[JURIST] Two videotapes showing CIA officers interrogating al Qaeda suspects are likely not related to a federal case filed by a Guantanamo Bay detainee and thus not covered by a court order entered in that case directing the CIA to preserve evidence relating to the case, the CIA argued in court papers filed Wednesday. The filing came in response to an order [PDF text, JURIST report] issued in January by US District Judge Richard W. Roberts directing the government to provide information about why the CIA destroyed videotapes showing the interrogation of terror suspects [JURIST news archive], whether other evidence connected to a lawsuit filed by Yemeni Guantanamo Bay detainee Hani Abdullah was destroyed, and what steps the government has taken to preserve relevant evidence. According to the CIA filing, the CIA has reviewed thousands of classified documents in conjunction with federal prosecutors to determine whether the tapes were protected under the court order, but found nothing to indicate they are relevant to the federal case. AP has more.
CIA Director Michael Hayden acknowledged [statement text] in December 2007 that the CIA destroyed the two videotapes in 2005 amid concerns that they could be leaked to the public and compromise the identities of the interrogators. In February, Roberts extended the deadline [JURIST report; order, PDF] for the CIA to reply to his request for information. The CIA had asked for the extension on the grounds that compliance could interfere with a US Justice Department criminal probe [JURIST report] into the destruction of the tapes.