WASHINGTON – Former Vice President Dick Cheney directed the CIA eight years ago not to inform Congress about a nascent counterterrorism program that CIA Director Leon Panetta terminated in June, officials said Saturday.
Subsequent CIA directors did not inform Congress because the intelligence-gathering effort had not developed to the point that they believed merited a congressional briefing, said a former intelligence official and another government official familiar with Panetta’s June 24 briefing to the House and Senate intelligence committees.
Upon learning of the program June 23 from within the CIA, Panetta terminated it.
Exactly what the counterterrorism program was meant to do remains a mystery. The former intelligence official said it was not related to the CIA’s rendition, interrogation and detention program. Nor was it part of a classified electronic surveillance program that was the subject of a government report to Congress this past week.