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U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy Jr. won’t be prying into the CIA’s destruction of interrogation tapes in 2005. In an order signed yesterday, the judge said he trusted the Justice Department to conduct its criminal investigation into the matter without his meddling. “There is no reason to disregard the Department of Justice’s assurances,” Kennedy wrote. “In a matter such as this, this presumption is especially warranted with respect to the newly appointed Attorney General and Department of Justice lawyers.” Assurances aside, Kennedy said the lawyers who requested the inquiry on behalf of a group of Yemeni detainees at Guantánamo Bay offered zero evidence that the Bush administration had violated his order to preserve evidence related to their treatment. The order applied only to evidence of torture, mistreatment or abuse of detainees that occured at the naval base, Kennedy said. “To the contrary, the videotapes were recorded in their entirety in 2002 before either of the suspected Al Quaeda operatives shown on the tape had been to Guantánamo Bay,” Kennedy concluded. Here’s the Associated Press story and our coverage of the December hearing in Kennedy’s courtroom.
Joe Palazzolo can be contacted at [email protected]. This article originally appeared on The Blog of Legal TImes.

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