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CIA requests DOJ probe into waterboarding comments by ex-agent

[JURIST] The US Central Intelligence agency (CIA) has requested that the Department of Justice [official websites] conduct an investigation into whether former CIA agent John Kiriakou illegally released classified information when he spoke to several news organizations last week [JURIST report] about CIA interrogations, officials said Thursday. In the interviews, Kiriakou confirmed the use of waterboarding [JURIST news archive] during the interrogations of two al Qaeda terrorist suspects, Abu Zubaydah [BBC profile] and Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein [Interpol profile]. While Kiriakou, who led Zubaydah's interrogation, expressed some disapproval of the tactic, he said its efficacy in helping to disrupt "a number of attacks, maybe dozens" outweighed its harshness. His public comments were the first by an CIA officer who was involved in handling high value al Qaeda targets. Kiriakou's lawyer said that the CIA's request is routine procedure for officers who leave the agency and that it is unlikely to result in criminal charges.

Kiriakou's comments came amid controversy surrounding the CIA's destruction of videotapes [JURIST news archive] of the interrogation of Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Sashiri [GlobalSecurity backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. CIA Director Michael Hayden acknowledged [statement text] earlier this month that the CIA had videotaped the interrogation of two al Qaeda suspects in 2002, but said that the tapes had been destroyed in 2005 amid concerns that they could be leaked to the public and compromise the identities of the interrogators. In addition to the DOJ-CIA investigation, multiple congressional inquiries have been launched into the tapes' destruction. The Washington Post has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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