CIA Admits Destroying Al Qaeda Interrogation Tapes

By Jennifer Parker

Dec 6, 2007 5:13pm

ABC News’ Jonathan Karl Reports: The CIA today is acknowledging that they videotaped the interrogation of two top Al Qaeda prisoners in 2002 and that the tapes were destroyed in 2005.

CIA Director Mike Hayden sent a message to CIA employees today saying "the press has learned" about the videotapes and the fact that they were destroyed.  Hayden makes no apologies:  He defends the interrogation methods, the videotaping and the decision to destroy the tapes.

He says the tapes were destroyed in 2005 because they were no longer of intelligence or legal value and that if they leaked they would "pose a serious security risk" by revealing the identities of CIA operatives involved in the interrogation.

There were tapes of two detainees, one of which was Abu Zubaydah, according to a U.S. official.  The taping stopped in 2002.

The decision to destroy the tapes was made by the CIA, but Hayden says the leaders of the Congressional intelligence committees knew about the tapes and the decision to destroy them.

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