From The New York Times
When officers from the Central Intelligence Agency destroyed hundreds of hours of videotapes documenting harsh interrogations in 2005, they may have believed they were freeing the government and themselves from potentially serious legal trouble.
But nearly four months after the disclosure that the tapes were destroyed, the list of legal entanglements for the C.I.A., the Defense Department and other agencies is only growing longer. In addition to criminal and Congressional investigations of the tapesâ destruction, the government is fighting off challenges in several major terrorism cases and a raft of prisonersâ legal claims that it may have destroyed evidence.
âThey thought they were saving themselves from legal scrutiny, as well as possible danger from Al Qaeda if the tapes became public,â said Frederick P. Hitz, a former C.I.A. officer and the agencyâs inspector general from 1990 to 1998, speaking of agency officials who favored eliminating the tapes. âUnknowingly, perhaps, they may have created even more problems for themselves.â...
Despite all the legal complications, those in the C.I.A. who got rid of the videotapes may have achieved one of their presumed goals: preventing a torture prosecution, said Deborah Colson, a senior associate at Human Rights First.
âIt may be impossible to reconstruct any criminal conduct that was caught on the tapes,â Ms. Colson said.
You win some, you lose some.