrats act like spoiled brats and in part I agree with you but I would rather a spoiled brat than an arrogant faith monger who invades soverign nations based on lies all the while profiting from the lost lives of innocent people.

    December 17, 2007 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  23. therealist

    Evidently Joe does remember Janet Reno...

    December 17, 2007 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  24. Z, St. Louis, MO.

    As much as this regime in DC like to
    spout off about "transparency" and
    "free and democratic society " they
    act more like the Saudi or Iranian
    government where they interpret the
    laws on a case by case basis based
    on whom it's going ot applied.
    And add to this a little bit of the
    Khmer Rouge, they were masters of torture and used "waterboarding"
    regularly in the torture and execution
    process at Tuol Sleng Prison.

    So taken all together, this regime
    in DC is everything they claim to
    be against and then some.

    December 17, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  25. ej/san antonio,tx

    the system allows Congress to, if there's a matter that needs looking into, that's their's not an 'if-you-wanna'

    December 17, 2007 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
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