Nation's Archivists Rise Up Against the CIA

The Department of Justice was too scared to prosecute the CIA for deliberately destroying evidence that its employees illegally tortured terror detainees. But fear not: The National Archives and Records Administration is still on the case.

The Justice Department announced on Tuesday that it wouldn't prosecute the November 2005 destruction of 92 interrogation tapes, despite the fact that it was obviously a deliberate and contemptuous act of obstruction of justice. This was quite distressing and mystifying to a lot of people who care about the law and such things.

But the CIA's private little tape inferno didn't just violate a federal judge's standing order not to destroy any tapes, or laws against destroying evidence to avoid prosecution: It violated the National Archives' rules on preservation of government records. And as NBC News' Michael Isikoff reports, the Justice Department may fold like a cheap hooker, but NARA doesn't fool around. You've fucked with the wrong archivists, CIA!

A day after the Justice Department announced that a special counsel had concluded his investigation into the matter without bringing criminal charges, officials of the National Archives and Records Administration signaled Wednesday that they plan to reopen their own long delayed probe into whether the agency's actions constituted an improper destruction of federal records.

"We're not going to let this drop," Susan Cooper, a spokeswoman for the National Archives told NBC.

Actually, NARA can't do anything, at all, to the CIA. If they find that the CIA violated the Federal Records Act, the next step is to refer the charges to Justice. And we know how that goes. But we're still rooting for 'em!