House Republican takes aim at CIA 'secret prison' whistleblowers
The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee pressed Friday for an investigation of Central Intelligence Agency officers who allegedly supplied information to a European probe of the US intelligence community's system of 'black sites.'
"It is with some alarm that I read a recent report alleging that senior officers of the Central Intelligence Agency willingly, and outside authorized channels, participated in a foreign probe of alleged U.S. intelligence activities," wrote Rep. Pete Hoekstra, the top Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, in a letter to National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell. "[T]he allegation itself, and what it portends, is so startling that I believe it warrants further review by your office."
Hoekstra, who chaired the committee in the previous Congress, was referring to a July 17 report from Reuters, which reported on the findings of Dick Marty, the Swiss official who studied the participation of European states in the CIA's system of secret prisons.
Marty told the Council of Europe that "he had based his findings largely on conversations with 'high officials of the CIA (and) highly placed European office-holders, who for different reasons, often honorable reasons, were ready to explain what had happened.'"
The Washington Post's Dana Priest first revealed in late 2005 that the CIA was operating secret prisons in Eastern European countries, but the paper would not name the locations for reasons of national security. RAW STORY confirmed in a March 2007 report that one key secret prison was located in a Soviet-era compound in Poland. Another secret prison was reportedly located in Romania.
Hoekstra accused such whistleblowers of 'selling out' the United States.
"A policy disagreement is not an excuse to sell out your country," the Michigan Republican wrote in his letter. "The Intelligence Community has a whistleblower process that even includes coming to the congressional Intelligence committees, which no one has done with regard to this issue. With no consideration for national security, it seems some people may have gone to a foreign power instead."
The Ranking Republican also sought criminal charges to be filed against any CIA officer who spoke with Marty.
"If the allegations show merit, clearly a criminal referral to the Department of Justice is in order," he added.
Hoekstra also said if Marty's suggestions were false, McConnell should demand that the Council of Europe force its investigator to "immediately cease his spurious claims of CIA cooperation that threaten to tarnish the reputation of the hardworking men and women of the CIA."
Hoekstra's letter can be read at this link.