What Did the CIA Lie to Congress About?

CIA director Panetta admitted to Congress that the CIA misled Congress concerning “significant actions” from 2001 to the present. As Congress wrote to Panetta yesterday:

“Recently you testified that you have determined that top CIA officials have concealed significant actions from all Members of Congress, and misled Members for a number of years from 2001 to this week,” the Democratic lawmakers write. “This is similar to other deceptions of which we are aware from other recent periods.”

Here’s the letter:


Huffington Post writes:

A source with knowledge of the dispute says it concerns Bush administration interrogation policies.

This could be true. A Senate report revealed that planning for the torture program began in 2001.

However, Newsweek writes:

CIA director Leon Panetta has ordered an internal inquiry into the agency’s handling of a contentious and still highly-classified intelligence program that has caused a heated dispute between the CIA and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee. The move by Panetta appears to be an implicit acknowledgement by the agency that it should have disclosed information about the post-9/11 secret program to Congress much earlier than it did…

CIA and congressional officials have refused to describe the nature of the covert program, but insisted it is not connected to the CIA’s use of controversial “enhanced” interrogation techniques. But the program’s existence erupted into a major political dispute Wednesday night when seven House Intelligence Committee Democrats released a letter charging that the agency had “concealed significant actions” and “mislead” members of Congress by failing to inform the oversight committees about the program until last month…

“This program came in post 9/11, and it was indeed on again, off again, the official said. “You could argue that it never really took shape.” The implication is that whatever the details of the program, it carried risks that some officials at the agency strongly felt might not be worth taking.

“You’ve got a lot of people [at the agency] who, after September 11, were thinking of creative ways of doing things,” said one former senior CIA official. “That doesn’t mean you have to run up and tell Congress about it.”

If the CIA and congressional sources were telling Newsweek the truth, and it is not the torture program Panetta was referring to, then was he talking about?

As I’ve previously pointed out:

  • The decision to launch the Iraq war was made before 9/11

So, hypothetically, none of those could be what he was discussing.

That brings up the question of whether he was referring to a Continuity of Government form of government.

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