Rice Claims Ignorance Of CIA Tapes’ Destruction, Refuses To Comment On 2002 Interrogations

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"Rice Claims Ignorance Of CIA Tapes’ Destruction, Refuses To Comment On 2002 Interrogations"

Today in a speech to the Women’s Foreign Policy Group, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice refused to answer what she knew about the interrogations that were videotaped in 2002, and then destroyed two years later. When moderator Andrea Mitchell asked Rice when she learned of the destruction of the tapes, Rice replied, “I myself don’t recollect any knowledge of the tapes.”

When asked about the 2002 interrogations, however, Rice was less forthcoming:

MITCHELL: Could we just ask, since the interrogations took place in 2002 when you were national security adviser, at the time were you aware — fully aware of the techniques being used and the videotape?

RICE: As I said, the Justice Department has now taken up this matter, and so I don’t think that it’s appropriate for me to comment further.

Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/12/ricenociatorture.320.240.flv]

Rice is willing to publicly state that she had no knowledge of the tapes’ destruction in 2005, but won’t do the same on the 2002 interrogations.

In addition to Rice, at least five high-ranking administration officials and former officials have disavowed any knowledge of the tapes’ destruction. They have instead placed the blame on Jose Rodriguez, then the CIA’s head of the clandestine division. Former CIA officials, however, have described Rodriguez as “a cautious operator who probably would have ensured that top CIA managers knew of the plan” to destroy the torture tapes.

Digg It!

Transcript:

MITCHELL: To take it from the most topical things in the news today, can you tell us, now that we know there were people in the White House, in Congress, who urged the CIA not to destroy those videotapes — you were in the White House during that period — were you aware of it? And did you also urge that those tapes be preserved? And when were you aware of the fact that there were not preserved?

(LAUGHTER)

RICE: First of all, I think my take is that, well, this is an internal matter for the CIA.

I was secretary of state in 2005, indeed, and I can tell you that I myself don’t recollect any knowledge of the tapes.

But this is something that I’m sure that Mike Hayden, who is providing excellent leadership to the CIA, will resolve within their internal processes. The Justice Department is involved, and so I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to comment.

MITCHELL: Could we just ask, since the interrogations took place in 2002 when you were national security adviser, at the time were you aware — fully aware of the techniques being used and the videotape?

RICE: As I said, the Justice Department has now taken up this matter, and so I don’t think that it’s appropriate for me to comment further.

(LAUGHTER)

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