And the judicial branch enters the fray
Much to the administration's chagrin, Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. has ordered
a hearing on the CIA's destruction of the torture tapes for this Friday at 11 AM.
Back in 2005, Kennedy, a Clinton appointee, had ordered the Bush administration to safeguard "all evidence and information regarding the torture, mistreatment, and abuse of detainees now at the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay."
After news of the CIA tapes broke, lawyers in the case, who represent 12 detainees at Guantanamo, asked for a hearing on the issue. The administration, predictably, argued
against having one.
The administration's trump card
is that Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the Al-Qaeda members whose brutal interrogations were videotaped in 2002, were being held in CIA black sites overseas -- not in Guantanamo. The existence of the CIA's black sites weren't publicly known until later that year (around the same time the tapes were destroyed), so the judge and the detainees' lawyers didn't know about them when the order came down.
But apparently the judge doesn't consider this a closed issue.