Ex-Spy to Congress: Back Off and Let the CIA Do Its Job

By Mat Probasco,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 13, 2009 2:32 AM CDT
CIA Director Leon Panetta.   (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
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(Newser) – Mounting animosity between Congress and the CIA has seriously damaged morale at the agency and could damage national security, critics are charging. "It's one of the last nails in the CIA's coffin. It's finished. It's over. It's done," former Middle East operative Robert Baer, who was the model for George Clooney's role in the film Syriana, tells ABC. "You have people running for the doors there, and it's going to hurt our national security."

Congressional criticism shows little sign of abating, with Attorney General Eric Holder now likely to launch a criminal investigation into Bush-era interrogation techniques. GOP Texas Rep. Pete Sessions warns that such probes could go too far and "cause us to not have that critical bit of intelligence that could protect this country." But one counterterrorism official counters: "There's absolutely no reason to believe that congressional oversight will lead to terrorist attacks."