Bush: I Didn’t Know About CIA Tape Destruction

By Jennifer Parker

Dec 11, 2007 11:48am

ABC News’ Martha Raddatz Reports: In an exclusive interview with ABC News President Bush said Tuesday he did not know about the destruction of CIA videotapes of detainee interrogations.

The President said he was told just a few days ago.

"My first recollection of whether the tapes existed or whether they were destroyed was when [CIA Director] Michael Hayden briefed me," Bush said.

"There’s a preliminary inquiry going on and I think you’ll find that a lot more data, facts will be coming out," he said, "that’s good. It will be interesting to know what the true facts are."

The President made the remarks to ABC News as part of a day-in-the-life series ABC News’ White House correspondent Martha Raddatz is shooting with the President.

This is the first time Bush has spoken publicly about the CIA tape controversy, as CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden begins two days of testimony behind closed doors at the Senate and House intelligence committees to answer questions about his agency’s 2005 destruction of videotaped interrogations of terrorist suspects.

The Justice Department and the CIA’s internal watchdog are conducting a joint inquiry into the matter to determine whether a full investigation is warranted.

With that review ongoing, the White House counsel’s office has instructed White House press secretary Dana Perino not to get into details with reporters.

Perino told reporters this week that the President has no recollection of hearing about the tapes’ existence or their destruction before being briefed about it last Thursday.

ABC News’ Jonathan Karl has reported then-White House counsel Harriet Miers knew about the CIA’s planned destruction of the videotapes in 2005 and urged the CIA not to destroy the tapes.

For more on Martha Raddatz’s day-in-the-life of President Bush, watch ABC’s World News tonight with Charles Gibson and ABC’s Nightline.

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