[JURIST] John Rizzo, the acting general counsel of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website], said Wednesday that the former head of the clandestine branch of the CIA Jose Rodriguez ordered the destruction of videotapes showing the interrogation of terror suspects [JURIST news archive] against the direction of superiors, according to Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI). Testifying before the US House Select Committee on Intelligence in a closed hearing [press release, PDF] Wednesday, Rizzo reportedly implied that Rodriguez had specifically received orders not to destroy the tapes. Rizzo also testified that both he and former CIA Director Porter Goss advised against destroying the tapes, despite a memo written by CIA lawyers stating that destruction of the tapes would be legal. AP has more.
On Monday, a lawyer for Rodriguez said Rodriguez would not testify [JURIST report] in Wednesday's hearing indicating he had been excused because he would refuse to answer questions. The House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena [JURIST report] for Rodriguez last month. Last week, Rodriguez's lawyer told Congress that his client would not testify without immunity [JURIST report] after the US Justice Department opened a criminal investigation [JURIST report] into the destruction of the tapes. 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. 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.