The CIA is reportedly going to unprecedented measures to halt its operatives from speaking to the press or Congress about its role in Benghazi, Libya. According to a CNN report, the agency is holding monthly polygraph tests and using intimidation with its operatives involved in Benghazi at the time of last year's September 11 attacks. Though little is known about what the agency was doing, the CIA is intent on silencing any information about its role. One source said:
"You have no idea the amount of pressure being brought to bear on anyone with knowledge of this operation."
While it was generally thought that the State Department was the only major American government presence in Libya, it has become clearer that the role of the CIA was much larger than initially assumed. Sources confirmed to CNN that there were dozens of CIA operatives in Benghazi (latest numbers indicate 21 out of the 35 Americans there at the time).
This CNN investigation, reported by Drew Griffin and Kathleen Johnston states that the CIA's measures to prevent any of its operatives from leaking information to the press or Congress is out of the ordinary. Operatives with knowledge about the CIA's work in Libya have been subjected to monthly polygraph exams. Usually, polygraphs are given once every three or four years. The sources say that the question focuses on whether any of the operatives are speaking to Congress or the media.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson for the CIA, Dean Boyd, issued a statement stressing the CIA's transparency with Congress:
"CIA employees are always free to speak to Congress if they want... The CIA enabled all officers involved in Benghazi the opportunity to meet with Congress. We are not aware of any CIA employee who has experienced retaliation, including any non-routine security procedures, or who has been prevented from sharing a concern with Congress about the Benghazi incident."
As to what the agency was doing in Libya, there are more questions than answers. Senator Rand Paul is leading a train that speculates that the U.S. agency was covertly assisting the movement of surface-to-air missiles from Libya, through Turkey, and over to Syrian rebels. Many Republicans have been publicly clear about their concern regarding a cover-up. Over 150 Republican members of Congress signed a formal request for information.
[CNN, images from AP]