Reports: Cheney told CIA not to inform Congress

Former Vice President Dick Cheney ordered the CIA not to inform Congress about a secret counterterrorism program for eight years, according to separate media reports on Saturday.

Subsequent CIA officials determined the program had not gone forward enough to merit telling members of Congress, the Associated Press reported. Cheney’s involvement was first reported by The New York Times.

Democrats on the House Intelligence panel this week said President Obama’s CIA Director, Leon Panetta, told them in a briefing that Congress had not been told of the program. The AP reported that Panetta determined the other CIA officials had made a mistake in not alerting Congress.

The latest revelations make it likely lawmakers will continue to deal with the battle over what intelligence officials have told the congressional panels with oversight over their activities when Congress returns to Washington next week. The issue has become a distraction for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who repeatedly has been hit with questions over the briefings.

Pelosi in May said the CIA had lied to her about its use of waterboarding. Republicans have disputed Pelosi’s statements, arguing she knew of the CIA’s use of waterboarding but did not speak out at the time.  

News of the briefing broke after several Democrats on the Intelligence panel made public a letter to Panetta asking him to  make it clear that the CIA had misled members of Congress by not telling them of intelligence programs.

It’s not clear what was involved in the program Panetta told lawmakers about.