The Bush administration informed all foreign intelligence and law enforcement teams visiting their citizens held at Guantanamo Bay that video and sound from their interrogation sessions would be recorded, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post. The policy suggests that the United States could possess hundreds or thousands of hours of secret taped conversations between detainees and representatives from nearly three dozen countries.
Numerous State Department cables to foreign government delegations in 2002 and 2003 show that each country was subject to rules and regulations "to protect the interests and ensure the safety of all concerned." Condition No. 1 stated that U.S. authorities would closely monitor the interrogations, a practice that the Defense Department confirmed last week was also carried out to gather intelligence.
"The United States will video tape and sound record the interviews between representatives of your government and the detainee(s) named above," read several of the nearly identical cables, obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request.
Should such videotapes exist, they would reveal how representatives from countries such as China, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia treated detainees in small interrogation booths at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba -- sessions that some detainees have said were abusive and at times contained threats of torture or even death. Though attorneys for the detainees have long sought to obtain such evidence, the administration has thus far denied the requests and has not indicated that such tapes exist.
The Defense Department has long maintained that it did not regularly videotape interrogations at Guantanamo Bay and only last month acknowledged recording at least seven hours of Canadian officials interrogating terrorism suspect Omar Khadr after the Canadian Supreme Court ordered Canadian officials to release those tapes. The Khadr tapes show that U.S. officials had the capability and infrastructure to record the conversations from several angles.