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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge deciding if the CIA should be held in contempt for destroying video tapes of interrogations of suspected Islamist militants said on Thursday he believed the court had been deceived by the agency.
U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein was responding to arguments by the American Civil Liberties Union, which accused the Central Intelligence Agency of flouting a court order by destroying the tapes after Freedom of Information Act requests filed by the ACLU in 2003 and 2004.
Hellerstein said he found it "hard to believe" the tapes did not produce any notes or markers that could have been turned over. Government lawyers argued that the videotapes were the subject of a CIA "special review" of the detention program, not an investigation, and were therefore held in operational files not included in the court order.