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Negroponte: Destroyed Torture Tapes? I Don't Remember

BRIAN LEHRER: You were director of National Intelligence when the CIA interrogation tapes were destroyed in ’05. And I’ve read that you said that you advised that the tapes not be destroyed. What’s at stake, in your opinion, with this matter, for the rule of law at home and for America’s image abroad.

JOHN NEGROPONTE: First of all, to be candid with you, I do not recall the incident – I did not recall it when the publicity came out about it. And what has been published was based apparently on some email exchanges that attribute certain views to me. I think, under the circumstances, and since this is a matter under investigation, I think that I probably ought not to make any further comment about this, other than to say that I have confidence that these inquiries will get to the bottom of the situation.

BRIAN LEHRER: Just to clarify what you said, though, these emails that were attributed to you – you don’t have a recollection of the matter of these particular tapes…

JOHN NEGROPONTE: Until this issue was written about I had frankly forgotten that this issue might have existed in any way, shape or form. And apparently what these emails suggest is that somebody had suggested to me that these tapes first of all existed and secondly that they be destroyed, and apparently the emails suggest that I objected to that, that I said I didn’t think that would be a good idea. Now some people will say “how can you possibly not vividly remember something like this?” And the fact of the matter is that one handles and deals with so many different issues in any given day or time, I just didn’t happen to recall this situation.