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CIA director approved destruction of abuse tapes, emails reveal

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  1. Freedom of Information
The Central Intelligence Agency released email messages on Thursday that reveal the former director of the agency approved of --…

The Central Intelligence Agency released email messages on Thursday that reveal the former director of the agency approved of — and joked about — the decision made by top officials to destroy hundreds of tapes depicting the abusive interrogation of detainees in U.S. custody, The New York Times reported.

The release of the email came as a result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. In the messages, former CIA director Porter J. Goss said he “agreed” with destroying the tapes, and jokes about who will “take the heat” for the decision.

According to The New York Times, one message disclosed Thursday reveals that top CIA official Jose A. Rodriguez Jr. told Goss that the tapes needed to be destroyed because, if taken out of context, they would make the CIA “look terrible; it would be devastating to us.”

The messages contradict claims made publicly by current CIA officials who maintain that Goss was angry his top aide did not consult him or agency lawyers before giving the order to destroy the tapes. The email also reveals that White House officials were “livid” about finding out after the fact that the tapes were destroyed.