U.S. Congress members vowed on Sunday to investigate the CIA’s destruction of videotapes depicting harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects, despite Justice Department advice that the agency not cooperate.
The top Republican member of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee and a leading Democratic voice on security joined in a blistering attack on the CIA and on the complex network of U.S. intelligence agencies in general.
“We want to hold the (intelligence) community accountable for what’s happened to these tapes,” Republican U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra of Michigan said on “Fox News Sunday.” “We will issue subpoenas … Our investigation should move forward.
He said he had no confidence in U.S. intelligence leadership. “You’ve got a community that’s incompetent. They are arrogant. And they are political. And they don’t believe that they are accountable to anybody. They don’t believe that they’re accountable to the president.”
Hoekstra said CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden should answer for what he called misleading statements by the agency during his term, which began in 2006 after the tapes had been destroyed.
It is believed that the tapes, destroyed in 2005, depicted the use of a simulated drowning technique called waterboarding.
The United States has been widely criticized by European allies and human rights groups for methods like waterboarding, in which prisoners are made to fear that they are drowning. President George W. Bush has repeatedly said the United States does not torture.
The disclosure this month that the CIA destroyed lengthy recordings of the 2002 interrogations of two top al Qaeda suspects has prompted furious denunciations from lawmakers and human rights advocates.