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The CIA OIG Report on Enhanced Interrogations and Congressional Briefings

            The May 7, 2004 CIA Inspector General Report on enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) and related activities, released yesterday, contains the following references to congressional briefings (on pages 23-24 of the report):

 

“In the fall of 2002, the Agency briefed the leadership of the Congressional Intelligence Oversight Committees on the use of both standard techniques and EITs.” 

“In early 2003, CIA officials, at the urging of the General Counsel, continued to inform senior Administration officials and the leadership of the Congressional Oversight Committees of the then-current status of the CTC Program.  The Agency specifically wanted to ensure that these officials and the Committees continued to be aware of and approve CIA’s actions.” 

“Representatives of the DO, in the presence of the Director of Congressional Affairs and the General Counsel, continued to brief the leadership of the Intelligence Oversight Committees on the use of EITs and detentions in February and March 2003.  The General Counsel says that none of the participants expressed any concern about the techniques or the Program.”   (emphasis added) 

“According to OGC, . . . the Intelligence Committee leadership was briefed again in September 2003.  Again, according to OGC, none of those involved in these briefings expressed any reservations about the program.” 

            These passages appear to be broadly consistent with previous CIA statements regarding the timing and content of congressional briefings on EITs.  Speaker Pelosi, who attended the fall 2002 briefing, has acknowledged that she was told at that briefing of the existence of legal opinions allowing the use of EITs, including waterboarding, but has denied that the CIA informed her at that time that EITs had already been used.  The OIG report does not specifically address this point, although it states that the Intelligence Committees were informed of the “use” of EITs in fall 2002, and that implies that the Committees were aware of and approved this use. 

            The report also states, however, that the General Counsel of the CIA (Scott Muller) told investigators that “none of the participants [in the February and March 2003 briefings] expressed any concerns about the techniques or the Program.”  This appears to be flatly false, as Representative Harman wrote Muller immediately after her briefing in February 2003 to express her concerns about the program.   

            It is interesting to note that the IG briefed Representatives Goss and Harman on the findings of this report on July 13, 2004.  If the IG was previously unaware of Harman’s concerns, one would expect that the subject would have arisen at that briefing.  One would also expect that the IG would have been interested in the extent to which Members of Congress were actually aware of the use of EITs, as suggested in the report.  The absence of any IG followup on these issues, if that is the case, seems surprising. 

            It is also worth noting that Scott Muller resigned from the CIA in July 2004. 

 

             

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