By MATT APUZZO
WASHINGTON (AP) - A federal judge appeared reluctant Friday to investigate the destruction of CIA interrogation videotapes while the Justice Department is conducting its own inquiry.U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy is considering whether to delve into the matter and, if so, how deeply. The Bush administration is urging him to back off while it investigates.
“Why should the court not permit the Department of Justice to do just that?” Kennedy asked at a court hearing.
The hearing marked the first time the administration has been forced into court about the matter since the CIA disclosed this month it destroyed the tapes of officers using tough interrogation methods while questioning two al-Qaida suspects.
Government lawyer Joseph Hunt said the joint Justice Department-CIA investigation into the destruction of the videos will also seek evidence of whether the government violated any court orders. Hunt promised the judge that, when the investigation is complete, lawyers will tell the court if its rules were violated.
“It would be unwise and imprudent” for the judge to investigate further, Hunt said.