Feinstein: Cheney told CIA not to brief Congress

Former Vice President Dick Cheney told the CIA not to brief Congress on a classified CIA program, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Sunday.

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Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence panel, said Cheney’s decision to order the CIA not to brief Congress was a “big problem” and that Congress should have been told about what she said was a sensitive program.

“I think you weaken your case when you go outside the law,” Feinstein said on "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace." If the appropriate committees had been informed, Congress could have made judgments about whether the program was working, she said.

“That was not the case because we were kept in the dark. That’s something that should never, ever happen again,” she said.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) also said Congress should have been told of the program, but he criticized Democrats for trying to “out” Cheney as responsible.

“Thus unfortunately sounds like a new theme where they still want to blame the Bush administration for the economy and other things,” Cornyn said.

CIA Director Leon Panetta informed the intelligence committees of the program on June 24, and said he was canceling the program, Feinstein said.