On Monday, the Central Intelligence Agency announced that Inspector General David Buckley, who revealed that the agency had hacked into computers used by the Senate Intelligence Committee to investigate the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program, will resign on January 31, to “pursue an opportunity in the private sector.
According to Reuters, officials at both the CIA and on Capitol Hill claimed Buckley’s departure was “unrelated to politics or anything he had investigated.”
However, Christopher Anders, the senior legislative counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington D.C., called the timing of Buckley’s resignation unfortunate.
“The CIA inspector general is one of the few people who has tried to impose some accountability on the CIA at a time when the White House and many in Congress are failing to do their oversight jobs,” Anders said.
The executive director of the Project on Government Oversight, Danielle Brian, agreed about the ill-timed departure, and said during his time as inspector general, Buckley “raised some serious concerns about the conduct of the CIA in trying to thwart the Senate Intelligence Committee.”
“The lack of repercussions is very troubling and his departure so soon afterwards is troublesome,” Brian said.
Reuters reported that Buckley’s “most public action as CIA inspector general” occurred last July when he issued a report on the dispute between CIA director John Brennan and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Brennan had complained that Feinstein “acted in a manner inconsistent” with the understanding between the CIA and the committee, in order to access a “special computer network set up to share documents about the agency’s involvement in harsh treatment of detained militants.”
According to the National Journal, the release of Buckley’s report “represented a stunning rebuke of the CIA and Director Brennan, who had emphatically denied allegations” from Senator Feinstein that the agency had “accessed her panel’s computers in order to remove certain documents.”
Feinstein commended Buckley for serving with “distinction and integrity” during his four years as inspector general for the CIA. “It is critically important to have a strong, independent inspector general at the CIA due to the nature of the work done there,” said Feinstein. “Mr. Buckley filled the role admirably.”
Brennan released a statement, saying that Buckley’s resignation was planned, and that he was leaving the agency on good terms.
“David has served the CIA and the American public as our inspector general for more than four years,” said Brennan. “Throughout his tenure, he has demonstrated independence, integrity, and sound judgment in promoting efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability at CIA.”