Sunday, March 15, 2009

CIA- Going Beyond "Top Secret"

(Art by Julia Nissen)

On March 6th, 2009 the CIA finally admitted that it destroyed 92 videotapes of interrogation, 12 of them which showed CIA officials' use of harsh interrogation techniques like waterboarding back in 2005. CIA's unlawful act occurred after the ACLU filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests in 2003 and 2004.

After suspicions of CIA's conduction of torture arose, the ACLU filed FIOA requests on October 2003 and May 2004, so to view the videotapes and manuscripts concerning CIA's interrogation techniques. However, the CIA failed to comply to the ACLU, as well as, the 9/11 Commission's requests. Thereafter, the United States District Court for Southern New York stepped in and ruled that the CIA must produce all materials that are related to interrogation. Again, the CIA decided it was above the law and didn't produce the materials.

(Image from

To retaliate against CIA's perpetual disregard for the law, on December 12th, 2007 the ACLU filed a motion to hold the CIA in contempt. Jameel Jaffar, the Director of ACLU's National Security Project stated, "By destroying these tapes, the CIA violated the statute as well as an order of the court. In the circumstances, it would be entirely appropriate for the court to hold the agency in contempt."

Presently, the motion is still pending. However, if it goes through, the CIA will be forced to hand over all interrogation-related materials and give written descriptions of the tapes that have been destroyed.

All bodies of government need to be held accountable for the performance of illegal and/or abusive activities. If they are not, we will surely see a gradual descent to some form of tyrannical rule. I know this sounds like an exaggeration but if you break it down, it really isn't. Most people will act illegally if they know that this act will give them greater power (in whatever sense) and if they know they can get away with it. If we don't hold them accountable now, what will stop them from further abusing our legal system and even our own rights?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The CIA is keeping America safe, why can't you see that :)