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Chairman Reyes and Ranking Member Hoekstra Write to CIA Director Hayden on Interrogation Tapes

December 7, 2007

Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes and Ranking Member Peter Hoekstra wrote to CIA Director Hayden regarding his recent announcement that “the leaders of our oversight committees in Congress were informed of the videos years ago and of the Agency’s intention to dispose of the material.” Reps. Reyes and Hoekstra respond, “this simply is not true.” Read the full letter:

December 7, 2007

The Honorable Michael V. Hayden
Director
Central Intelligence Agency
Washington, D.C. 20505

Dear Director Hayden:

We are writing to seek a clarification from you on your unclassified statements concerning the destruction of videotapes made during detainee interrogations.

Specifically, your announcement to the CIA workforce, delivered on December 6, 2007, stated that “The leaders of our oversight committees in Congress were informed of the videos years ago and of the Agency’s intention to dispose of the material. Our oversight committees also have been told that the videos were, in fact, destroyed.”

The implication of this statement is that Congress was fully informed as to the practice of videotaping interrogations and notified “years ago” as to the destruction of the videotapes.

Based upon available records and our best recollection, this simply is not true.

This Committee was not informed of the decision to destroy these videotapes until earlier this year. The notification came in the form of an offhand comment you made in response to a question during a briefing on March 14, 2007. The destruction was briefly mentioned again in a letter to one Member of this Committee dated April 19, 2007.

We do not consider this to be sufficient notification. Moreover, these brief mentions were certainly not contemporaneous with
the decision to destroy the videotapes.

In light of the troubling ambiguity in your statement, we ask that you provide the Committee with detailed information, in writing, concerning the practice of videotaping interrogations and the decision to destroy such videotapes, to include the legal opinions authorizing the decision, information indicating the dates on which Congress was notified of these matters, and the substance of such notifications.

We also ask that you provide copies of any videotapes of detainees or detainee interrogation that may still be in the CIA’s possession.

Finally, we ask that you refrain from destroying any further records, documents or other information related to detainees and interrogations and that you provide written information as to the CIA’s policies with respect to destroying documents, videotapes, or other official records.

Sincerely,

Silvestre Reyes, Chairman
Peter Hoekstra, Ranking Member