The AP reveals that prosecutors in the Alexandria US Attorney’s Office–including the lead prosecutor in the Moussaoui case–did know of the torture tapes in early 2006, before Moussaoui was sentenced.
The lead prosecutor in the terror case against Zacarias Moussaoui may have known the CIA destroyed tapes of its interrogations of an al-Qaida suspect more than a year before the government acknowledged it to the court, newly unsealed documents indicate.
The documents, which were declassified and released Wednesday by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, detail efforts by Moussaoui’s attorneys to send the case back to a lower federal court to find out whether the tapes should have been disclosed and whether they would have influenced his decision to plead guilty.
In a Dec. 18, 2007, letter to the appeals court’s chief judge, the Justice Department acknowledged that its lead prosecutor in the case had been informed about the CIA’s tapes of al-Qaida lieutenant Abu Zubaydah being interrogated.
The letter said the prosecutor, Robert A. Spencer, may have been told of the tapes’ destruction in late February or early March of 2006, just as the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., was beginning its trial on whether Moussaoui would be eligible to face the death penalty.
Spencer, who was one of three prosecutors on the government’s team, "does not recall being told this information," U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg wrote in the Dec. 18 letter to 4th U.S. Circuit Chief Judge Karen J. Williams.
Another prosecutor in Rosenberg’s office in Virginia’s eastern district who was not involved in the case "recalls telling (Spencer) on one occasion," the letter said.
That second, unnamed, prosecutor learned about the videotapes of Zubaydah "in connection with work he performed in a Department of Justice project unrelated to the Moussaoui case," the letter said.
It is unclear what that project was. [my emphasis]