This just in from Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA). She says her letter
to the CIA warning it against destroying the interrogation tapes is classified and can't be released:
CIA Director Hayden's public statement yesterday, that some members of Congress were informed about the existence of videotaped interrogations of high value detainees, prompts me to respond.
In early 2003, in my capacity at Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, I received a highly classified briefing on CIA interrogation practices from the agencyâs General Counsel. The briefing raised a number of serious concerns and led me to send a letter to the General Counsel. Both the briefing and my letter are classified so I cannot reveal specifics, but I did caution against destruction of any videotapes.
Given the nature of the classification, I was not free to mention this subject publicly until Director Hayden disclosed it yesterday. To my knowledge, the Intelligence Committee was never informed that any videotapes had been destroyed. Surely I was not.
This matter must be promptly and fully investigated and I call for my letter of February 2003, which was never responded to and has been in the CIAâs files ever since, to be declassified.
So Harman had, in early 2003, at least generic knowledge of the tapes' existence and at least some indication that the CIA might have destroyed them. She felt restricted by classification from saying anything about this publicly, and now what she warned against has come to pass. There's every reason to suspect that the CIA has recorded more interrogations than we currently know of, and has destroyed even more evidence of such than we're presently aware.
Perhaps Harman can shed even more light here. The CIA may not look too kindly on her request to declassify the 2003 letter. As Matt Yglesias writes, it's time for Harman to start snitching
. Dare the agency to seek prosecution.