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CIA requests probe after interviews

Dec. 21, 2007 at 6:54 AM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- The U.S. Justice Department has been asked by the CIA to probe whether a former agency officer acted illegally in describing the waterboarding of a prisoner.

Officials said the agency asked the department to investigate whether former officer John Kiriakou illegally revealed classified data when he gave media interviews describing the capture and interrogation -- including waterboarding -- of al-Qaida terrorism suspect Zayn al-Abidin Muhammed Hussein, The Washington Post reported Friday.

Kiriakou said during interviews with the Post and other organizations that the prisoner resisted interrogation until he was subjected to the controversial technique, which simulates drowning.

The former agent's lawyer, Mark Zaid, said the CIA commonly asks the Justice Department to open similar investigations but criminal charges are rarely filed as a result.

The CIA's request comes amid ongoing controversy over the agency's destruction of videotaped interrogations featuring Hussein, who is commonly known as Abu Zubaida, and another prisoner. The Justice Department and CIA inspector general opened a preliminary inquiry into the purging after the CIA revealed the tapes were destroyed in 2005.

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