Mark Mazzetti, New York Times

Friday, April 16, 2010

(04-16) 04:00 PDT Washington –

Porter J. Goss, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, in 2005 approved of the decision by one of his top aides to destroy dozens of videotapes documenting the brutal interrogation of two detainees, according to an internal CIA document released Thursday.

Shortly after the tapes were destroyed at the order of Jose Rodriguez Jr., then the head of the CIA’s clandestine service, Goss told Rodriguez that he “agreed” with the decision, according to the document. He even joked after Rodriguez offered to “take the heat” for destroying the tapes.

“PG laughed and said that actually, it would be he, PG, who would take the heat,” according to the document, an internal CIA e-mail message.

According to current and former intelligence officials, Goss did not approve the destruction before it happened, and was displeased that Rodriguez did not consult him or the CIA’s top lawyer before giving the order for the tapes to be destroyed.

It was previously known that Goss had been told by his aides in November 2005 that the tapes had been destroyed. But a number of documents released Thursday provide the most detailed glimpse yet of the deliberations inside the CIA surrounding the destroyed tapes, and of the concern that the decision might put the CIA in legal jeopardy.

The documents detailing those deliberations, including two e-mail messages from a CIA official whose name has been excised, were released as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.

This article appeared on page A – 12 of the San Francisco Chronicle

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