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CIA chief never objected to destruction of interrogation videos: lawyer

[JURIST] Former CIA Director Porter Goss [BBC profile] never objected to plans by former head of the clandestine branch of the CIA Jose Rodriguez to destroy destruction of videotapes showing CIA interrogation of terror suspects [JURIST news archive], Rodriguez's lawyer said Thursday. This contradicts reported Wednesday closed session testimony [JURIST report] before the US House Select Committee on Intelligence by Acting General Counsel for the CIA John Rizzo [official profile] that Rodriguez ordered the tapes destroyed against the direction of both Goss and himself. Goss declined to comment when asked about his role in approving the tapes' destruction by an AP reporter. Rodriguez is currently at the center of an investigation by the US House Select Committee on Intelligence and a criminal probe [JURIST reports] spearheaded by the US Department of Justice (DOJ). Rodriguez was excused from testifying before the House subcommittee earlier in the week because he said that he would refuse to answer questions unless he was granted immunity [JURIST reports] for fear that his testimony could be used against him in the DOJ criminal investigation. AP has more.

On Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website] announced that it had asked a US District Court Judge to hold the CIA in contempt of court for its destruction of the videos. The motion [PDF text; press release], filed in December, was part of a 2004 lawsuit brought by the ACLU and other human rights groups against the CIA to enforce Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [text] requests for records detailing the treatment of terror suspects. In 2005, a US District Judge for the Southern District of New York ordered the CIA to either turn over the records pertaining to the treatment of prisoners or provide a reason why they should be kept secret. An ACLU lawyer characterized the destruction of the tapes as a "flagrant disregard" for the court's order and FOIA, and added that the group also requested sanctions. AP has more.

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