The House Intelligence Committee will investigate whether the CIA acted illegally by keeping Congress in the dark about plans for a secret assassination program, the committee's chairman announced today.

House leaders learned about the program in late June, when CIA Director Leon Panetta personally briefed them. Panetta had learned about the program just one day earlier.

"After careful consideration and consultation with the Ranking Minority Member and other members of the Committee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence will conduct an investigation into possible violations of federal law, including the National Security Act of 1947," Rep. Silvestre Reyes (D-Tex.), the committee chairman, said in a statement.

The plan to assassinate top Al Qaeda leaders was shut down by then-CIA Director George Tenet in 2004, but re-activated by his successors. Leon Panetta once again cancelled the program the day he learned about it.