The Washington Post reports:
Four months after he was sworn in, CIA Director Leon E. Panetta learned of an intelligence program that had been hidden from Congress since 2001, a revelation that prompted him to immediately cancel the initiative and schedule a pair of closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill.
The next day, June 24, Panetta informed the House and Senate intelligence committees of the program and the action he had taken, according to Democratic and Republican members of the panels.
“Instructions were given not to brief Congress,” Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said in an interview.
CIA officials brought the program to Panetta’s attention, and when he realized it potentially conflicted with what the committees had been told, he immediately went to Capitol Hill, according to officials who discussed classified material on the condition of anonymity.
Reactions to the Panetta briefing split along partisan lines.
Wow… split along party lines. Shocking…
Read all about it here.
And for some excellent commentary on this story, read John Nichols’ article in The Nation. Excerpt:
Pelosi said the Central Intelligence Agency had failed to inform her about the character and extent of the harsh interrogations.
Pelosi accused the CIA of “misleading the Congress of the United States.”
Republican senators screamed.
No matter what anyone thinks of Pelosi or waterboarding, there is a clear case for dramatically expanding congressional oversight of the CIA. Of course, more House and Senate members should have access to briefings — and should have the authority to hold CIA officials (and their White House overseers) to account for deliberate deceptions. But that ought not be the first response to the latest news.
Step one must be to get to the bottom of exactly what the CIA was lying about.
That would be nice, but I think it’s going to be a while before we uncover all the misdeeds of Bush’s only successful endeavor: Mendacity, Inc.