21 Sep 2009

Obama refuses to halt CIA inquiry

8:16 am on 21 September 2009

United States President Barack Obama has rejected an appeal from seven former directors of the CIA to abandon an investigation into complaints of prisoner abuses under the Bush administration.

The former chiefs had argued in a letter that the inquiry risked discouraging CIA officers from undertaking the kind of aggressive intelligence work needed to fight terrorism.

They served under Republican and Democratic presidents.

In an interview with CBS TV on Sunday, Mr Obama said "nobody's above the law".

The BBC reports he made it clear he would not intervene in the judicial process, saying it was important to examine the accusations.

The seven former directors also warned that foreign governments could be hesitant to co-operate with the US if the inquiry continues.

Current CIA Director Leon Panetta was not a signatory to the letter, but he also opposes the investigation.