By Melvin A. Goodman
Sept. 2nd, 2009
President Barack Obama is permitting CIA Director Leon Panetta to weaken the Agency’s Office of Inspector General (OIG). The OIG has produced the only official and authoritative study of the abuses of the CIA detentions and interrogations program; it also has published seminal studies of the CIA’s involvement in the shoot down of a missionary plane in Peru in 2001 (and the subsequent cover-up of its role) as well as the controversial 9/11 accountability study.
These reports angered senior CIA managers and led to efforts by three successive directors (George Tenet, Porter Goss, and General Michael Hayden) to restrict the investigative work of the office. Panetta is continuing the campaign they began. Although John Helgerson, the inspector general who produced these reports, announced his retirement seven months ago, Panetta and the White House have not named a replacement. They clearly prefer that the OIG remain without the strong leadership it requires to pursue difficult investigations in the face of management resistance.