WASHINGTON (CN) – CIA Director Michael Hayden is investigating CIA Inspector General John Helgerson because Helgerson did his job too well, and insisted that CIA officials be held to account for their actions before and after Sept. 11, 2001, the James Madison Project claims in a FOIA demand for documents about the CIA’s decision to investigate its investigator.
Helgerson has been CIA inspector general since April 26, 2002. “Mr. Helgerson has led numerous internal investigations into controversial programs that began in the aftermath and as a result of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, including such high-profile programs as the CIA’s detention and interrogation of terrorist suspects. Mr. Helgerson also conducted an investigation in the CIA’s actions prior to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, resulting in a report which recommended ‘accountability boards’ to consider disciplinary action against a handful of senior officials,” the federal complaint states. This led to “bitter resentment on the part of certain CIA operatives and officials towards the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) in general and Mr. Helgerson in particular,” it states.
The plaintiff, a nonprofit watchdog, claims that on Oct. 12, 2007, the CIA confirmed that Hayden “had authorized an internal investigation into the operations of the CIA’s OIG, specifically focusing on the conduct of Mr. Helgerson. The basis of the review is to address complaint that the OIG’s investigations have not consisted of a fair and impartial review but rather as a ‘crusade’ against CIA officials involved in controversial programs.”
The plaintiff claims “the CIA’s stated basis for and characterization of the internal investigation is both misleading and inaccurate.” It claims “the commencement of such an investigation poses a conflict of interest and threatens to undermine the independence of the OIG.” It claims “Director Hayden lacks the authority to initiate an internal investigation designed to address complaints against both the OIG as a whole and Mr. Helgerson in particular.”
Allegations of misconduct by the inspector general must be referred to the Integrity Committee of the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency, and Hayden has not done that, the Project claims. Six months ago, the plaintiff demanded “copies of all internal CIA documents pertaining to discussions concerning the decision to initiate an internal review of the operations of Mr. Helgerson, and of the OIG as a while,” and the CIA has stonewalled, the Project claims. It wants to see the documents. It is represented by Mark Zaid.