WASHINGTON — A federal prosecutor will not bring criminal charges against any of the Central Intelligence Agency officers involved in destroying videotapes depicting the brutal interrogation of Al Qaeda detainees, the Justice Department said on Tuesday.
After an investigation spanning nearly three years, John H. Durham, the special prosecutor assigned to the case by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, has decided not to charge the C.I.A. undercover officers and top lawyers at the agency for their roles in the destruction of the tapes.
Matthew Miller, a Justice Department spokesman, said that since that appointment, “a team of prosecutors and F.B.I. agents led by Mr. Durham has conducted an exhaustive investigation into the matter.” He continued, “As a result of that investigation, Mr. Durham has concluded that he will not pursue criminal charges for the destruction of the interrogation videotapes.”
Jose A. Rodriguez, the former head of the agency’s clandestine service, ordered his staff in November 2005 to destroy tapes of the interrogations of Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. The tapes had been kept in a safe in the agency’s station in Thailand, the country where the interrogations were conducted in 2002.
Mr. Rodriguez took responsibility for the destruction of the tapes, according to current and former government officials, and said that C.I.A. lawyers had authorized his order. The agency withheld the fact that the tapes existed from , federal courts and the Sept. 11 Commission, which had asked the agency for records of the interrogations.