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CIA was urged not to destroy tapes

Jan. 4, 2008 at 8:02 AM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- A senior U.S. lawmaker said she urged CIA officials in 2003 not to destroy videotapes of harsh interrogations.

U.S. Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., released a letter that she wrote to the CIA in February 2003 that contains a quote from CIA General Counsel Scott Muller, who said a recording of the intelligence agency's interrogation of Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein, better known as Abu Zubaida, "will be destroyed after the Inspector General finishes his inquiry."

The CIA confirmed Muller's quote Thursday.

"Even if the videotape does not constitute an official record that must be preserved under the law, the videotape would be the best proof that the written record is accurate, if such record is called into question in the future," Harman wrote in her 2003 letter.

Harman, who had recently become the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, urged Muller in her letter to "reconsider" destroying the tapes, as it "would reflect badly on the agency."

However, the tapes were destroyed in 2002. U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey ordered a formal criminal investigation into their destruction Wednesday.

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