THE CIA’s former top clandestine officer and others will not be charged over the destruction of interrogation videotapes of suspected terrorists.
Another part of the criminal investigation is continuing into whether CIA interrogators went beyond the legal guidance given them on treatment of the suspects during questioning, a Justice Department official said.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because that part of the probe is still under way.
The CIA destroyed its cache of 92 videos of two al-Qa’ida operatives, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Nashiri, being waterboarded in 2005.
Jose Rodriguez, formerly the agency’s top clandestine officer, worried the 92 tapes would be devastating to the CIA if they ever surfaced.
He approved the destruction of the tapes.
Rodriguez’s order was at odds with years of directives from CIA lawyers and the White House.
A lawyer for Rodriguez, Robert Bennett, said the Justice Department’s decision “is the right decision because of the facts and the law”.
Bennett called Rodriguez “an American hero, a true patriot who only wanted to protect his people and his country.”
Assistant US Attorney John Durham has been investigating the destruction of the videotapes since January 2008.
A team of prosecutors and FBI agents led by Durham has conducted an exhaustive investigation into the matter, said Matthew Miller, director of the Justice Department’s office of public affairs.
“As a result of that investigation, Mr. Durham has concluded that he will not pursue criminal charges for the destruction of the interrogation videotapes,” Miller said.