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Tue July 14, 2009
NM Senators Want Information on Former VP's CIA Interrogation Program
By Jim Williams
Santa Fe, NM – New Mexico's two U-S Senators say they want to know more about former Vice President Dick Cheney's guidance that the C.I.A not tell Congress about a secret operation to capture and kill members of al Qaeda. C.I.A Director Leon Panetta has reportedly acknowledged it was Cheney who made the decision not to inform the eight members of House and Senate intelligence committees on the issue.
Senator Tom Udall told KUNM Tuesday he finds that unacceptable.
"Nobody should be above the law. It's the law that they should brief the eight members of Congress on these kinds of issues. And I I think it's beyond the pale that we've gotten to the point where for a long period of time a program existed and the CIA director did not brief the Congress as required by law."
Senator Jeff Bingaman said he wasn't surprised to hear reports that Cheney was behind keeping the program from Congress.
"Uh, I think we're still trying to get enough facts to make a judgment on, on exactly what the program was that the vice president was trying to be sure the Congress didn't know about. But I'm sure that will come to light here in the coming weeks."
It's not clear whether Congress will investigate the secret program and Cheney's move to keep it from the House and Senate. There are reports that the C.I.A has opened an internal investigation of its own on the matter. And Attorney General Eric Holder is said to be considering appointing a prosecutor to pursue people involved in harsh interrogation techniques during the Bush Administration. The Obama Administration cancelled the policy earlier this year.