CIA Director Leon Panetta testified to a congressional committee that he was told former Vice President Dick Cheney ordered the intelligence agency to withhold information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Sunday.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, told the “FOX News Sunday” program that Panetta testified that “he was told that the vice president had ordered that the program not be briefed to the Congress.”
“I think this is a problem, obviously,” Feinstein said, adding that the law requires full disclosure of such operations to Congress.
The disclosure by Panetta to both the Senate and House intelligence committees about Cheney’s involvement was first reported in The New York Times. Efforts to contact Cheney for reaction were unsuccessful.
CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano declined to comment on the report.
“It’s not agency practice to discuss what may or may not have been said in a classified briefing,” Gimigliano said. “When a CIA unit brought this matter to Director Panetta’s attention, it was with the recommendation that it be shared with Congress. That was also his view, and he took swift, decisive action to put it into effect.”
Panetta briefed lawmakers on June 24 on an unspecified counterterrorism program, according to a letter from seven House Democrats to Panetta made public Wednesday. The June 26 letter characterized Panetta as testifying that the CIA “concealed significant actions from all members of Congress, and misled members for a number of years from 2001 to this week.” …