Michael V. Hayden's remarks differs from the message he sent Central Intelligence Agency employees last week, when he said congressional leaders were told of the tapes made of interrogations of al-Qaida detainees and the agency's intent to destroy them.
After the closed-door meeting with the House Intelligence Committee, Hayden said, "we could have done an awful lot better at keeping the committee alert and informed," The New York Times reported.
Committee Chairman Silvestre P. Reyes, D-Texas, called some of the testimony "stunning."
Officials said tapes of interrogations of al-Qaida suspects Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri were made in 2002 and destroyed in 2005.
Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union asked a federal judge to find the CIA in contempt for ignoring a 2004 court order requiring it to retain and identify material related to treatment of CIA-held detainees.