Letter dated 12 June 2009 from CIA director Panetta to Dianne Feinstein. Photograph: CIA
An earlier accord, dated 28 May, also referred to establishing a share-drive[ that] can be segregated with only SSCI access and walled-off CIA IT administrators, except as otherwise authorized by SSCI. That document was titled Memorandum of Understanding Senate Select Committee on Intelligences Review of CIAs Detention and Interrogation Program something agency reviews would later claim, as controversy over the inquiry reached a crisis point, did not exist.
Ironically for an bureau whose fears were premised on security breaches , now it had to hire IT contractors to set up the network for the committee staff. Documents did not actually arrive until 22 June, and then, the latter are maddeningly difficult to search through, as the agency insisted on using an overshadow and not awfully functional search tool. The faculty the CIA posted to liaise with the investigators were openly hostile, Jones told, and dragged their feet on responding to Joness concerns.
Then the CIA was hit by what seemed like a bombshell. In August 2009, US attorney general Eric Holder expanded the remit of the prosecutor looking at the tapes extermination, John Durham, to include the torture program, much as the Senate committee had. The justice departments new mandate was not as broad as the Senate. It would only concern itself with torturing that surpassed the boundaries defined for the CIA by the Bush-era justice department. Still, for all of Obamas emphasis on looking forward and not backward , now the CIA had to face its greatest anxiety since launching the torture program: possible prosecution.
Holders decision, ironically, would ultimately hinder the committee more than the CIA, and lead to a criticism that the agency would afterwards use as a cudgel against the Senate.
Typically, when the justice department and congressional inquiries coincide, the two will communicate in order to deconflict their tasks and their access. In the case of the dual torture investigations, it should have been easy: Durhams team accessed CIA documents in the exact same building that Joness team did.
But every effort Jones made to talk with Durham failed. Even later, he refused to meet with us, Jones said.
Through a spokesman, Durham, an deputy US attorney in Connecticut, declined to be interviewed for this story.
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