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CIA Destroyed 92 Tapes of Interrogations, Documents Show

The CIA destroyed 92 tapes of terror interrogations, according to new documents, far more than had previously been acknowledged. 

The figure was revealed as part of an ongoing lawsuit in New York involving the American Civil Liberties Union. This is the first time a figure has been established in connection with the destroyed tapes, which showed enhanced interrogation techniques including water-boarding. 

The acknowledgment of dozens of destroyed tapes came in a letter filed by government lawyers in New York, where the ACLU filed the suit seeking more details of terror interrogation programs. 

"The CIA can now identify the number of videotapes that were destroyed," said the letter by Acting U.S. Attorney Lev Dassin. "Ninety two videotapes were destroyed." 

An official with the ACLU said the revelation "confirms that the CIA engaged in a systemic attempt to hide evidence of their own illegal conduct."

The official also said that the tapes' destruction shows that the CIA was evading a court's order to produce materials and documents related to CIA interrogations. The ACLU has been asking since December 2007 that the court find the CIA in contempt of court.

The tapes became a contentious issue in the trial of Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, after prosecutors initially claimed no such recordings existed, then acknowledged two videotapes and one audiotape had been made. 

The letter, dated March 2 to Judge Alvin Hellerstein, says the CIA is now gathering more details for the lawsuit, including a list of the destroyed records, any secondary accounts that describe the destroyed contents and the identities of those who may have viewed or possessed the recordings before they were destroyed. 

But the lawyers also note that some of that information may be classified, such as the names of CIA personnel that viewed the tapes. 

"The CIA intends to produce all of the information requested to the court and to produce as much information as possible on the public record to the plaintiffs," states the letter. 

John Durham, a senior career prosecutor in Connecticut, was appointed to lead the criminal investigation out of Virginia. 

He had asked that the requests for information in the civil lawsuit be put on hold until he had completed his criminal investigation. Durham asked that he be given until the end of February to wrap up his work, and has not asked for another extension. 

FOX News' Catherine Herridge and Mike Levine and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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