The Corner

Clarifying Reps. Hoekstra and Harman on those Destroyed CIA Tapes

In this post on Sunday, I noted what I took to be as a disparity in the complaints raised by Representatives Pete Hoekstra and Jane Harman regarding what the House Intelligence Committee was told about the existence of recordings of the CIA’s detainee interrogations.  I wondered why, if Hoekstra was saying the Committee had never been informed about the tapes, Harman knew enough to warn the CIA not to destroy the tapes.

My confusion stems from not reading carefully enough and thus missing the timing.  Rep. Hoekstra only became chairman of the Intelligence Committee in 2004, when Rep. Porter Goss left that post to become CIA Director.  (Hoekstra is now the Committee’s ranking member since control of the House shifted to the Democrats.)  By contrast, Rep. Harman was already the Committee’s ranking Democrat in 2003 (although Rep. Silvestre Reyes, not Harman, was named the Committee’s chair when Democrats took over the House in 2006).

As this NYTimes report explains, the CIA advised the Committee’s chairman and ranking member in 2003, and it was then that Rep. Harman admonished that any tapes should be preserved.  Rep. Hoekstra, meanwhile, did not get that initial briefing, and was not briefed after he took over as Committee chair.

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