Interrogation tapes sought by the defense in the government’s case against Sept. 11 terrorist Zacharias Moussaoui just did not exist, the CIA told a federal court twice during the course of the trial. Moussaoui’s attorneys had asked for recordings of interrogations of "enemy combatants," but the CIA said they had no recordings, first on May 9, 2003 and again on Nov. 14, 2005. Moussaoui later pleaded guilty to his involvement in the attacks and was sentenced to life in prison.
However, in late October, the government "advise[d]" both the district and appellate judges in a heavily redacted letter that it mistakenly provided the court with "factual errors" as to the existence of recordings of the combatants. And, it turned out, there are three separate recordings — two video tapes and one audio tape — the CIA could have provided. But, not to worry, they said, because Moussaoui’s guilty plea precluded any prejudice the CIA’s "unfortunate" errors might have caused. The letter also promised to "promptly apprise the court of any further developments." Thanks, guys.