Judge suggests CIA lying about videotapes

Jan. 17, 2008 at 6:03 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- A federal judge in New York said Thursday that he might question CIA agents about the destruction of two videotapes of harsh interrogations of detainees.

U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein refused to grant a request by the American Civil Liberties Union to hold the CIA in contempt for refusing to produce records about the tapes, The New York Times reported. But he doubted the agency's claim that the records do not exist, saying it was hard to believe the tapes were of so little value that nothing was kept on file.

"I just can't accept it," he said. "If it came up in an ordinary case, it would not be credible," the judge said, adding, "It boggles the mind."

The ACLU has filed a freedom of information act request for any documents.

The U.S. House Intelligence Committee held a closed hearing Wednesday on the tapes, made at secret prisons outside the United States. John Rizzo, the CIA acting general counsel, testified.

The committee chairman, Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, said he was convinced the CIA skirted its duties to report to congressional oversight members regarding the tapes and their destruction, The Washington Post said Thursday.

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