18 October, 2011
Manhattan Federal Judge Alvin Hellerstein has declined to hold the CIA in contempt for destroying videos that it had been ordered by the courts to preserve.
The case revolves around 92 videos, depicting hundreds of hours of interrogations of detainees. The tapes allegedly contained evidence of torture, and the CIA was ordered by numerous courts to produce the videos in relation to lawsuits arising from torture allegations. The 9/11 Commission also demanded that the tapes be produced. Instead, the agency destroyed them.
Although the Obama Justice Department had already decided last year that no criminal charges would be filed for this blatant obstruction of justice, Judge Hellerstein’s recent ruling insures that the agency will not even face civil sanctions or so much as a contempt order for willfully breaking the law.
In his ruling, Judge Hellerstein, the very judge who had ordered the CIA to produce the tapes in September of 2004, notes that the agency had instead provided a description of what they say was on the tapes and “implemented new protocols” to insure that they don’t destroy evidence again, so there is no need to hold them accountable in any way.
Judge Hellerstein’s decision is not without precedent.
In 2010, Obama’s Office of Legal Council wrote a memo arguing the legality of Obama’s secret list of assassination targets, a list that apparently includes American citizens who have not been convicted or even charged of a crime. The memo was used as the legal justification for the extrajudicial assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, a US citizen who the President ordered murdered early last year.
Now, the Obama White House is arguing that they don’t even have to show the justification for ordering the unconstitutional assassination of one of its own citizens.
Still, concerned citizens are attempting to challenge the Obama regime’s power grabs in court.
Earlier this year, Senator Wyden revealed that the federal government has a secret interpretation of the PATRIOT Act that allows the government much more power than is suggested by the wording of the act itself.
When Charlie Savage of the New York Times filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the interpretation, he was denied on the basis that the interpretation is classified.
Last week, Savage and the Times sued the federal government for refusing to release the documents. The case is currently before Judge William Pauley of the US District Court.