July 17th, 2009
03:58 PM ET
9 years ago

House committee to probe secret CIA program

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The House Intelligence Committee will investigate whether any laws were broken when the CIA concealed a now-canceled counterterrorism program from Congress, the panel's chairman announced Friday.

Among the things the committee will look into is "whether there was any past decision or direction to withhold information from the committee," Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, said in a statement announcing the probe.

"I intend to make this investigation fair and thorough, and it is my goal that it will not become a distraction to the men and women of the CIA," he said.

"However, in order to assist them fully and keep them well-resourced, it is the responsibility of the executive branch to ensure that the committee is kept fully and currently informed of all significant anticipated intelligence activities."

CIA Director Leon Panetta told a congressional committee in June that he was told former Vice President Dick Cheney ordered the intelligence agency to withhold information about the secret program from Congress. Panetta terminated the program when he found out about it last month. The spy agency said Thursday that the program was never put into full effect and played no significant role in the battle against al Qaeda and other violent extremists.

Filed under: CIA
soundoff (52 Responses)
  1. Marc

    Rick in OP – First, the 'damage' of the 70's happened when the USA found out how counterproductive was to desestablish governments all around the world just because a bunch of guys thought that it would be necessary for U.S. national security. Last year or the year before the Revolution that put Rehza Palevi in power in the country we call today Iran got it 50th anniversary, and the CIA acknowledged then that it paved the way for Khomeini and his pal to get in power in 1979... so you can see how much productive it was...
    In order to prevent any abuse of power from the secret service they made laws back then (70's) that not only Dick Cheney is accused of have broke but also that this ILLEGAL operation was... fruitless. They might have or not killed some terrorists but not their main targets, the big ones and leaders of the pack (I don't call them humans), and wasted time and money that could be better used in the LEGAL operations that kept us safe.
    And, New Yorker – If they did what they are being accused of, then they'll go to jail because IT WAS ILLEGAL. Stop the spin.

    July 17, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  2. Steve

    We're in a recession and the Dims want to waste more time and money investigating a program that was never even implemented.

    July 17, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  3. single mom

    Rick in OP – unfortunately, our intelligence community is STILL recovering from the Church Commission.

    This operation was still in the planning stages, folks. People were TALKING about it and seeing if it was feasible. My understanding of the law was to brief senior party leaders before an operation was enacted.
    Are we going to start arresting people for TALKING? About ways to go after people who want to attack our country and have shown the lengths to which they'll go to do just that? For those that have forgotten – our embassy in Tehran, Beirut embassy attack, Beirut Marine barracks, hostages taken throughout the eighties, 93 attempt on WTC, attack on embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the attack on the USS Cole, plus the one on our own soil – NYC, DC and Flight 93.
    I just pray that we never have another attack like 9/11 because politicians didn't have the guts to go after Bin Laden and his people.

    July 17, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  4. Tim

    Apparently, the moderator has moved on from a fascination for Janet Reno to a fascination for Nancy Pelosi. Don't criticize Pelosi, it want be tolerated.

    July 17, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  5. Tim

    Cheney kept the secret Al-Qaida assassination program from Pelosi because after the CIA told Pelosi about the yet-to-be-operationalized waterboarding techniques that they were planning, and Pelosi shrugged it off because the methods hadn't yet been operationalized, the CIA got the sense that Pelosi didn't want to be bothered with the details of other programs that had yet to be operationalized. Cheney agreed and told them to keep quite out of respect for Pelosi's time!

    July 17, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. Marc

    phoenix86 – Actually you bought the Limbaugh/FOX News spin hook, line and sinker as it seems.
    It doesn't matter what was Valerie Plame's position in the CIA, she was an agent in a foreign land and since her husband didn't believed in their lies that led the USA to the war in Iraq (and had prooofs to back his beliefs), they OUTED her. Like 'You spent years working for the country but we don't like your husband so... WORLD SHE'S A SPY!!!!!'
    Very encouraging stuff for the OTHER guys and gals that are (no matter in which position of danger for themselves) out there to help us, don't you think?

    July 17, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  7. Hagen, NC

    Spend our money and try to investigate. You already have over 30 czars and wasting money. Bush/Cheney keps us safe. That is more important than anything else. Today there was explosion in Jakarta. Barack Obama has no guts/leadership to criticize Al Qaeda and his muslim friends. He wants to work with Indonesians. What is wrong with him. You don't have to go all over the world shaking hands for their goodwill, you have to act to protect our nation and other nations from terrorism. It is better you investigate on this explosion. You idiots.

    July 17, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  8. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    @ Commen sense rules

    Name the crimes..........

    @ phoenix86

    I didn't write the law. How about reading it for yourself! If you did you'll realize that Cheney broke the law. It says it plain and clear.

    July 17, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  9. barrystash

    Do it Marxicrats. It is going to come back and bite you on the ass !

    July 17, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  10. barrystash

    To Moderator – Jen's comments are inappropriate. Accusing Cheney of killing Wellstone.

