A House of Representatives committee is threatening to subpoena two top CIA officials to testify about the destruction of interrogation videotapes, a direct challenge to the Bush administration after it asked that the panel's inquiry be deferred while the executive branch investigates.
Intelligence committee Chairman Rep. Silvestre Reyes said Wednesday he wants acting CIA general counsel John Rizzo and Jose Rodriguez, the former head of the National Clandestine Service, the CIA's operations branch, to testify to the committee on Jan. 16. Rodriguez is the official who directed the destruction in 2005 of the tapes, which documented harsh interrogation of two al-Qaida suspects three years earlier.
Reyes told reporters the CIA had agreed to begin providing documents regarding destruction of the tapes this week. If that does not happen, the committee will subpoena the papers, too, he said.
The committee's announcement is another sign of increasing tensions between Congress, the judiciary and the White House over the interrogation tapes. Congressional overseers are angry they were not fully informed of the tapes and their destruction and want to know what else they have not been told. A federal judge has summoned Justice Department lawyers to his courtroom Friday to determine whether destruction of the tapes violated a court order to preserve evidence about detainees.
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