Page 2 of 2   <      

CIA Withheld Details On Downing, IG Says

Authorities inspect the plane that was mistakenly targeted in April 2001 by a Peruvian fighter pilot working with the CIA in a program to halt airborne drug smugglers.
Authorities inspect the plane that was mistakenly targeted in April 2001 by a Peruvian fighter pilot working with the CIA in a program to halt airborne drug smugglers. (By Silvia Izquierdo -- Associated Press)

Later, when asked by Justice officials and congressional overseers about the problems, CIA officials gave misleading accounts, the inspector general concluded. The agency had by late 2001 documented "sustained and significant violations . . . dating back to the first shoot-down," yet it failed to share its findings with Justice and congressional investigators, or with the White House National Security Council, the report said.

The Justice Department closed its investigation in 2005 without filing criminal charges against any of the CIA employees -- a decision Hoekstra supported at the time. But the Michigan Republican called yesterday for a new criminal probe as well as congressional hearings. "Americans deserve to know that agencies given power to operate on their behalf aren't abusing that power, or their trust," he said.

Hoekstra said he did not know how widely the problems were known within the upper ranks of the CIA's management. But he said he had personally presided over congressional hearings attended by CIA managers who knew the facts but did not speak up.

"CIA officials in front of my committee may have allowed incomplete or misleading statements to be made," he said.

Hayden, who was appointed CIA director in 2006, received a copy of the report in August and "recognized the seriousness" of the findings, agency spokesman Mark Mansfield said. Hayden is now "seeking input from a cleared outside expert -- one who knows the complex issues involved in an air interdiction program -- before making any decisions," he added. Among those reportedly advising Hayden was retired Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, the former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman.

"The CIA takes very seriously questions of responsibility and accountability. To suggest otherwise does a great disservice to those who work at the agency," Mansfield said.

A senior intelligence official familiar with the internal report said the classified version presented a more nuanced account of the actions of agency officers in Peru who, he said, were placed in a difficult position.

In addition, "there are numerous facts and circumstances not laid out in the IG report that would be relevant to any decisions that would be made," the official said.

Staff writer Carrie Johnson and staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.


<       2

© 2008 The Washington Post Company