No Charges in CIA Videotape Destruction Inquiry

By Jenny Schlesinger

Nov 9, 2010 4:11pm

ABC News' Jason Ryan reports:  The Justice Department disclosed on Tuesday that no one will be charged in the long ongoing investigation into the destruction of 92 CIA videotapes that showed enhanced interrogation techniques being used on terrorism detainees. Federal prosecutor John Durham had been investigating the destruction of the CIA tapes, which are believed to have shown sessions that included waterboarding and other harsh tactics being used on detainees.  The investigation was initiated in January 2008 by then Attorney General Michael Mukasey following a recommendation by the Justice Department's National Security Division.  Mukasey appointed Durham as the acting U.S. Attorney in Eastern District of Virginia.  Durham’s office declined to comment Tuesday but Justice Department Director of Public Affairs, Matthew Miller, said in a  statement, “A team of prosecutors and FBI agents led by Mr. Durham has conducted an exhaustive investigation into the matter.  As a result of that investigation, Mr. Durham has concluded that he will not pursue criminal charges for the destruction of the interrogation videotapes.”  According to officials the tapes that were destroyed showed interrogations of Al Qaeda detainees Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. The tapes were destroyed after review by the CIA’s General Counsel and a review of the CIA Inspector General found that the interrogation methods on the tapes were within the legal guidance that had been issued by the Justice Department. According to officials the tapes were destroyed at some point in November 2005 when officials said they no longer contained any intelligence value.  Attorney General Eric Holder in August 2009 tasked Durham to expand his review and investigate whether CIA interrogators and contractors violated U.S. torture statutes. According to Justice Department officials that review is still ongoing.  In a statement CIA Director Leon Panetta said, “The tapes were made in 2002 and were destroyed in 2005.  The Agency has cooperated with the investigation of this issue from the start, and we welcome the decision.  We will continue, of course, to cooperate with the Department of Justice on any other aspects of the former program that it reviews.  But we are pleased that the decision was made not to charge any Agency officers for the destruction of the tapes.” Durham’s review into the destruction of the tapes focused on the actions of former CIA official Jose Rodriguez, who served as the chief of the National Clandestine Service and ordered the destruction of the tapes in 2005. Contacted by ABC News Rodriguez’s attorney Robert Bennett said, “We are pleased that the DOJ has decided not to go forward against Mr. Rodriguez. This is the right decision because of the facts and the law. Jose Rodriguez is an American hero, a true patriot who only wanted to protect his people and his country.”

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