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CIA Chief Faces More Questions on Destruction of Videotapes

By VOA News
12 December 2007

The head of the Central Intelligence Agency is facing a second day of questioning on Capitol Hill about the destruction of videotapes of interrogations of suspected terrorists.

CIA Director Michael Hayden is testifying before the U.S. House Intelligence Committee in a closed-door session Wednesday morning. Hayden appeared Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

After his testimony Tuesday, Hayden told reporters that others know far more than he does about the issue, including his predecessors, George Tenet and Porter Goss.

Tenet headed the agency in 2002, when the tapes were first made, while Goss was director when the tapes were destroyed in 2005.

Hayden told CIA employees last week the tapes were destroyed to protect the identity of the interrogators.

The Justice Department and the CIA are conducting a joint inquiry into the matter. Congressional Democrats are demanding Attorney General Michael Mukasey appoint a special prosecutor to investigate.

In a nationally televised interview Tuesday, President Bush said he did not learn that the tapes had been destroyed until Hayden briefed him last week.

In media interviews, former CIA officer John Kiriakou said the agency had used a simulated drowning technique on a senior al-Qaida suspect, Abu Zubaydah, and that it provided key intelligence that prevented a number of terror attacks.

Kiriakou said he believes the technique, known as "waterboarding," is torture. Congressional critics allege the tapes were destroyed to hid evidence of illegal torture.

White House spokeswoman Dana Perino Tuesday said the United States does not torture, and that the CIA interrogation program is lawful, tough, safe and effective.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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