Panetta: CIA Will Pay Grillers' Legal Bills

Director won't let his people go broke over Holder probe

Friday, Aug 28, 2009  |  Updated 12:45 PM EDT
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Panetta: CIA Will Pay Grillers' Legal Bills

CIA Director Leon Panetta says the agency will pay the legal fees incurred by interrogators swept up in the Obama Administration's probe of terror questioning.

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CIA Director Leon Panetta, who reportedly got into a shouting match with senior White House officials over the administration's decision to investigate the agency's terrorist interrogators, will make sure his people don't get stuck with huge legal bills if they are prosecuted.

Attorney General Eric Holder appointed a special prosecutor to probe potentially illegal tactics used by CIA grillers in questioning terror suspects. The tactics reportedly included tricking prisoners into thinking their comrades had been executed and threatening their families. While some CIA officers have personal liability insurance that would pay out in the case of a lawsuit or criminal charges, but other don't.

"Panetta will do everything he can to ensure that anyone who needs legal representation has it," a source told the Washington Post. "It's a questionof fairnness. People who did tough jobs for this country won't be left by the sideof the road."

President Obama in April told senior CIA officials that the administration would not prosecute or investigate agency personnel in the wake of disclosure of Justice Department memos that first outlined harsh interrogation techniques.

In announcing Durham's inquiry on Monday, Holder said CIA officers "need to be protected from legal jeopardy when they act in good faith and within the scope of legal guidance."
 

Get more: The Washington Post

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