Is there any doubt at all in any sane person's mind that the Bush administration carefully thought through the various ways it could dodge U.S. and international law?
From the AP:
The Bush administration was under court order not to discard evidence of detainee torture and abuse months before the CIA destroyed videotapes that revealed some of its harshest interrogation tactics.The AP's report goes on to say that Judge Kennedy has been asked to schedule a hearing and will be asked to consider whether the administration's actions constitute obstruction of justice and contempt of court or spoliation, a legal term for the destruction of evidence in "pending or reasonably foreseeable litigation."
Normally, that would force the government to defend itself against obstruction allegations. But the CIA may have an out: its clandestine network of overseas prisons.
While judges focused on the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and tried to guarantee that any evidence of detainee abuse would be preserved, the CIA was performing its toughest questioning half a world away. And by the time President Bush publicly acknowledged the secret prison system, interrogation videotapes of two terrorism suspects had been destroyed.
The CIA destroyed the tapes in November 2005. That June, U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. had ordered the Bush administration to safeguard "all evidence and information regarding the torture, mistreatment, and abuse of detainees now at the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay."
U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler issued a nearly identical order that July.
At the time, that seemed to cover all detainees in U.S. custody. But Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the terrorism suspects whose interrogations were videotaped and then destroyed, weren't at Guantanamo Bay. They were prisoners that existed off the books - and apparently beyond the scope of the court's order.
Ferchissakes, impeach already!