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7 ex-CIA chiefs ask Obama to abort Holder's probe

September 18, 2009 |  5:24 pm

CIA Lobby

Warning that the new Justice Dept. probe into past CIA activities will "create an atmosphere of continuous jeopardy," seven men who've run the intelligence agency under presidents of both parties over the past 35 years called today for President Obama to abort the investigation.

The Democrat has said he wants to look to the future. But he's not stopped his attorney general, Eric Holder, from proceeding with the announcement last month that he would appoint a special investigator to examine nearly 10 cases of possible interrogation abuse by intelligence employees or contractors operating under guidelines approved by the previous Republican administration of George W. Bush.

Those cases have already been rejected for prosecution by federal authorities.

The former intelligence chiefs wrote: "If criminal investigations closed by career prosecutors during one administration can so easily be reopened at the direction of political appointees in the next, declinations of prosecution will be rendered meaningless."

The seven former directors are John Deutch, Porter Goss, Michael Hayden, James Schlesinger, George Tenet, William Webster and James Woolsey.

They expressed concern that fears of such future probes by an administration of a different party would compromise not only the aggressive interrogation necessary to combat terrorism but the cooperation of foreign governments.

A spokesman for current CIA chief Leon Panetta said he was focused on today and tomorrow, not the past.

A spokesman for Holder indicated no change in plans and said the Democratic appointee of Obama's was confident the investigations would not affect current employees' work.

The White House had no immediate comment.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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