WASHINGTON (CNN) - A counterterrorism program the CIA concealed from Congress was never put into full effect and played no significant role in the conflict with al-Qaeda and other extremists, the CIA said Thursday.
"The program (CIA Director Leon Panetta) killed was never fully operational and never took a single terrorist off the battlefield," CIA spokesman George Little said in a written statement.
"Those are facts he shared with Congress. We've had a string of successes against al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups, and that program didn't contribute to any of them."
At issue is Panetta's testimony in June to a congressional committee that he was told former Vice President Dick Cheney ordered the intelligence agency to withhold information about the secret program from Congress. Several key Senate and House Democrats have argued Cheney acted inappropriately in issuing such an order.
Panetta terminated the program when he found out about it last month.
Panetta briefed lawmakers on June 24 on the unspecified program, according to a publicly released letter from seven House Democrats to Panetta. The June 26 letter characterized Panetta as testifying that the CIA "concealed significant actions from all members of Congress, and misled members for a number of years from 2001 to this week."
The letter contained no details about what information the CIA officials allegedly concealed or how they purportedly misled members of Congress.
–CNN's Pam Benson contributed to this report.