The CIA has asked the Justice Department to investigate the disclosure of a secret program to kill foreign terrorist leaders abroad, The Washington Times reports.
CIA Director Leon Panetta told Congress in June that he had terminated a initiative planned in the aftermath of 9/11 to dispatch teams of assassins to target al Qaeda leaders. The program was never put into effect.
The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on the nature of the program, and The New York Times later added contour, revealing that CIA had collaborated with the security contractor Xe, formerly known as Blackwater.
The request comes at time when the CIA’s relationship with the Justice Department is under particular strain. Attorney General Eric Holder recently appointed a career prosecutor to review CIA interrogation methods, and he was a driving force behind the release of secret legal opinions and a CIA inspector general’s report detailing the interrogation program.
If the Justice Department takes the CIA up on its request, the pool of potential subjects would include members of the full House and Senate intelligence committees and senior staff.
The CIA and the Justice Department would not confirm or deny that a request had been made.