The Man Who Ordered CIA's Tape Destruction

He is the man who ordered the destruction of video tapes documenting the CIA's interrogation of two high-level al Qaeda operatives.

The then-head of the clandestine service, Jose Rodriguez, ordered the tapes destroyed shortly after a Washington Post expose focused attention on the CIA's secret prisons, CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports.

"Well, I think there might have been concern that those tapes could have been called for by some outside body and the CIA would no longer maintain control over them," said retired CIA officer John Brennan, who is now a CBS News consultant.

Brennan says Rodriguez was also worried the Justice Department was backing away from its earlier support of harsh interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding.

"And that therefore agency officers who participated in those interrogation sessions may be subject to some type of prosecution," Brennan said.

Rodriguiz ordered the tapes destroyed without telling then-CIA director Porter Goss and against the advice of the CIA's own general counsel, the White House deputy counsel and the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

"I expressed concern about destroying any video tapes and said that would be a very ill-advised move by the agency," Rep. Jane Harman, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said.

Former CIA officer John Kiriakou led the raid, which captured the al Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah, told CBS News he and at least one other CIA officer refused to use the harsh interrogation techniques.

That job, he said, was turned over to retired commandos under contract to the CIA.

  • David Martin

    David Martin is CBS News' National Security Correspondent.