[JURIST] The US Department of Justice [official website] and the CIA Inspector General announced Saturday they will conduct a joint preliminary investigation into the destruction of videotaped recordings of two terror suspects in 2005, which could then lead to a full investigation. The preliminary investigation will likely focus [AP report] on whether Jose Rodriguez, the then-director of the National Clandestine Service [official backgrounder] who apparently ordered the tapes' destruction in 2005, had the authority or the approval of any higher officials to do so. Meanwhile, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence [official website] also announced [text, PDF] its own investigation into the tapes' destruction. Committee Chairman Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) [official profile] said the committee would look into both the destruction of the tapes and the content of the tapes themselves. The US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence [official website] is also investigating the tapes.
Existence of the videotapes of "harsh interrogations" of two high-value detainees held by the CIA after 9/11 was verified in November after the CIA admitted it had mistakenly denied [JURIST report] that it had recorded interrogations, and in a letter [text; JURIST report] to CIA employees on Thursday, CIA Director Michael Hayden confirmed that the tapes had in fact been destroyed. Destruction of the tapes could affect both the defense and prosecution in trials of Guantanamo Bay detainees as evidence contained within them could cast doubt on, or solidify, the reliability of information obtained under harsh interrogation tactics. AP has more.