CIA Director Panetta: CIA Under Bush, Misled Congress Since 2001

July 9, 2009

(ChattahBox)–As Congress readies to debate amendments to the Intelligence Authorization Bill, tensions are increasing between members of the House Intelligence Committee and the CIA now headed by Obama appointee, Leon Panetta, who recently advised the committee that the CIA, during the Bush administration, “concealed significant actions” from Congress.

According to a letter prepared by seven house Democrats, Panetta’s statements show that CIA officials have misled Congress since 2001.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, a Democratic lawmaker from Texas, took the unusual step of releasing a separate letter as well, declaring that Panetta’s remarks prove the CIA “affirmatively lied” to the committee.

Rep. Rush Holt, a New Jersey Democrat, characterized the seriousness of the information withheld from Congress, saying, “it’s serious stuff.”

The relationship between the CIA and Congress soured during the Bush administration, as members frequently complained they were not informed of important security matters, such as the coerced interrogations and waterboarding of detainees.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier accused the CIA of misleading her regarding the use of waterboarding and other methods of torture used on detainees.

The Democrats in their letter to Panetta, are demanding that he revise a previous statement made on May 15 to the intelligence committee saying, “It is not our policy or practice to mislead Congress. That is against our laws and values.” Panetta stands by that statement.

CIA spokesman George Little points out that the CIA itself “took the initiative to notify the oversight committees” about the lapses in congressional briefings as soon as Panetta was made aware of the problems.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are determined to remake the Intelligence Authorization Bill to ensure that committee members are fully and truthfully briefed in the future by the CIA.

Some of the changes proposed by lawmakers, include more detailed briefings on the pros and cons of covert actions, allowing Congress to object to any part of a presidential covert finding and requiring the director of national intelligence to report any congressional objections in writing to the president within 48 hours.

These expansive Democratic proposals, granting lawmakers greater power in decision making over covert operations, have raised the ire of the White House, claiming the amendments would raise “significant executive privilege concerns.”

The White House seems ready for a showdown with its own party, issuing a veto threat on Wednesday to lawmakers if the covert operations amendments pass.



3 Responses to “CIA Director Panetta: CIA Under Bush, Misled Congress Since 2001”

  1. Old Man Dotes on July 9th, 2009 1:42 pm

    Why would anyone be surprised that the Nazi Administration deceived another branch of the Federal Government?

  2. jax on July 11th, 2009 8:51 am

    In 2007 Pakistani Intelligence traced the source of much of terror in Pakistan to a terrorist camp in Helmand province of Afghanistan. The camp was run by two Brits, Michael Semple and Mervyn Patterson. Both of these British spooks were ostensibly working for humanitarian organizations like Oxfam. Semple was Council of the EU, Deputy Representative in Afghanistan and Patterson was “UN diplomat” as well as friend of General Stanikzai. Following this extra ordinary intelligence work by ISI, Karzai of Afghanistan and high officials in Musharraf government exchanged visits which eventually resulted in the arrest and expulsion of Patterson and Semple from Afghanistan.

    In December of 2007 Guardian and Independent published stories that were clearly designed to muddle the facts and divert attention away from the real story. The real story was that these training camps were to create the Tehreek-e Taliban-e Pakistan (TMP) or Pakistani Taliban; but why?

    A key factor in Bush administration’s Afghan policy was to get Pakistan to make the war against Taliban its own war and not consider it as an American war that can be used to further Pakistan’s goals. By creating Pakistani Taliban US and Brits would be able to pit Pakistan’s military against the Taliban in general and eventually against the Pushtuns to the extent that Pakistani military could be used to do the fighting in Afghanistan. Furthermore, a side benefit of this program would be, if the Taliban were to take over some areas in Pakistan and a part of the capital, then this would provide a sufficient basis for the US to bomb Pakistani nuclear installations and cease their nuclear weapons. There were serious war plans and military exercises conducted by US forces for this scenario. However, unexpected competence of the Pakistani intelligence and ability of the Musharraf government to convince Karzai to through the two Brits out, put a damper on the CIA-MI5 plan. This kind of policy is typical of Bush administration: grandiose, fuzzy and inconsiderate of human life. I think it is the details of this plan, crating and nurturing Pakistani Taliban, that Panetta has uncovered and reported to congress.

  3. Cheney to CIA: Don’t Tell Congress | ChattahBox News Blog on July 12th, 2009 10:36 am

    […] new revelations of the C.I.A.’s withholding information arrive as lawmakers seek to amend the 1947 Intelligence Authorization Bill, to ensure that Congress is fully informed of future […]

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