    July 17, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  11. Elijah

    We do need a complete investigation. Can't wait to hear all about Cheney's program to kill al Qaeda terrorists. Scary.. Even the great Pretender Obama lets drones kill terrorists now.

    Mr. Cheney is probably fly fishing on the Snake River laughing his a$$ off right now. Me too since I got a 5 bagger out of Haliburton during his reign.

    July 17, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  12. Maria - Proud Democrat

    Let's get the whole truth out.....

    We want to know how many Democrats and Republicans were involved....

    We ALSO WANT TO KNOW if Speaker PELOSI knew about Water Boarding......release the memos and information that will either prove she was telling the truth or that she was telling us a lie.....let's get all the info out.

    July 17, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  13. Mark,B'ham,Al.

    I wish they had assasinated Al-Quaeda members since their oath requires they protect the American People. The trouble with telling Congress what ideas are being kicked around is they will leak it to the press faster than a womens sewing circle passing gossip. Did not the New York Times put out that we were considering assasination fo terroristin 2002?

    July 17, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  14. Rick

    God bless you Maria – the voice of reason. Sorry to you other Dem's for bring up God. I will refrain next time.

    July 17, 2009 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  15. Michael Arnaud

    Robin Williams did a skit in 2002 saying in a joke that Congress approved the secret plan to assainate Saddam Hussein. Wondering if Saddam knew. There isn't a member of Congress that can keep thier mouth shut on anything the CIA does. Why would Cheney brief the biggest leaks in DC about a non-operational plan. That's the sureest way for it to stay non-operational. Congress would hold a press conference and annouce what we're doing. Yeah, I trust Congress. NOT!!!

    July 17, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  16. Barry

    Did anyone expect anything different? The Dems needed to do something to keep the spotlight off of Pelosi!

    July 17, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  17. Moderate Democrat

    If democrats used the logic of the Cheney defenders...then we should all believe that...........

    Obama stopped world war 3 and 4 from breaking out...both would have already happened. We know we can't tell you WHAT he got that stopped them...just that it worked. Yea, really, he stopped them. Don't ask us to give you the facts of 'how' or 'what' or 'where' he learned it.........just trust us...since world war 3 and 4 haven't started, we all know for certain that he stopped them from starting.

    Thank you Messiah Hussein, for not letting WWIII and WWIV start. You saved all our lives! Wish we knew how, but we don't...but we still know you did.

    Have a nice day!

    July 17, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  18. demwit

    Only morons investigate plans that was never actually put into action. Maybe these same morons want to investigate our massive nuclear strike plan that will wipe out the rest of the world if we're attack. I mean.., any laws broken there!??

    July 17, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  19. RealityKing

    Terrorists all over the world LOVE our progressively liberal President and Congress. They need only sit back and watch us distroy ourselves..

    July 17, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  20. DarthLoki

    C.I.A. Morale is great, (but thats a secret).

    Why would trouble for Dick Cheney have any effect on C.I.A. morale? Dick Cheney the INSTANT intelligence expert, (just add fertilizer), is who made the C.I.A. look like idiots for Iraq and for the failure to capture or kill Osama Bin Laden.

    Dick Cheney is also the one who tightened down on whistle-blowers. So if you had a bad streak of integrity you either left the agency or you shut up and let it eat at your guts. Dick Cheney also has made it a lot easier to put C.I.A. employees under surveillance without oversight.

    Panetta didn't find out for so long because the C.I.A employees had been intimidated by Dick Cheney for 8 years. Until they could poke his political corpse in the eye with a stick, they were not going to speak up. And as far as I can tell the National Security Act of 1947 doesn't have any teeth. The penalties appear to be administrative.

    July 17, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  21. David form WI

    "I intend to make this investigation fair and thorough, and it is my goal that it will not become a distraction to the men and women of the CIA,"

    That's because it's meant to be a distraction for the American people. Its meant to take the heat of off Speaker Pelosi and remind their far left and left of sane party members of Cheney again. Every one needs a boggy man to cover ones own behinds.

    Too bad it is hurting the morale of the agency and putting American lives in danger because of it.

    Who has checks over the govt. Oh right.... that would be the press.

    Pardon me I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

    And you want these losers to have ANY part in running health care.
    God help us all.

    July 17, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  22. ProgressivelyMinded

    You mean Bush and Cheney had plans to kill top terrorists!?

    July 17, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  23. annie for Palin

    How about probing how obama is trying to create a huge racial divide?

    July 17, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  24. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Andy has a place in his heart for enforcing the LAW.Its time for prison,republican or Democrat,the law is the law.

    July 17, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  25. CCI

    Barrystash, it is time you need to get a life and stop calling the Dems "Marxicrats." It is filthy, it is vile, it is also racist as you keep calling Barack Barry. Dick broke the law. Dick control most of the country more than Bush, nearly putting us in a Totalitarian Dictatorship. We need an investigation to throw the vile bastard out! You people make me sick!

    July 17, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
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