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Source: Immunity sought in CIA case

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  • The CIA acknowledged last month that interrogation tapes were destroyed
  • CIA, Congress, Justice Department are probing tapes' destruction
  • Rodriguez to testify next week
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The former head of the Central Intelligence Agency's covert service whom sources say ordered the destruction of videotapes has requested immunity before testifying on Capitol Hill next week, a congressional source familiar with the negotiations told CNN.

Lawyers for several Guantanamo detainees say the government has defied orders to preserve evidence.

The source would not indicate whether Jose Rodriguez, who was subpoenaed to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on January 16, will be given immunity.

Last month the CIA acknowledged that videotapes made of the harsh interrogations of two terrorist detainees, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, in 2002 were destroyed in 2005. The tapes reportedly show rough interrogation techniques that critics have called torture, including the use of "waterboarding," which simulates drowning.

CIA General Counsel John Rizzo, who opposed the destruction of the tapes, has agreed to appear before the committee voluntarily.

The CIA, both houses of Congress and the Justice Department are investigating the tapes' destruction. The Justice Department and the CIA have urged Congress to delay its investigations while the administration conducts its own preliminary probe.

Bush administration attorneys had also urged the federal court to stay out of the issue for now, saying it would be disruptive to the current inquiries.

In a ruling Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy put off an inquiry into allegations the Bush administration defied his order to preserve evidence that may have included the videos. Kennedy said attorneys for terror suspects held overseas offer nothing to support their assertion that a judicial inquiry is needed.

The Justice Department should be allowed time to conduct its own inquiry into any possible wrongdoing, Kennedy added. He said that while attorneys believe the DOJ is not to be trusted to conduct the investigation, "there is no reason to disregard the Department of Justice's assurances." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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