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It’s been nearly two weeks since Connecticut federal prosecutor John Durham was tapped to probe the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes, and he’s still trying to establish his Washington team. Since Jan. 2, Durham has been shuttling back and forth between the District and Connecticut. Officials say Durham, 57, has not asked for office space from his counterparts at the U.S. attorney’s offices in the Eastern District of Virginia and the District. He also has not sought room inside Main Justice and instead may settle for an off-site location. Tom Carson, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Connecticut, would not provide details, saying it’s “an ongoing process.” Among those likely to be part of the team are several National Security Division attorneys who led the preliminary inquiry into the CIA tapes. Officials with knowledge of the investigation also say Durham may draw on some of the Virginia prosecutors who have not worked on any CIA-related matters. Meanwhile, a House Intelligence Committee hearing on the tapes, scheduled for Jan. 16, could unravel because the key witness is having second thoughts about testifying if he’s not granted immunity from prosecution. Jose Rodriguez, the former head of the CIA’s worldwide clandestine service who ordered the tapes be destroyed in 2005, was summoned to the closed hearing along with CIA General Counsel John Rizzo. A spokesperson for Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) had no comment on any negotiations to grant Rodriguez immunity. Rodriguez’s lawyer, Robert Bennett of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, says his client is devastated by the tug of war being played out by the Justice Department, the CIA, and Congress. Bennett says it’s unfair that Justice is preventing Rodriguez from reviewing files at the CIA inspector general’s office that are now considered evidence in the criminal probe. “He played by the rules and got the green light to do what he did,” Bennett says. “It’s an outrage for him to have to go out and get counsel to represent him. For him to be denied access to records is very troubling.”
Pedro Ruz Gutierrez can be contacted at [email protected].

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