Why the CIA destroyed it's interrogation tapes: “I was told, if those videotapes had ever been seen, the reaction around the world would not have been survivable”

When graphic photographs of American soldiers abusing detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq surfaced in 2004, they sparked international outrage — and prompted new scrutiny of how the U.S. treats its prisoners.
Even though Abu Ghraib itself wasn’t a CIA-run facility, the agency was worried about the scandal’s ramifications.
That’s because the CIA was in possession of something that was potentially more explosive than the detainee abuse photos: hundreds of hours of videotaped “enhanced interrogations” of two Al Qaeda suspects in CIA detention, that included the use of techniques widely described as torture. 
As FRONTLINE details in tonight’s new documentary, Secrets, Politics and Torture, those tapes would never see the light of day. Their destruction was ordered by Jose Rodriguez, then the CIA’s top operations officer.
“I was told, if those videotapes had ever been seen, the reaction around the world would not have been survivable,” Jane Mayer ofThe New Yorker tells FRONTLINE.
Go inside the CIA’s decision to destroy the tapes — and learn why CIA attorney John Rizzo was so surprised by that choice — in this advance excerpt from tonight’s new FRONTLINE film:
The destruction of the tapes would eventually be reported by The New York Times – enraging the Senate Intelligence Committee, and helping to spark their decision to embark on an independent investigation of the CIA’s covert interrogation program.
As Secrets, Politics and Torture explores, Senate investigators would eventually determine that one of the suspects in the tapes, Abu Zubaydah, “was not a senior member” of Al Qaeda. The second man in the tapes, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, “did not provide any additional threat information during, or after these interrogations,” according to Senate investigators.
Rodriguez was never prosecuted. As FRONTLINE reports in tonight’s documentary, in 2006, President George W. Bush signed legislation granting immunity to anyone at the CIA who had worked on the program.
To get the full story on the CIA’s controversial program — and what it accomplished — watch Secrets, Politics and Torture tonight at 10 p.m. EST on PBS (check local listings) and online at pbs.org/frontline.


  1. Guillotine_readyMay 20, 2015

    USA USA USA USA kinda like SOS SOS SOS

  2. disqus_q0fJBDaGHmMay 20, 2015

    In the land of TV preachers

  3. laughing foolMay 20, 2015

    Yeah.. Bush Sr. said something like this years ago.. Something like "If the American people ever find out what we have done, they would chase us down the street and lynch us."
    It's been going on for decades. Did anyone in the news have the cojones to finally say "Hey, American people, you're getting butt punched with a smile on! And here's how!"? No? Don't play at being shocked, This was allowed through apathy, as a nation. Now it's just been given the color of law through corrupted legislation.
    Now is no different. The only thing that will deter these ghouls is torches, pitchforks, and a lynch mob... Just like Bush Sr. suggested!

  4. fatwillieMay 20, 2015

    Sounds like they might have made good govt. employees.

  5. Pontious PirateMay 21, 2015

    More proof of the decadence depravity and savagery of Americans!


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