Dy’er Sez: A little more news is trickling out about the closed-door meetings between members of Congress and CIA director Leon Panetta. Apparently what the agency head detailed to congress was about some sort of secret project which was, according to Rep. Jan Shakwosky, a very serious covert program begun just after Sept. 11 2001, which was covered up by the CIA; unfortunately, exactly what that program may have been about is still undisclosed at this point in time.
Additionally, it is being reported that the covert program has been recently shut down by Panetta. Obviously, whatever is going on here is very serious in nature, and needs to be investigated further. The problem I see is two-fold: first, President Obama promised that government should be more transparent to the public, but has made no request to at least release information about what this may be about. Secondly, it very obvious that further investigation (and perhaps prosecution) is warranted, but if details of this program are not going to be disseminated to the public, this will not happen.
Story from the AP:
Lawmaker says CIA director ended secret program
By PAMELA HESS, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON – CIA Director Leon Panetta has terminated a “very serious” covert program the spy agency kept secret from Congress for eight years, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a House Intelligence subcommittee chairwoman, said Friday.
Schakowsky is pressing for an immediate committee investigation of the classified program, which has not been described publicly. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has said he is considering an investigation.
“The program is a very, very serious program and certainly deserved a serious debate at the time and through the years,” Schakowsky told The Associated Press in an interview. “But now it’s over.”
Democrats revealed late Tuesday that CIA Director Leon Panetta had informed members of the House Intelligence Committee on June 24 that the spy agency had been withholding important information about a secret intelligence program begun after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Schakowsky described Panetta as “stunned” that he had not been informed of the program until nearly five months into his tenure as director.
Panetta had learned of the program only the day before informing the lawmakers, according to a U.S. intelligence official. The official spoke on condition of anonymity Friday because he was not authorized to discuss the program publicly.
Panetta has launched an internal probe at the CIA to determine why Congress was not told about the program. Exactly what the classified program entailed is still unclear.
The intelligence official said the program was “on-again/off-again” and that it was never fully operational, but he would not provide details.
Schakowsky, D-Ill., said Friday that the CIA and Bush administration consciously decided not to tell Congress.
“It’s not as if this was an oversight and over the years it just got buried. There was a decision under several directors of the CIA and administration not to tell the Congress,” she said.