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The ranking members of the House Intelligence Committee have asked the CIA (news – web sites) to turn over an internal report on whether agency employees should be held accountable for intelligence failures leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks, congressional officials said Tuesday.
The CIA so far hasn’t responded to the request, raising concerns among some Democrats in Congress that the report is being withheld to avoid political embarrassment for the Bush administration in the final weeks before the presidential election.
A U.S. intelligence official said Tuesday that the document has not been provided to Congress because it is not yet complete. “The report is just a draft,” said the official, who requested anonymity. “It’s not yet finished and the matter is still under review.” The official wouldn’t elaborate or discuss the contents of the report.
Congressional officials said mounting frustration with the agency prompted the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), and the ranking Democrat, Jane Harman of California, to send a letter to the CIA two weeks ago directing the agency to deliver the report.
Congressional officials said they were told that the CIA inspector general’s office had completed the report in July, but that it wouldn’t be turned over because of a request by then-acting CIA Director John McLaughlin for additional information on the report’s contents.
“The concern here is that this [delay] has gone from days to week to months,” said a senior congressional aide, who asked not to be identified. “We’re concerned that the work of the inspector general not be altered or censored or in any way precluded from coming over here.”
The ranking members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Pat Roberts (news, bio, voting record) (R-Kan.), and Sen. John Rockefeller (news, bio, voting record) (D-W.Va.), also have inquired about the report, but have not written a letter asking for it, aides said.
The situation may pose a dilemma for the CIA’s new director, Porter Goss, who is now head of the agency he helped investigate when he was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
Goss, a former Republican congressman from Florida, was a principal member of the joint congressional inquiry into Sept. 11 intelligence failures.