Criminal Investigation Into Destroyed CIA Tapes Coming to a Close?

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For over a year, a federal prosecutor has been quietly conducting a criminal probe into the CIA’s destruction of videotapes documenting the interrogations of Al Qaeda operatives Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. The tapes showed the terrorism suspects being subjected to harsh interrogation techniques, possibly waterboarding, and were reportedly destroyed in 2005 due to concerns the videos could prompt legal blowback against agency officials. According to a recent court filing [PDF], the investigation into the matter may soon be coming to close.

Steven Aftergood points us to a declaration filed by John Durham, the US Attorney who’s leading the investigation, in a related Freedom of Information Act case. In that case, the James Madison Project, a DC-based nonprofit headed by whistleblower lawyer Mark Zaid, is seeking access to CIA documents pertaining to the destruction of the tapes. Durham was seeking—and on Monday received—a stay in the FOIA case in order to give his team time to wrap up remaining interviews. But it won’t be long, he told the court. “Investigators are now in the process of scheduling interviews with the remaining witnesses to be interviewed in this investigation,” he wrote in the December 31 filing. “Based on the investigative accomplishments to date, we anticipate that by mid-February 2009, and no later than February 28, 2009, we will have completed the interviews.” He also said that a “considerable portion of the work to be done in connection with the investigation has been completed.”

Stay tuned.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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