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CIA gets a new watchdog

Being inspector general at the CIA is no path to popularity.

The last permanent IG, John Helgerson, spent much of his tenure sparring with the agency over an array of politically charged subjects, including the CIA's now-shuttered interrogation program. Helgerson documented disturbing abuses, including the use of a power drill to frighten a blindfolded prisoner, as well as alarming statistics on how many times certain prisoners had been water-boarded.

The inquiries became so contentious that then-CIA Director Michael V. Hayden ordered up an inspection of the inspector general himself.

The job has been held by an interim candidate for more than a year. But the agency has finally announced that a new IG has been sworn in.

David B. Buckley served as minority staff director on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence from 2005 to 2007. He was previously an intelligence officer in the Air Force, and most recently worked as a Pentagon consultant.

Buckley steps into the job at a time when the CIA's largest covert action program - the use of drones to carry out targeted killings -- is expanding rapidly and being challenged in court.

During his confirmation hearing last week, Buckley, 52, pledged to review that program and others, saying, "yes, I think it's fair game."

By Greg Miller  | October 7, 2010; 2:01 PM ET
 
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