[JURIST] Jose Rodriguez, the former head of the US CIA's clandestine branch who ordered the destruction of videotapes showing the interrogation of terror suspects [JURIST news archive], has told Congress that he will not testify about the videotapes without a grant of immunity, a lawyer for Rodriguez said Wednesday. The US House Select Committee on Intelligence last month subpoenaed Rodriguez [JURIST report] to testify at a closed hearing scheduled for next week. The US Justice Department said last week that it has opened a criminal investigation [JURIST report] into the destruction of the tapes, prompting Rodriguez's request for immunity.
Existence of the videotapes was verified in November after the CIA admitted it had mistakenly denied [JURIST report] that it had recorded interrogations in a court declaration during the trial of 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. CIA Director Michael Hayden acknowledged [statement text] last month that the CIA had videotaped the interrogation of two al Qaeda suspects in 2002, but said that the tapes had been destroyed in 2005 amid concerns that they could be leaked to the public and compromise the identities of the interrogators. In addition to the DOJ investigation, multiple congressional inquiries have been launched into the tapes' destruction, including the House intelligence panel's investigation. Earlier this week, a federal judge refused to order a judicial inquiry into the videotapes [JURIST report], concluding that there was no evidence that the Bush administration violated a June 2005 order that the administration preserve all evidence relating to alleged torture at Guantanamo Bay. The New York Times has more.