A lawyer for Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., the former Central Intelligence Agency official who in 2005 ordered the destruction of videotapes of harsh interrogations of prisoners at a secret site overseas, has told Congress that Mr. Rodriguez will not testify about the tapes without a grant of immunity, a person familiar with the discussions said Wednesday.
The House Intelligence Committee has scheduled a closed hearing on the tapes’ destruction for next Wednesday, and John A. Rizzo, the C.I.A.’s acting general counsel, has agreed to testify.
The committee issued a subpoena last month for Mr. Rodriguez’s testimony. Since then, the Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into the tapes’ destruction. Mr. Rodriguez’s lawyer, Robert S. Bennett, wrote to the committee last week, saying that in light of the investigation he would not allow Mr. Rodriguez to offer testimony that might subsequently be used against him, according to the person familiar with the discussions, who would not speak for attribution because of their confidential nature.
The immunity demand creates a quandary for the House committee, which rejected a request from Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey to postpone the Congressional inquiry. An offer of immunity for Mr. Rodriguez’s testimony could make prosecuting him difficult or impossible, legal experts say. [complete article]