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9/11 Commission's Lee Hamilton '52 Reacts to CIA Destruction of Torture Tapes

December 8, 2007

Lee Hamilton CSPAN.jpgDecember 8, 2007, Greencastle, Ind. - "Did they obstruct our inquiry? The answer is clearly yes," says Lee Hamilton, who co-chaired the 9/11 Commission, in the wake of reports the CIA destroyed videotapes of interrogations of two al-Qaida suspects. "Whether that amounts to a crime, others will have to judge," adds Hamilton, a 1952 graduate of DePauw University, in today's Detroit Free Press.

The article details demands by congressional Democrats "that the Justice Department investigate why the CIA destroyed" the tapes. It notes, "White House press secretary Dana Perino said President George W. Bush didn't recall being told about the tapes or their destruction. But she didn't rule out White House involvement, saying she hadn't asked others about it."

Lee Hamilton Students 2004-2.jpgMeanwhile, the International Herald Tribune reports "the former chairmen of the Sept. 11 commission, who said the CIA assured them repeatedly during their inquiry that no original material existed from its interrogations of Qaeda figures, said they were furious to learn about the tapes ... Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton said they had made clear in hours of negotiations and discussions with the CIA, as well as in written requests, that they wanted all material connected to the interrogations of Qaeda operatives in the agency's custody in order to get a complete understanding of the events leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks for their 2004 report."

Access the complete articles at the Free Press and the Herald Tribune.

Lee Hamilton, who served 34 years in Congress and was also co-chair of the Iraq Study Group, was recently named one of "America's Best Leaders" for 2007 by U.S. News & World Report.

Hamilton Bush Baker.jpgOn October 25, Hamilton and James A. Baker III (seen in photo at left with President Bush) became the inaugural recipients of the Churchill Award for Statesmanship for their work in leading the Iraq Study Group.

"I had an undergraduate experience at DePauw University that certainly opened my eyes to a lot of possibilities," Hamilton said in an interview earlier this year. He is a frequent visitor to his alma mater, and in October 2006 discussed the Iraq war and other matters at DePauw Discourse 2006: Issues for America. Access a story -- including video and audio clips -- here.

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