White House, Justice to CIA: don't ditch tapes.

If anyone was wondering just how bad things have been at the CIA, the destroyed-interrogation-tapes controversy makes it clear: very. Today the New York Times reports that in 2003 officials in the White House and in the Department of Justice warned the CIA not to destroy the tapes, and at that time CIA officials complied. But two years later, according to the Times, Jose A. Rodriguez Jr.--then director of the clandestine service--reversed the 2003 decision and had the videos destroyed. Apparently Rodriguez did not bother to inform then-CIA Director Porter Goss. More difficult to believe, President Bush has, wait for it, "no recollection" of being informed about the tapes' destruction before Thursday--this past Thursday.

It was not until at least a year after the destruction of the tapes that any members of Congress were informed about the action, the officials said. On Friday, Representative Peter Hoekstra, the Michigan Republican who was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee from 2004 to 2006, said he had never been told that the tapes were destroyed.

I think the intelligence committee needs to get all over this, said Mr. Hoekstra, who has been a strong supporter of the C.I.A. detention and interrogation program. This raises a red flag that needs to be looked at.

Grant Gallicho joined Commonweal as an intern and was an associate editor for the magazine until 2015. 

Also by this author

Please email comments to [email protected] and join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Must Reads