Remember how the tapes of the CIA's torture campaign were "destroyed" under suspicious circumstances, despite orders not to destroy them? It appears something similar has happened in the UK, where files on the UK's role in CIA rendition efforts
have been "accidentally destroyed." I'm wondering if anyone can read that claim without rolling their eyes.
When Tyrie asked the Foreign Office (FCO) to explain which government department keeps a list of flights which passed through Diego Garcia from January 2002 to January 2009, FCO minister Mark Simmonds replied: "Records on flight departures and arrivals on Diego Garcia are held by the British Indian Ocean Territory immigration authorities. Daily occurrence logs, which record the flights landing and taking off, cover the period since 2003. Though there are some limited records from 2002, I understand they are incomplete due to water damage."
The Foreign Office would not say whether the damaged files were UK or US records, or say where they were located. An FO spokesperson maintained that because the damage "was only recently discovered" it did not know how or when it occurred.
Convenient story. As the report notes, this follows earlier vehement denials from the UK government that Diego Garcia was used for rendition... only to later have to admit that they were lying.
Ministers of successive governments have repeatedly given misleading or incomplete information about the CIA's use of Diego Garcia. In February 2008, the then foreign secretary, David Miliband, was forced to apologise to MPs and explain that Tony Blair's "earlier explicit assurances that Diego Garcia had not been used for rendition flights" had not been correct. Miliband said at this point that two rendition flights had landed, but that the detainees on board had not disembarked.
Once again, it appears that the intelligence community is more focused on covering its tracks than on making sure it's not violating everyone's rights.