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Decision against filing charges in CIA video destruction case deals new setback to right to information

(RSF/IFEX) - 15 November 2010 - Federal prosecutor John Durham's decision on 9 November 2010 not to file charges against any of the CIA officers who destroyed 92 videos of interrogations in secret CIA prisons has dealt a new blow to the search for truth in a matter of public interest and to the public's right of access to official information.

This decision is all the more incomprehensible as the CIA itself acknowledged in March 2009 that it destroyed the 92 videos. How can the prosecutor argue that there are no grounds for pressing charges? It is also absurd that the investigation into the destruction of the videos has been closed while the investigation into the torture of detainees in secret prisons is supposed to continue. The latter investigation is liable to suffer as a result of the decision to abandon the former, which could at least have yielded evidence about the content of the destroyed recordings. Reporters Without Borders, which supported the calls for an investigation, is deeply disappointed by this outcome.

Everyone nowadays is aware of the extremes to which the US intelligence services and military went on the Bush administration's orders in the name of the "war on terror". At the same time, President Barack Obama's administration keeps on reneging on the promises of transparency that he made at his inauguration in January 2009.

In the name of democracy and the Constitution, the U.S. government must tell the truth to its citizens and the international community. And in a show of good faith, it could begin by releasing Private Bradley Manning, the presumed source of the classified documents used by Wikileaks to expose some of the crimes committed in the course of this "war on terror".

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