Biden Wants Fielding To Clarify Directive On Destroyed CIA Tapes

Delaware senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Joseph R. Biden Jr. wants White House counsel Fred Fielding to assure him that the White House and the Office of the Vice President are preserving all documents related to the interrogation of suspected terrorists.

The letter comes amid revelations that the CIA destroyed video tapes of at least two interrogations, including one that involved waterboarding, the simulated drowning technique that provoked stearn rebukes on Capitol Hill.

In what appears to be a classic case of cover-your-butt, it looks like intelligence officials leaked a story to the Washington Post over the weekend suggesting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) knew CIA interrogators had employed the technique to grill detainees. If it was a deliberate leak, intelligence officials were clearly hoping to neuter congressional reaction to the story that has spawned independent investigations all over town.

The Justice Department, the CIA's inspector general and the chairman and ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee have all launched formal probes into the destruction of the tapes. On Monday, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino told reporters that Fielding had issued a directive that all White House employees should retain any documents related to the destroyed tapes. In addition, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) threw his support behind those investigations Tuesday.

To read the letter click here.