Message from the Director: Senate Review of CIA Interrogation Program
Statement to Employees by Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Leon E. Panetta on the Senate Review of CIA's Interrogation Program
March 5, 2009
On a strong bipartisan basis, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence announced today that it will conduct a thorough review of CIA’s terrorist interrogation program. I have discussed this with the Chairman of the committee, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and the Vice Chairman, Senator Kit Bond. They assure me that this review is a way for the committee to assess lessons learned from the program while our government devises a new interrogation policy.
CIA will, as always, cooperate with Congress in its exercise of legitimate oversight. I understand that the intelligence committees have been briefed over the years on terrorist detention and interrogation. The requirement now is to pull that historical information together, as well as information that may not have been provided. As I have said publicly, what I will not support is an inquiry designed to punish those who acted in accord with guidance from the Department of Justice. Senators Feinstein and Bond have made it clear to me that this is not the goal of this review.
CIA is a highly professional, mission-driven organization. Our engagement with the Senate intelligence committee is important. Our work on counter-terrorism is decisive. We will keep our focus right where it belongs—on protecting the American people. The work you do is far too critical to accept anything less. I believe Congress, and the country at large, would agree.
Under this Administration, the guidelines for detention and interrogation have been made clear by the President’s Executive Order: we will adhere to the Army Field Manual for interrogation, close the detention facilities, and abide by the law as it stands. I am confident that, under these guidelines, this great Agency can do its job of defending the strength and safety of the nation. That responsibility is what brings all of us to CIA.
Leon E. Panetta