Eyes in the black sites

Why the CIA filmed the interrogations of Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in its secret prison in Thailand in 2002 and why it suddenly stopped filming; why the agency went back and forth with the White House about destroying those 92 tapes, why it didn't for three years, and why it ultimately did – in many ways the tale of the videotapes tracks the arc of the whole CIA black site torture program, from favored project of a White House inner circle that literally directed the action to a public relations disaster and potential legal nightmare.

Over the next week, I will be posting Chapter 3 of the Torture Report, which begins just before the CIA switched off the cameras in the black site and ends with a court hearing in New York this September over whether the CIA would be forced to release hundreds of documents that describe what the videotapes recorded. Until they are, the best information we have on what was on the tapes – and what went on in the black sites outside the view of the cameras – comes from the May 2004 report of the CIA's Inspector General (PDF), who traveled to the Thai dungeon to watch the tapes in May, 2003.

We post the first of Chapter 3's five sections today, and will add sections every day over the next week.


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