By Leonard Doyle in Washington
Senior US senators and congressmen are pressing for a criminal investigation of the CIA for obstruction of justice after it admitted destroying two videotapes showing apparently abusive interrogations of al-Qa'ida suspects in 2005.
The digital recordings apparently show a team of CIA agents subjecting Abu Zubayadh, the agency's first detainee, and another suspect to abusive interrogation. The tapes were apparently destroyed because CIA officers feared prosecution for torture, which is a felony under US law.
"We haven't seen anything like this since the 18-minute gap on the tapes of Richard Nixon," said Senator Edward Kennedy who accused the CIA of "a cover-up." He called on the Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate.
Congresswoman Jan Harman said that in early 2003, she had warned the CIA not to destroy any videotapes dealing with interrogation practices.