Cheney ordered CIA to conceal program

WASHINGTON- US former vice president Dick Cheney ordered the CIA to withhold information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years, The New York Times reported on its website Saturday.
Central Intelligence Agency chief Leon Panetta, who ended the program when he first learned of its existence on June 23, revealed Cheney's role in a closed briefing a day later to the Senate and House intelligence committees, the Times said, citing two people with direct knowledge of the matter.

Cheney ordered CIA to conceal program
"Because this program never went fully operational and hadn't been briefed as Panetta thought it should have been, his decision to kill it was neither difficult nor controversial," an intelligence official told the newspaper, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The allegations about the program, which was not identified, came as lawmakers from both President Barack Obama's Democratic Party and opposition Republicans fight a bitter dispute over whether the CIA informed Congress adequately and comprehensively about sensitive programs.
In May, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi charged that the US spy agency misled lawmakers in 2002 about interrogation techniques widely seen as torture, including "waterboarding," a simulated drowning method used on terror suspects.
The briefing, on whose content Pelosi and the CIA have disagreed, came after accused Al-Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times.
The disclosure about Cheney's involvement came a day after a US government probe highlighted his key role in restricting the number of officials with knowledge of a secret wiretap program launched after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the United States.
The report, compiled by the inspectors general of five government agencies, including the CIA and the departments of Defense and Justice, found that the high level of secrecy of the National Security Agency's covert wiretapping had hurt the program's effectiveness to monitor terror plots and activities.

Sunday, July 12th 2009

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