In a report that’s sure to surprise absolutely nobody, The New York Times revealed on Saturday that former Vice President Dick Cheney explicitly ordered the Central Intelligence Agency to keep a “counterterrorism program”—of an as-yet-unknown nature—secret from Congress. The program reportedly existed for eight years.
The New York Times:
The report that Mr. Cheney was behind the decision to conceal the still-unidentified program from Congress deepened the mystery surrounding it, suggesting that the Bush administration had put a high priority on the program and its secrecy.
Mr. Panetta, who ended the program when he first learned of its existence from subordinates on June 23, briefed the two intelligence committees about it in separate closed sessions the next day.
Efforts to reach Mr. Cheney through relatives and associates were unsuccessful.
[...] The law requires the president to make sure the intelligence committees “are kept fully and currently informed of the intelligence activities of the United States, including any significant anticipated intelligence activity.” But the language of the statute, the amended National Security Act of 1947, leaves some leeway for judgment, saying such briefings should be done “to the extent consistent with due regard for the protection from unauthorized disclosure of classified information relating to sensitive intelligence sources and methods or other exceptionally sensitive matters.”