CIA Director Leon Panetta yesterday told employees of the spy agency that private contractors will no longer be permitted to interrogate suspected terrorists and that the agency will close down what remains of its secret network of detention centers.
In an e-mail, Panetta said he had notified the Senate and House intelligence committees that private contractors would no longer question "captured terrorists."
His decision follows expressions of concern by some lawmakers about the CIA's use of contract interrogators, one of whom was convicted in 2006 of abusing an Afghan detainee in 2003 at a remote U.S. base in Afghanistan. The detainee later died.
Panetta said the CIA has "proposed a plan to decommission the remaining sites" where the Bush administration held dozens of suspected terrorists after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
No prisoners are now housed there but private security companies still guard the facilities, he said.