August 27, 2009 |
The Justice Department prosecutor appointed this week to examine the CIA's interrogation program will revisit long-dormant abuse cases involving the agency's civilian contractors, bringing new attention to a little-known but controversial element of the Bush administration's war on terrorism. Civilian contractors used by the CIA at secret overseas facilities were accused of detainee abuses and deaths in a series of cases in the years following the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, but only one was ever prosecuted.
August 26, 2009 |
For months, former Vice President Dick Cheney has argued that the worth of the Bush administration's aggressive interrogation program was proved in two secret CIA memos that he urged be released. But those documents, and others that were finally unsealed Monday, are at best inconclusive -- attesting that captured terrorism suspects provided crucial intelligence on Al Qaeda and its plans, but offering little to support the argument that harsh or abusive methods played a key role.
August 25, 2009 |
The Obama administration Monday set the country on a course to confront whether actions taken in the name of defending Americans instead crossed criminal lines. In simultaneous moves, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. opened an investigation into whether CIA interrogators broke the law and the administration complied with a judge's order and released a long-secret CIA report that cataloged allegations of agency prisoner abuse. The administration also released memos sought in recent months by former Vice President Dick Cheney that he argued attest to the success of the CIA's controversial methods, but that appeared inconclusive in part because the agency had blacked out large portions of the memos.
August 21, 2009 |
The CIA's decision to hire contractors from Blackwater USA for a covert assassination program was part of an expanding relationship in which the agency has relied on the widely criticized firm for tasks including guarding CIA lockups and loading missiles on Predator aircraft, according to current and former U.S. government officials. The 2004 contract cemented what was then a burgeoning relationship with Blackwater, setting the stage for a series of departures by senior CIA officials who took high-level positions with the North Carolina security company.
August 20, 2009 |
The secret CIA program to assassinate top Al Qaeda leaders was outsourced in 2004 to Blackwater USA, the private security contractor whose operations in Iraq prompted intense scrutiny, according to two former intelligence officials familiar with the events. The North Carolina-based company was given operational responsibility for targeting suspected terrorist commanders and was awarded millions of dollars for training and weaponry, but the program was canceled before any missions were conducted, the two officials said.
August 9, 2009 |
U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. is poised to appoint a criminal prosecutor to investigate alleged CIA abuses committed during the interrogation of terrorism suspects, current and former U.S. government officials said. A senior Justice Department official said that Holder envisioned an inquiry that would be "narrow" in scope, focusing on "whether people went beyond the techniques that were authorized" in Bush administration memos that liberally interpreted anti-torture laws.
July 16, 2009 |
In movies, the CIA has so many prolifically lethal assassins roaming the world that the main problem often seems to be reining them in. But details that spilled out this week about a real CIA assassination program indicate that when the plotting is being done by spies instead of screenwriters, the obstacles are not so easy to surmount. According to current and former U.S.
July 12, 2009 |
Former CIA Director Michael V. Hayden angrily struck back Saturday at assertions that the Bush administration's post-9/11 surveillance program was more far-reaching than imagined and was largely concealed from congressional overseers. In an interview with the Associated Press, Hayden said that top members of Congress were kept well informed all along the way, notwithstanding protests from some that they were kept in the dark.
July 11, 2009 |
Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee triggered a political mystery this week when they leaked a letter disclosing that CIA Director Leon E. Panetta -- four months after taking office -- last month learned his agency had misled Congress about a special project. Panetta canceled the program, and he scheduled closed-door meetings with the House and Senate intelligence panels the next day to brief them. But what was the program? Early speculation focused on waterboarding.
June 9, 2009 |
CIA Director Leon Panetta told a federal judge Monday that releasing documents about the agency's terrorism interrogations would harm national security. Panetta sent an affidavit to New York federal judge Alvin Hellerstein, arguing that release of agency cables describing tough interrogation methods used on Al Qaeda suspects would tell the enemy too much. The CIA director filed the papers in a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.