Videotapes, Torture and Evidence in the War on Terror
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As the CIA Director talks behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, there's
new information about the destruction of secret videotapes. Did they
show that terrorist suspects were tortured? Was destroying the tapes
obstruction of justice? What's being revealed about the quality of US
intelligence? Also, terrorists strike at the capital of Algeria. On Reporter's Notebook, will another cut in interest rates encourage consumers to get deeper in debt?
Car Bombs Kill at Least 22 in Algeria ()
Estimates of the death toll range from 45 to 62 in today's bombing of United Nations buildings in Algiers, the capital of Algeria. Ron Redman, spokesman for the UN's High Commission on Refugees, said that the blast destroyed everything in one UN office and that another building across the street collapsed, trapping several under the rubble. Sebastian Rotella covers terrorism for the Los Angeles Times.
- Sebastian Rotella: Investigative Correspondent, Los Angeles Times
The CIA Torture Tapes ()
In 2005, the CIA destroyed videotape that showed interrogations of terrorist suspects. Today's New York Times reports that CIA lawyers gave written permission--despite advice from the White House and the Department of Justice, and without asking their own boss. CIA Director Michael Hayden says the objective was protecting the identities of the interrogators themselves. Today, Hayden was called to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee—behind closed doors, about why the videotapes, despite advice from the White House. Outside the closed hearing, Democrats and Republicans are among those suggesting possible crimes of torture and obstruction of justice. Might the tapes have made a difference to the 9/11 Commission, trials of accused terrorists and enactments by Congress? Are there any new lessons about the CIA and the quality of US intelligence?
- Tim Starks: Intelligence Reporter, Congressional Quarterly
- Fred Hitz: former Inspector General, CIA
- Michael Ratner: President, Center for Constitutional Rights
- Tim Weiner: Reporter, New York Times
- Dahlia Lithwick: Senior Editor, Slate, @Dahlialithwick
Fed Cuts Interest Rate ()
While job growth declined in November, although not by as much as expected, the sub-prime mortgage collapse and declines in consumer spending have led to fears of a coming recession. Today, the Federal Reserve cut a key interest rate by one-quarter of a percent. Michael Mandel is chief economist for BusinessWeek magazine.
- Michael Mandel: Chief Economist, BusinessWeek
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