A former CIA official who is believed to have ordered the destruction of videotapes showing interrogations of suspected al-Qaida terrorists will not testify at a U.S. Congressional hearing Wednesday.

The lawyer for Jose Rodriguez said his client will not appear at the closed hearing before the U.S. House Intelligence Committee.  The lawyer has reportedly been seeking full immunity in exchange for Rodriguez' testimony.

Lawmakers had subpoenaed Rodriguez, who is the former head of the CIA's clandestine branch, regarding his role in the destruction of interrogation tapes in 2005.

Top CIA lawyer John Rizzo is scheduled to appear before the House panel Wednesday.

The CIA said the tapes were destroyed to protect the identities of the interrogators.  Critics allege they were destroyed to hide evidence of torture.

The tapes showed the interrogations of suspected al-Qaida members Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and are reported to show an interrogation technique known as waterboarding, or simulated drowning.

The U.S. Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation into the destruction of the tapes.

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