A federal judge said Monday he was prepared to hold the Central Intelligence Agency in civil contempt over the destruction of videotapes in which high-level al-Qaida detainees were interrogated abroad.

But the judge, the Southern District of New York’s Alvin Hellerstein, said at a hearing that he would give the government 10 days to produce a declaration to convince him why he should refrain from a contempt finding and from ordering production of a list of the tapes, information on witnesses and any documents or memoranda relevant to the Freedom of Information Act request of the American Civil Liberties Union.

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