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CIA denies withholding terror suspects interrogation tapes
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14:43, December 23, 2007

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The Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) of the United States Saturday rejected allegations that it had prevented the 9/11 commission from seeing videotapes that show interrogations of terror suspects.

"The notion that the CIA wasn't cooperative or forthcoming with the 9/11 commission is just plain wrong," the agency said in a statement.

Instead, it said it was the CIA's cooperation and assistance that enabled the commission to finish its job.

The statement is responding to a report in Saturday's the New York Times, which said former members of the 9/11 commission found that the CIA did not provide all information, including videotapes, related to interrogations of suspected al-Qaida terrorists.

The panel finished its investigation of the 9/11 terror attacks in 2004 while the CIA secretly recorded the tapes in 2002 and destroyed it in 2005.

According to the report, the commission's former executive director, Philip Zelikow, said in a Dec. 13 memorandum that more analysis is needed to determine if the CIA's failure to turn over the videotapes to the panel broke the law.

Lee Hamilton, chairman of the 9/11 commission, said the CIA had "clearly obstructed" the panel's probe by withholding the tapes.

But the CIA said in Saturday's statement that the tapes were destroyed only after they had no intelligence value, and at that time the commission had already finished its work.

The allegations from the 9/11 panel added new twist to the CIA tape controversy.

The destruction in 2005 of the videotapes, disclosed earlier this month, has caused a furor in the United States.

Critics of the Bush administration have seized on the episode as further evidence that it may have a lot to hide in its treatment of detainees.

The U.S. Congress wants to hold hearings on the incident, and the CIA's inspector general and the Justice Department have begun a preliminary investigation.

Source: Xinhua

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