CIA tape probe to keep going

Senators cite gaps in Hayden's testimony, will call witnesses

December 12, 2007|By Greg Miller | Greg Miller,LOS ANGELES TIMES

WASHINGTON -- Lawmakers leading the Senate investigation of the CIA's destruction of interrogation videotapes said there were gaps in the testimony of CIA Director Michael V. Hayden yesterday and outlined plans to call a series of witnesses as part of an expanding probe.

"We had a useful and not yet complete hearing," said West Virginia Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in comments after the 90-minute, closed-door session with the CIA director. "There are a lot of questions to be answered."

Hayden said that he sought to lay out a chronology of the agency's decisions to begin taping interrogations of terror suspects in 2002 - during which agency officers employed a range of harsh methods - as well as the agency's decision to destroy the recordings three years later.

"I had a chance to lay out a narrative of the history of the videotapes, why the agency did it, why they were destroyed," Hayden said after the hearing.

But Hayden stressed that he was not director when the tapes were made or destroyed. "There are other people in the agency who know about this far better than I, and I've permitted them to come on down and answer all the questions the committee might have."

Among those expected to testify are the CIA's acting general counsel, John Rizzo, as well as the former head of the agency's operations branch, Jose Rodriguez, who authorized the destruction of the tapes in 2005.

Rodriguez's decision is a focus of the Senate Intelligence Committee probe, as well as an internal investigation launched by the CIA and an inquiry by the Justice Department. Senate Intelligence Committee officials said the panel plans to issue a public report on its investigation, after the Justice inquiry is finished.

Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, addressing the CIA tape destruction issue yesterday for the first time, resisted calls for an independent prosecutor.

"I think the Justice Department is capable of doing whatever it appears needs to be done" to determine whether the CIA broke any laws, Mukasey said.

Greg Miller writes for the Los Angeles Times.

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