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US Justice Department Announces Criminal Investigation into Missing CIA Videotapes

The U.S. Justice Department is opening a criminal investigation into the destruction of CIA videotapes of the interrogations of terrorist suspects.

Attorney General Michael Mukasey announced Wednesday that he is appointing federal prosecutor John Durham to conduct the investigation.

CIA director General Michael Hayden said last month that some videotapes of al-Qaida suspect interrogations, made in 2002, had been destroyed in 2005 to protect the identities of the prosecutors. Critics of the move accuse the CIA of destroying evidence of torture.

Also Wednesday, Thomas Keane and Lee Hamilton, heads of the U.S. commission that investigated the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, published an editorial in the New York Times saying CIA officials unlawfully obstructed their investigation by failing to notify them that the videotapes existed.

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