“We don’t know how it escaped our notice,” says Langley, Va., Blockbuster Video manager, Jason Hurd, “but we have had volumes I through XXVI of “Waterboarding Torture” in our Pixel Plus section since 2003. They were in Adult Entertainment on the Water Sports shelf, and that is our error. They should have been kept in the torture racks.

“We keep all videos of this kind separate from Family Entertainment because at Blockbuster we believe depictions of sexual activity, as well as deliberate drowning, testicle electrification, and bone-drilling, are not for children.”

One would not expect the government to maintain its most secret images in the VHS format. Any computer hard drive would be more secure. In addition, entrusting them to a large corporate video distributor might seem frankly incompetent. But the Pentagon, the C.I.A., and the Bush administration all agree that government is not the answer — particularly when an operation so crucial to a nation can be privatized.

Blockbuster has promised congress they will honor the subpoenas and return the videos to the appropriate committees as soon as the tapes are returned. “But the government must understand,” says Mr. Hurd, “we must first honor our commitment to our Pixel Plus cardholders and allow them to keep these items for the full contractual term — which is two to four years.”

One Response to “Torture tapes traced to Blockbuster.”

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