Investigators from US Congress were given access by the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA) Thursday to the agency's files related to
the destruction of videotapes showing interrogation of terror
CIA said it now allows the investigator to review these
documents in its headquarters in the Washington suburbs, according
to wire and TV reports.
The House Intelligence Committee also confirmed that the
agency's top lawyer, John A. Rizzo, will testify before the panel
about the matter.
But it remains unclear whether Jose A. Rodriguez, who as chief
of the agency's clandestine service ordered the tapes destroyed in
2005, would testify.
Rodriguez's appearance before the committee might involve
complex negotiations over legal immunity at a time when the Justice
Department and the intelligence agency were reviewing whether the
destruction of the tapes broke any laws.
The latest move marks at least a partial resolution of a
standoff between the Bush administration and Congress.
It began last Friday, when the Justice Department urged the
House panel to postpone any inquiry on the grounds it might hinder
the review by Justice and the CIA's inspector general.
The committee's Democratic chairman, Rep. Silvestre Reyes of
Texas, and its top Republican, Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan,
responded by refusing to put off the investigation, saying there
were many precedents for congressional inquiries to proceed in
parallel with criminal investigations.
The destruction of the tapes was first revealed by The New
York Times, which forced the CIA to acknowledge the issue.
According to news reports, the tapes destroyed by the CIA in
2005, documented harsh interrogation methods used in 2002 on Abu
Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, two al Qaida suspects in CIA
The Justice Department and the CIA have launched a preliminary
The Congress is pushing forward its own investigation while the
White House keeps mum on the issue.
(Xinhua News Agency December 21, 2007)