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CIA Says It Cooperated With 9-11 Commission

By VOA News
22 December 2007

The Central Intelligence Agency says it cooperated with the September 11 commission and did not destroy videotaped interrogations of al-Qaida suspects while the panel was active.

CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield suggested the spy agency did not give the tapes to the commission investigating the 2001 terror attacks because the panel never asked for them.

The New York Times reported Saturday that the CIA may have withheld information from the commission because it did not provide the tapes.

The newspaper said former members of the panel conducted a review after the CIA admitted this month to destroying in 2005 videotaped interrogations of two suspected al-Qaida operatives.

According to the Times, the review found that the commission made repeated and detailed requests for information related to interrogations of al-Qaida operatives in 2003 and 2004, and was assured by a top CIA official that the panel had received everything requested.

The New York Times quotes 9-11 commission co-chair Thomas Kean as saying that he does not know whether the CIA's decision to not disclose the tapes was illegal, but said, in his words, "it's certainly wrong."

The tapes were made in 2002. CIA chief Michael Hayden said the tapes were destroyed to protect the interrogators. Critics allege the action was taken to hide evidence of torture.

Friday, a federal judge held a hearing to consider whether the government violated a 2005 court order to preserve material related to alleged prisoner mistreatment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He did not immediately rule.

But the Justice Department argues the tapes were not covered under the court order since there was no evidence the suspects, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, were questioned at Guantanamo.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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