In a letter to Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Mukasey said the Justice Department "has a long-standing policy of declining to provide non-public information on pending matters." Both the CIA and DOJ have already begun internal probes into what happened to the tapes.
Mukasey added: "This policy is based in part on our interest in avoiding any perception that our law-enforcement decisions are subject to political influence."
Mukasey sent a similar letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.), who was seeking details about the DOJ probe into the CIA tapes as well.
Leahy expressed disappointment with Mukasey's decision, and the Vermont Democrat promised to press Mukasey for more information in future hearings.
The Vermont Democrat also warned that he will raise the issue when Mark Filip, who has been nominated for the number two post at Justice, comes before the committee next week for a confirmation hearing.
“I will ask Attorney General Mukasey -- in public and on the record -- more about the Department’s knowledge of and role in the existence and destruction of these videotapes at the Committee’s next oversight hearing, which I intend to call early next year," said Leahy in a statement released by his office. "The Committee will also look forward to hearing from Deputy Attorney General nominee Mark Filip about this matter at his confirmation hearing on December 19.”