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Ex-CIA official will not testify at videotape destruction hearing

[JURIST] Jose Rodriguez, the former head of the clandestine branch of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] who ordered the destruction of videotapes showing the interrogation of terror suspects [JURIST news archive], will not appear at a closed congressional hearing later this week, his lawyer said Monday, indicating he had been excused because he would refuse to answer questions. The US House Select Committee on Intelligence issued a subpoena [JURIST report] for Rodriguez last month. Last Wednesday, Rodriguez's lawyer told Congress that his client would not testify without immunity [JURIST report]. Reuters has more.

The US Justice Department (DOJ) 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. In addition to the DOJ investigation, multiple congressional inquiries have been launched into the tapes' destruction, including the House intelligence panel's investigation. Last 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 [JURIST news archive].

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