Posts Tagged ‘Central Intelligence Agency’

Get the Data: Obama’s terror drones

February 6, 2012

 by , Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Feb 4, 2012 

The remains of a house destroyed by a CIA drone strike in Waziristan / Noor Behram

The remains of a house destroyed in a CIA drone strike in Waziristan, April 2009 (Noor Behram)

As part of its ongoing investigation into the US covert war the Bureau has examined thousands of credible media reports relating to more than 310 Central Intelligence Agency drone strikes in Pakistan.

These incidents were reported by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, CNN, ABC News, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, the BBC, Al Jazeera, and reputable Pakistani media (see bottom table).

CIA drone strikes tend to be reported on a case-by-case basis. Yet it became clear to the Bureau that a number of specific tactics were being deployed. These included multiple attacks by drones on rescuers attempting to aid victims of previous strikes. There were also a number of credible reports of funerals and mourners being attacked by CIA drones.

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CIA refuses to release torture probe documents

September 3, 2009

Middle East Online, Sep 3, 2009

Documents show ‘assistance provided by certain foreign governments’

US spy agency says further documents too sensitive to release amid public shock in America.

WASHINGTON – The CIA has refused to release further documents related to its controversial suspect rendition, detention and interrogation programs.

In a 33-page court statement made public on Tuesday, the Central Intelligence Agency said the documents contained sensitive information “that implicates intelligence activities, sources and methods, and information relating to the foreign relations and activities of the United States.”

Last month the Department of Justice revealed details of a report by a CIA inspector general that outlined methods used during interrogations of suspects  during the presidency of George W. Bush, including threats of rape of family members of detainees and murdering their children.

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CIA Said to Use Outsiders to Put Bombs on Drones

August 21, 2009
by James Rizen and Mark Mazzetti | The New York Times, Aug 21, 2009

WASHINGTON — From a secret division at its North Carolina headquarters, the company formerly known as Blackwater has assumed a role in Washington’s most important counterterrorism program: the use of remotely piloted drones to kill Al Qaeda’s leaders, according to government officials and current and former employees.

The division’s operations are carried out at hidden bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the company’s contractors assemble and load Hellfire missiles and 500-pound laser-guided bombs on remotely piloted Predator aircraft, work previously performed by employees of the Central Intelligence Agency. They also provide security at the covert bases, the officials said.

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CIA: We Lied to Congress

July 11, 2009

John Nichols | The Nation, July 9, 2009

In May, at a point when congressional Republicans and their amen corner in the media were attempting to defend the Bush-Cheney administration’s torture regime, their primary defense was: Pelosi knew.

The spin held that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as a member of the House Intelligence Committee, had in 2002 been secretly briefed about the use of harsh interrogation techniques on terror suspects.

Pelosi said the Central Intelligence Agency had failed to inform her about the character and extent of the harsh interrogations.

Pelosi accused the CIA of “misleading the Congress of the United States.”

Republican senators screamed.

“It’s outrageous that a member of Congress should call a terror-fighter a liar,” howled Missouri Senator Kit Bond, the vice chair of the Senate intelligence committee. “It seems the playbook is, blame terror-fighters. We ought to be supporting them.”

CIA officials denied lying to Congress and the American people, and that seemed to be that. “Let me be clear: It is not our practice or policy to mislead Congress,” said CIA Director Leon Panetta. That is against our laws and values.”

But, now, we learn that, in late June, Panetta admitted in secret testimony to Congress that the agency had concealed information and misled lawmakers repeatedly since 2001.

Some of the details of Panetta’s testimony are contained in a letter from seven House Democrats to Panetta that was released Wednesday morning.

In the letter, the members (Anna Eshoo of California, Alcee Hastings of Florida, Rush Holt of New Jersey, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, Adam Smith of Washington, Mike Thompson of California and John Tierney of Massachusetts) wrote: “Recently you testified that you have determined that top CIA officials have concealed significant actions from all members of Congress, and misled members for a number of years from 2001 to this week.”

The letter continued: “In light of your testimony, we ask that you publicly correct your statement of May 15, 2009.”

Pelosi’s critics are claiming that Panetta’s admission does not resolve the debate about whether the speaker was lied to in briefings about harsh interrogations.

What does the CIA say?

That’s where things seem to get confusing — but, as we’ll see, not too confusing.

Panetta “stands by his May 15 statement,” CIA spokesman George Little claimed after the letter from the House members was released.

The problem is that Little also said: “This agency and this director believe it is vital to keep the Congress fully and currently informed. Director Panetta’s actions back that up. As the letter from these … representatives notes, it was the CIA itself that took the initiative to notify the oversight committees.”

So, officially, CIA director Panetta stands by his statement that: “It is not our practice or policy to mislead Congress.”


Panetta’s spokesman is seemingly rather proud that “it was the CIA itself that took the initiative to notify the oversight committees” that the agency had in the words of the House members “misled members for a number of years from 2001.”

Can we reconcile these statements?


Panetta, who has only headed the CIA since February of this year says that “it is not our practice or policy to mislead Congress.”

But he tells Congress that it was in fact the consistent practice of the CIA to lie to Congress during the Bush-Cheney years.

So what are we left with?

Perhaps a measure of vindication for Pelosi, but the speaker’s wrangling with the Republicans is a distraction from the fundamental revelation.

Far more important is Panetta’s reported admission that his agency has “concealed significant actions” and “misled members of Congress.”

No matter what anyone thinks of Pelosi or waterboarding, there is a clear case for dramatically expanding congressional oversight of the CIA. Of course, more House and Senate members should have access to briefings — and should have the authority to hold CIA officials (and their White House overseers) to account for deliberate deceptions. But that ought not be the first response to the latest news.

Step one must be to get to the bottom of exactly what the CIA was lying about.

Did it have anything to do with the case for invading and occupying Iraq? Afghanistan? Torture?

CIA defenders will claim that some secrets must be kept. Perhaps. But the Congress and the American people have a right to know the broad outlines of the deception — and the extent to which it may have warped, and may continue to warp, U.S. policy.

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