CIA Shows CIOs How Not to Preserve Evidence

Lora Bentley

The CIA's destruction of interrogation tapes recently is yet another illustration of what not to do with digital evidence. True, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure don't apply to the CIA. Nonetheless, we can learn from the agency's mistakes.


First, as Forensic and Compliance Systems CEO Ralph Harvey told InfoWorld, "Ultimately, the issue is you don't know how important that e-mail is to someone else." The lesson: Be careful what you delete and who has access to delete it. A good rule of thumb, perhaps the most important one, is to preserve any evidence that is part of an "ongoing investigation," and "always tell the truth," says Patrick Egan from the Fox Rothschild law firm.


Secondly, the CIA case is a reminder that digital evidence comes in many forms, like video, voicemail, Web conferences, etc. Xerox Litigation Services VP Chris O'Brien offers this advice: "Anything that's electronically preserved could theoretically be subject to discovery."

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Dec 19, 2007 4:25 AM Alan M. Kaplan Alan M. Kaplan  says:
You folks must be pretty hard up to fill space. You talk about the deliberate destruction of material. It may or may not become evidence and there was certainly no requirement to treat it as evidence - any more than there is a requirement to preserve the trash that will be collected in Des Moines tomorrow. If you have something of forensic significance to discuss, focus on that instead of trying to spin a news release into something it isn't.Alan M. Kaplan Reply

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