Ex-CIA Official May Refuse To Testify About Videotapes

Not just any former CIA official but the head of clandestine operations such as rendition, waterboarding, torture, kidnapping and murder, all in the name of “the war on terror”.

A former CIA official at the center of the controversy over destroyed interrogation videotapes has been blocked by Justice Department officials from gaining access to government records about the incident, according to sources familiar with the case.

Federal Judge Won’t Review Destruction Of CIA Videotapes
Thursday, Jan. 10 at 12:30 p.m. ET: National Security and Intelligence
The former official, Jose Rodriguez Jr., has also told the House intelligence committee through a letter from his attorney that he will refuse to testify next week about the tapes unless he is granted immunity from prosecution for his statements, the sources said.

The panel has issued a subpoena for Rodriguez, the former chief of clandestine operations who issued the order to destroy the videotapes in 2005. He and other former CIA officials are also being blocked from gaining access to documents about the incident, sources said.

Official probing Rove now under investigation himself

The federal official helming a probe into potentially illegal partisan political activities conducted by Karl Rove and other White House officials is himself the focus of a federal investigation.

Scott Bloch, the Bush-appointed head of the US Office of Special Counsel, is under investigation for the alleged improper deletion of emails on office computers, The Wall Street Journal‘s John R. Wilke reports.

“Recently, investigators learned that Mr. Bloch erased all the files on his office personal computer late last year,” writes Wilke. “They are now trying to determine whether the deletions were improper or part of a cover-up, lawyers close to the case said.” The inspector general of the Office of Personnel Management is examining the case at the urging of the White House.

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Blackwater contractor wrote government report on incident

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — The State Department’s initial report of last month’s incident in which Blackwater guards were accused of killing Iraqi civilians was written by a Blackwater contractor working in the embassy security detail, according to government and industry sources.

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In this September 24 photo, an Iraqi looks at a car that was destroyed during the September 16 incident.

A source involved in diplomatic security at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said a Blackwater contractor, Darren Hanner, drafted the two-page “spot report” on the letterhead of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security for the embassy’s Tactical Operations Center.

That office — which tracks and monitors all incidents and movements involving diplomatic security missions — has outsourced positions to Blackwater and another private firm, the embassy source said.

A highly placed industry source said that Hanner, who was listed on the report as the TOC watch officer, was working for Blackwater at the time the report was written, just after the September 16 incident occurred. He was to rotate out of Iraq this past week, the source said.

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Republicans ask Waxman to postpone Blackwater hearing

Seven House Republicans have urged Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) to postpone a hearing about Blackwater USA until the State Department and a separate commission report on the most recent incident involving the North Carolina-based security firm in which Iraqi civilians were killed.

The Republicans sent Waxman a letter Friday, urging him to reschedule a Tuesday hearing into Blackwater’s role protecting U.S. government officials in Iraq.

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