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CIA's director to testify about destroyed tapes at Congress

CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden to give testimony behind closed doors at the Senate and House of Representatives intelligence committees in a case of destruction of videotaped interrogations of terrorist suspects.

His testimony comes a day after a former CIA agent said the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah, a major Al-Qaida figure, got him to talk in less than 35 seconds.

"The next day, he told his interrogator that Allah had visited him in his cell during the night and told him to cooperate," John Kiriakou, a leader of the CIA team that captured Zubaydah, said in an interview first broadcast Monday evening on ABC News' World News. "For that day on, he answered every question. The threat information he provided disrupted a number of attacks, maybe dozens of attacks."

Kiriakou said he did not know the interrogation of Zubaydah was being recorded by the CIA and did not know the tapes subsequently were destroyed.

"Like a lot of Americans, I'm involved in this internal, intellectual battle with myself weighing the idea that waterboarding may be torture versus the quality of information that we often get after using the waterboarding technique," Kiriakou, now retired from the CIA, told ABC News. "And I struggle with it."

He added: "what happens if we don't waterboard a person and we don't get that nugget of information and there's an attack. I would have trouble forgiving myself. ... At the time, I felt that waterboarding was something that we needed to do."

"It was like flipping a switch," he told The Washington Post of the waterboarding effect on Zubaydah.

The former agent told the Post he was going public to correct what he said are misperceptions about the role played by CIA employees in the early months after 9/11.

"It's easy to point to intelligence failures and perceived intelligence failures, but the public has to understand how hard people are working to make them safe," Kiriakou told the Post.

Hayden will answer questions Tuesday from the Senate panel and Wednesday from its House counterpart. Both are closed sessions.

Hayden told CIA employees last week that the CIA taped the interrogations of two alleged terrorists in 2002. He said Congress was notified in 2003 both of the tapes' existence and the agency's intent to destroy them.

The CIA destroyed the tapes in November of 2005. Exactly when Congress was notified and in what detail is in dispute.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat, said the CIA claims it told the committee of the tapes' destruction at a hearing in November 2006. Rockefeller said, however, that the hearing transcript found no mention of that subject.

The House committee first learned the tapes had been destroyed in March 2007, according to Committee Chairman Rep. Silvestre Reyes, a Democrat.

In last week's message, Hayden told CIA employees that "the leaders of our oversight committees in Congress were informed of the videos years ago and of the Agency's intention to dispose of the material. Our oversight committees also have been told that the videos were, in fact, destroyed."

But Reyes said Monday that Hayden's claim that Congress was properly notified "does not appear to be true."

Reyes and ranking Republican Rep. Peter Hoekstra have launched a committee investigation into the decision to destroy the videotapes and whether Congress was apprised. It will also scrutinize the techniques used during the interrogations.

Besides Hayden, the House panel is considering a list of other possible witnesses for future hearings that could include former CIA directors Porter Goss and George Tenet, said a committee aide who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision has not yet been made.

Rockefeller has said the Senate panel also will conduct a full review of the episode.

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