July 12th, 2009
12:50 PM ET
7 years ago

McCain: CIA secrecy story just beginning

Sen. McCain said Sunday that he expects more details to come out about reports of instructions from former Vice President Cheney to the CIA.
Sen. McCain said Sunday that he expects more details to come out about reports of instructions from former Vice President Cheney to the CIA.

(CNN) - Sen. John McCain thinks we haven't heard the last about allegations that former Vice President Dick Cheney ordered secrecy for a CIA surveillance operation after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.

"If I know Washington, this is the beginning of a pretty involved and detailed story," McCain said Sunday on the NBC program "Meet the Press."

According to a New York Times report, Cheney ordered the CIA to withhold information about the unspecified program from Congress.

CIA Director Leon Panetta told the House Intelligence Committee last month about the program, which he said had been shut down.

McCain said he knew little about the program and offered no details. He said he expected Cheney, who has yet to comment on the story, to speak up.

"The vice president should be heard from" about the accusations leveled against him, McCain said.

Related: Cheney and alleged secret CIA program 'a problem,' Senator says

However, McCain opposes a possible federal investigation into the Bush administration's authorization of harsh interrogation techniques including waterboarding. Weekend news reports said Attorney General Eric Holder is considering such a probe, which some Democrats favor even though President Barack Obama has withheld support.

McCain said a special investigation would only publicize "bad things" that harm America's image in the world.

"We all know that the operatives who did it, most likely, were under orders to do it," McCain said.

"Do we want America's image harmed by dragging this out further and further?" he continued, calling photos of prisoner abuse in Iraq the "greatest recruiting tool" for al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

Related: Holder considers prosecutor to probe interrogations, source says


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