Jose Rodriguez’ Idea of “Ugly Visuals”: Blank and Altered Tapes

Jose Rodriguez, not exactly a squeamish guy, is spreading a myth that the reason he destroyed the torture tapes was because the torture depicted on them was so bad that people would kill CIA officers in response to the violence

Especially after the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, Rodriguez writes, if the CIA’s videos were to leak out, officers worldwide would be in danger.

“I wasn’t going to sit around another three years waiting for people to get up the courage,” to do what CIA lawyers said he had the authority to do himself, Rodriguez writes. He describes sending the order in November 2005 as “just getting rid of some ugly visuals.”

Except there’s a problem with that claim.

The problem with the torture tapes is not what they showed, but what they didn’t show. Such as the two separate waterboarding sessions that were, for some reason, not captured on tape at all.

OIG found 11 interrogation tapes to be blank. Two others were blank except for one or two minutes of recording. Two others were broken and could not be reviewed. OIG compared the videotapes to logs and cables and identified a 21-hour period of time” which included two waterboard sessions” that was not captured on the videotapes.

Or the way many of the tapes showed some sign of tampering that hid their content.

[Redacted] for many of the tapes one 1/2 or 3/4 of the tape “there was nothing.” [Redacted] on some tapes it was apparent that the VCR had been turned off and then turned back on right away. [Redacted] on other tapes the video quality was poor and on others the tape had been reused (taped over) or not recorded at all. [Redacted] The label on some tapes read “interrogation session,” but when viewed there was just snow. [Redaction] did not make note of this in [redaction] report. [Redaction] estimated that “half a dozen” videotapes had been taped over or were “snowy.”

In other words, the tapes probably didn’t show the worst torture sessions. On the contrary, the tapes were enduring proof that the torturers tampered with the tapes to make sure they didn’t show the torture sessions.

Apparently, Jose Rodriguez thinks a bunch of snowy taped over tapes–proof that the torturers covered up evidence of what they did–constitutes “ugly visuals.” And I guess it does, but not in the way he’s claiming in his book.

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8 Responses to Jose Rodriguez’ Idea of “Ugly Visuals”: Blank and Altered Tapes

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @michaelwhitney Have McGirt, will travel!
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bmaz Doge going on a joy ride. http://t.co/PKTrlVzxM8
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emptywheel @BradMossEsq But if it doesn't do what it is supposed to do, then we should talk about that, bc then we can shut it down.
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emptywheel @BradMossEsq Just you. I've never been opposed. I'm opposed to its misuse. Upstream is prone to problems, per a pushover FISA judge.
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emptywheel @mokecule VERY many WH journos show up to every briefing knowing there's almost no chance they'll get called. They still go.
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emptywheel @mokecule Does that change the value at all of sitting and listening for the gross majority who don't get called?
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emptywheel RT @PGEddington: ICYMI: My latest on @Medium: “When Intelligence Become Advocacy” https://t.co/d9c9jly8DK
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emptywheel @KimZetter A second run then! You can benefit from Sony hack along with 133,726 consulting firms.
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emptywheel LOLOLOL It is SO perfect that Roger Cohen doesn't think having boys sit and listen to girls ask questions is good for them.
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emptywheel RT @DougJBalloon: Most entitled media whine ever? MT @NYTimesCohen WH might have advised male correspondents they could split on vacation e…
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emptywheel @GregoryMcNeal It is. Bc I've been wondering all day when someone would say that to justify "proportional" response. @jacklgoldsmith
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emptywheel @KimZetter And that was before Sony, presumably.
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