WASHINGTON – The destroyed CIA videotapes at the center of a growing investigation recorded roughly a "couple hundred hours" with two terror suspects, a small portion of which showed interrogators using "enhanced" interrogation methods that might have included waterboarding.
But, U.S. officials tell FOX News, no transcripts of the standard, VHS-style videotapes ever were made. That would mean the only record of what happened during the interrogations captured on the tapes appears to lie in interrogators' summaries that were sent electronically from the sites of the interrogation back to CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.
The officials said that the overwhelming majority of the tapes recorded Abu Zubaydah, who after being waterboarded gave CIA agents information leading to Sept. 11, 2001, plotter Ramzi Binalshibh. The remainder of the now-destroyed tapes featured Abd Al-Nashiri, who was Usama Bin Laden's point-man in the Persian Gulf region, and is alleged to have coordinated the 2000 USS Cole bombing in Yemen that killed 17 sailors.
Much of the tape, the officials said, was the equivalent of surveillance of Zubaydah in his cell. The tapes were taken in 2002, and the CIA destroyed them in 2005.
The information comes as CIA Director Michael Hayden completes his second day of briefing lawmakers on Capitol Hill following the disclosure last week that the tapes were destroyed.
Lawmakers — fueled by the ongoing debate over illegal torture methods — now want to know if the CIA broke any laws in its destruction of the tapes. Reports say a few top lawmakers were aware of the videotapes shortly after they were made, but now some of those same lawmakers say they were not made aware of the tapes' destruction.
Also, lawyers for detainees being held at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, say that federal court rulings regarding some of the detainees might have barred the CIA from destruction of the tapes.
On Wednesday, the top Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Intelligence Committee said the CIA failed to fully inform Congress it was videotaping the harsh interrogations of terrorist suspects and that it destroyed the tapes in 2005.
"Our committee was not informed, has not been kept informed and we are very frustrated about that issue," said Chairman Sylvestre Reyes, D-Texas, after a three-hour closed-door meeting with Hayden. That meeting, he said, "is just the first step in what we feel is going to be a long-term investigation.
That probe will include calling other witnesses, including Hayden predecessors George Tenet and Porter Goss, and John Negroponte, the former Director of National Intelligence, said Michigan Rep. Peter Hoekstra, the panel's senior Republican. Reyes said he would also call on Jose Rodriguez, the former CIA director of operations who actually had the tapes destroyed.
Hayden acknowledged that "particularly at the time of the destruction we could have done an awful lot better at keeping the committee alerted and informed."
Hayden said he learned of the terrorist interrogation videotapes more than a year ago in his tenure as principal deputy director of national intelligence, a post he held from April 2005 to May 2006. He said he did not know that the tapes were being destroyed.
"I did not personally know before they were destroyed, not at all," he said after the briefing. "I was aware of the existence of the tapes but really didn't become focused on it until the summer of '06."
Reyes said the House committee would conduct a long-term investigation.
"It's probably going to take several months to get all the information," Reyes said.
Reyes said some members of the committee found parts of Hayden's briefing "stunning."
Hoekstra said the panel will also look into the White House's interrogation policy and whether the intelligence agency followed it.
Hayden made a similar appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, but said he could not answer all the panel's questions because the tapes were created and destroyed before he arrived at the CIA, under the tenure of his predecessors Tenet and Goss.
"Other people in the agency know about this far better than I," Hayden said, and promised the committee he would make those witnesses available.
The tapes were made to document how CIA officers were using new, harsh questioning techniques recently approved by the White House to force recalcitrant prisoners to talk.
The CIA has not described exactly what was shown on all the tapes. However, among the harsh interrogation techniques the White House approved in 2002 was waterboarding.
Waterboarding involves strapping down a prisoner, covering his mouth with plastic or cloth and pouring water over his face. The prisoner quickly begins to inhale water, causing the sensation of drowning.
The CIA is known to have waterboarded three prisoners — Abu Zubaydah, Al-Nashiri and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
The CIA has not used the technique since 2003, according to a government official familiar with the program. Hayden prohibited waterboarding in 2006. The U.S. military outlawed it the same year.
The CIA destroyed the videotapes in November of 2005. Exactly when Congress was notified of that and in what detail is in dispute.
President Bush said he didn't know about the tapes or their destruction until last week.
FOX News' Catherine Herridge and The Associated Press contributed to this report.