Friday, December 7, 2007

And Speaking of Interrogations

When I saw this yesterday, I noted to friends that this makes Watergate look like child's play:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 — The Central Intelligence Agency in 2005 destroyed at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two Al Qaeda operatives in the agency’s custody, a step it took in the midst of Congressional and legal scrutiny about the C.I.A’s secret detention program, according to current and former government officials.

The videotapes showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terror suspects — including Abu Zubayda, the first detainee in C.I.A. custody — to severe interrogation techniques. They were destroyed in part because officers were concerned that tapes documenting controversial interrogation methods could expose agency officials to greater risk of legal jeopardy, several officials said.

And by "severe interrogation techniques" they mean torture.

Always feckless and preachy, but sometimes right, Dick Durbin, et al., are calling for investigations and hearings. I've been to too many Senate Judiciary Hearings to think that much, if anything, will come out of them (How many times did it take to get Gonzales gone?), but I'd like to see them anyway.

Technology Fights The System

In the latest incident of technology catching police abuse/lying, a man gets a cop busted for perjury (and consequently escapes a 25-year prison stint) because he secretly recorded his own interrogation:

A teenage suspect who secretly recorded his interrogation on an MP3 player has landed a veteran detective in the middle of perjury charges, authorities said Thursday.

Unaware of the recording, Detective Christopher Perino testified in April that the suspect "wasn't questioned" about a shooting in the Bronx, a criminal complaint said. But then the defense confronted the detective with a transcript it said proved he had spent more than an hour unsuccessfully trying to persuade Erik Crespo to confess - at times with vulgar tactics.

Once the transcript was revealed in court, prosecutors asked for a recess, defense attorney Mark DeMarco said. The detective was pulled from the witness stand and advised to get a lawyer.


Prosecutors then offered Crespo, who had faced as many as 25 years if convicted, seven years if he pleaded guilty to a weapons charge. He accepted.