The Meaning of the CIA's 3,000 Pages of Destroyed Interrogation Tapes → Washingtons Blog
The Meaning of the CIA's 3,000 Pages of Destroyed Interrogation Tapes - Washingtons Blog

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Meaning of the CIA's 3,000 Pages of Destroyed Interrogation Tapes

What does the fact that the CIA destroyed numerous videotapes of Guantanamo interrogations, but has 3,000 pages of transcripts from those tapes really mean?

Initially, it means that CIA's claim that it destroyed the video tapes to protect the interrogators' identity is false. Why? Well, the transcripts contain the identity of the interrogator. And the CIA is refusing to produce the transcripts.

Obviously, the CIA could have "blurred" the face of the interrogator and shifted his voice (like you've seen on investigative tv shows like 60 Minutes) to protect the interrogator's identity. And since the CIA is not releasing the transcripts, it similarly could have refused to release the videos.

The fact that the CIA instead destroyed the videos shows that it has something to hide.

Indeed, Pulitzer prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh says that children were tortured as part of the "war on terror", as does respected political scientist Michael Haas. A videotape would instantly show whether the detainee was a child or an adult, while a transcript could easily hide age.

In addition, the 9/11 Commission report was based largely on third-hand accounts of what tortured detainees allegedly said. The fact that the CIA destroyed the actual videotapes means that we will never know for sure what the detainees actually said (anyone can fake a transcript after the fact).

Finally, the top interrogation experts in the world agree that torture doesn't work. Indeed, it has been known for hundreds of years that people will say whatever they think the interrogator wants to hear to stop the pain.

Videotapes would likely clearly show detainees saying things like "okay, okay, if you want me to say I blew it up, I'll say it. Okay, yes. It was me. Will you stop torturing me now?"

The fact that the CIA destroyed the videotapes speaks volumes.


  1. I'm waiting for the videotapes at Abu Ghraib to leak, the ones that our so-called "representatives" HAVE ALREADY SEEN AND DONE NOTHING ABOUT. The videotapes which show children being sodomized in front of their mothers. THAT'S the ones I'm wating for. Then MAYBE the American sheeple will be outraged long enough to stop grazing and act.

  2. Torture "works" as a way to control populations and open dissent within populations. Getting a confession from one particular suspect isn't exactly the point, in my opinion. Most barbaric government use torture for the former reason - purely to instill fear. Torture has certainly "worked" for Mubarak, in Egypt, during his long stay in power.

  3. Made a Dutch translation for on this important article.

    You're blogs are just great. Reason to respond is your referral to Seymour Hersh who mentioned the torture of children in Gitmo. But your own sources just mention sexual abuse and torture of children in Abu Ghraib in Iraq, also according to Hersh.

    It seems therefore that Hersh never mentioned Gitmo in relation to tortured children, at least not in your own referrals.


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