Thursday, October 06, 2005

CIA agents exempted from punishment for 9/11 errors

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 (Xinhuanet) -- The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) will not hold any of its former and current members accountable for intelligence lapses related to the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the agency's chief said Wednesday.

"I will not convene an accountability board to judge the performances of any individual CIA officers," CIA Director Porter Goss said in a statement, noting there is no evidence that anyone could have had the chance to prevent the attacks.

By making the decision, he rejected recommendations of an internal audit report that calls for setting up an accountability board to examine the performance of some CIA officers assigned to track down the al-Qaeda before the 2001 attacks.

Goss said his decision has been approved by his boss, US intelligence chief John Negroponte.

Half of those named in the report have retired from the agency and those remained in office are "amongst the finest we have," he stressed.

The classified report was presented to the US Congress in September and prompted demands from lawmakers for a public version.

Goss indicated he will not make much of the document public, saying it is not the time to reveal how intelligence is collected and analyzed. Enditem

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