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Report Finds Bush Lawyers Discussed Interrogation Tapes with CIA


The New York Times reports at least four Bush administration lawyers talked with the CIA about what to do with the videotaped interrogations of two suspected al-Qaida terrorists.

The newspaper says the discussions took place between 2003 and late 2005, when the tapes were destroyed. The tapes were made in 2002.

The Times says officials involved included Alberto Gonzales, who served as White House counsel until he became attorney general in 2005, David Addington, counsel to Vice President Dick Cheney; John Bellinger, senior lawyer at the National Security Council, and Harriet Miers, President Bush's deputy chief of staff who succeeded Gonzales as White House counsel.

White House press secretary Dana Perino said the White House has not publicly commented on the issue, and has not described the role or deliberations of White House officials in the matter.

She said the inference that there is an effort to mislead is "pernicious and troubling" and the White House is formally requesting that the Times correct the sub-headline of the story, which says "White House Role Was Wider Than it Said."

A U.S. federal judge has ordered a hearing Friday into whether the Bush administration violated a court order by destroying the videotapes.

U.S. District Judge Henry Kennedy ordered the administration in 2005 to preserve all evidence related to detainee mistreatment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

But the Justice Department argued there was no evidence the suspects, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, were questioned in Guantanamo.

CIA Director Michael Hayden says the tapes were destroyed to protect the identity of the interrogators, but critics allege they were destroyed to hide evidence of torture.

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

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