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WASHINGTON, Dec. 21- A U.S. federal judge Friday turned out to be reluctant to investigate the destruction of some Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) videotapes which show torture of two terror suspects in interrogations.     U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy heard arguments from both sides, but didn’t come up with a decision.

    The destruction took place five months after Kennedy ordered the government to preserve “all evidence and information regarding the torture, mistreatment and abuse of detainees now” at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    In Friday’s hearing, lawyers for several Yemeni prisoners at Guantanamo urged the judge to investigate the matter of some CIA tapes destroyed in 2005.

    They suspected the tapes contained evidence of water boarding against two terror suspects, which international human rights groups have decried as torture.

    But Joseph Hunt, a lawyer representing the White House, told the judge that the two terror suspects shown in the tapes were not being held at Guantanamo when the judge issued his order, so his order didn’t cover the two suspects.

    Hunt also said the tapes destroyed by the CIA had no bearing on the case of the Yemeni men.

    He then asked the judge to refrain from conducting his own investigation.

    In the end, Kennedy left the case undecided, without saying if he would launch an investigation into the issue.

    The destruction of the videotapes, disclosed earlier this month, has caused a furor in the United States.

    Critics of the Bush administration have seized on the episode as further evidence that it may have a lot to hide in its treatment of detainees.

    In addition to the Justice Department, the CIA is also looking into the affair, as are two Congressional committees.


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