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US Federal Judge Orders Hearing Into Destruction of CIA Tapes

A U.S. federal judge has ordered a hearing into whether the Bush administration violated a court order by destroying videotapes that showed the interrogation of two top al-Qaida terror suspects.

U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy set the hearing for Friday.

In 2005, Kennedy ordered the Bush administration to preserve all evidence related to prisoner mistreatment at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Justice Department argued that the tapes were not covered under the order since there was no evidence the suspects, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, were questioned in Guantanamo.

Members of the U.S. Congress said they will press ahead with investigations into the Central Intelligence Agency's destruction of the videotapes.

The tapes were made in 2002. CIA Director Michael Hayden says they were destroyed in 2005 to protect the identity of the interrogators. But critics allege they were destroyed to hide evidence of illegal torture of suspected terrorists.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.