CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

2009

Assassination-Notification Flap

Materials presented in chronological order.

Kane, Paul. "House Intelligence Chairman Reyes Says CIA Lied to Committee." Washington Post, 9 Jul. 2009. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

On 7 July 2009, HPSCI chairman Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) sent a letter to the House leadership accusing "the CIA of lying to the panel in a classified matter." This is "the second time in less than two months that a top House Democrat has charged the spy agency of intentionally misleading Congress."

Shane, Scott. "C.I.A. Reviewing Its Process for Briefing Congress." New York Times, 10 Jul. 2009. [http://www.nytimes.com]

Intelligence officials said on 9 July 2009 that CIA Director Leon E. Panetta has "assigned a senior C.I.A. officer" to conduct "an internal review of how it briefs Congress on secret programs." This action comes as Democrats and Republicans trade "barbs over an admission" by Panetta "that the C.I.A. failed for eight years to inform the Intelligence Committees of one unidentified program.... Several members of Congress said the program, begun in the immediate aftermath of the [9/11] terrorist attacks, involved creating a capability that was never used."

Warrick, Joby, and Ben Pershing. "CIA Had Program to Kill Al-Qaeda Leaders: Agency Didn't Tell Congress About Bush-Era Plan to Use Assassins." Washington Post, 14 Jul. 2009. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to U.S. intelligence and congressional officials on 13 July 2009, the CIA for nearly eight years ran a program authorized by the Bush administration, which proposed to deploy "teams of assassins" to kill top al-Qaeda leaders. However, the agency did not tell Congress about the program. Sources briefed on the matter said that the plan "never became fully operational." The sources confirmed that then-Vice President Cheney "had urged the CIA to delay notifying Congress" about the plan. The program "was terminated last month," but several Democrats have argued that the CIA "misled Congress by not disclosing its existence."

Hess, Pamela, and Adam Goldman. "AP Sources: Tenet Canceled Secret CIA Hit Teams." Associated Press, 16 Jul. 2009. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to former intelligence officials, DCI George Tenet "terminated a secret program to develop hit teams to kill al-Qaida leaders" in 2004. The officials told Associated Press that Tenet "ended the program because the agency could not work out its practical details." Replacing Tenet in 2005, Porter Goss "restarted the program, the former officials said. By the time Michael Hayden succeeded Goss as CIA chief in 2006 the effort was again flagging because of practical challenges. CIA Director Leon Panetta drove the final stake into the effort in June after learning about the program."

Warrick, Joby. "CIA Assassin Program Was Nearing New Phase: Panetta Pulled Plug After Training Was Proposed." Washington Post, 16 Jul. 2009. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to two U.S. officials familiar with the matter, "CIA officials were proposing to activate a plan to train anti-terrorist assassination teams overseas when agency managers brought the secret program to the attention of CIA Director Leon Panetta last month... The plan to kill top al-Qaeda leaders, which had been on the agency's back burner for much of the past eight years, was suddenly thrust into the spotlight because of proposals to initiate what one intelligence official called a 'somewhat more operational phase.' Shortly after learning of the plan, Panetta terminated the program and then went to Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers."

Kane, Paul, and Joby Warrick. "House Panel to Investigate Canceled CIA Program." Washington Post, 18 Jul. 2009. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"The House intelligence committee announced [on 13 July 2009] it will investigate the CIA's handling of its secret al-Qaeda assassination program, including whether Vice President Richard B. Cheney improperly intervened to stop the agency from telling Congress about the initiative."

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