WASHINGTON — Former CIA chief Porter Goss approved a 2005 decision by an aide to destroy hundreds of tapes showing US agents harshly interrogating two terror suspects, The New York Times reported Friday.
Jose Rodriguez, at the time the head of the CIA?s clandestine service, ordered the tapes destroyed, the newspaper reported, citing an internal Central Intelligence Agency document.
Goss told Rodriguez that he "agreed" with the decision, according to the document cited by the newspaper.
"PG [Porter Goss] laughed and said that actually, it would be he, PG, who would take the heat," according to an internal CIA e-mail message the newspaper cites.
Then president George W. Bush appointed Goss, a Republican politician from Florida, to head the CIA following resignation of director George Tenet. He ran the agency from 2004 to 2006.
However, Goss did not approve destroying the tapes before it happened, and was upset that Rodriguez did not consult him or the CIA?s top lawyer beforehand, the Times said, citing current and former intelligence officials.
The tapes were of the 2002 interrogation of two Al-Qaeda suspects, identified as Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, that CIA agents were secretly holding in Thailand, according to the Times.
There were more than 100 tapes and many were kept in a safe in the CIA's Bangkok office, according to the Times.
The documents were released as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Times said.
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