CIA Increases Legal Liability Insurance

Preparations begin for the end of the Bush administration.

From the AP:

The CIA announced Monday that it will now pay the full cost of legal liability insurance for about two-thirds of the agency workforce….

One shift is already looming: A change in administrations could make it more likely lawsuits will be filed against CIA interrogators for a controversial program approved by the Bush White House — the use of harsh interrogation techniques and the secret movement of prisoners, known as extraordinary rendition.

The insurance comes from private companies to cover legal expenses that arise out of actions undertaken in the course of a CIA officer’s official duties. It is meant to cover potential litigation expenses including damages. It covers legal expenses associated only with those activities undertaken after liability insurance is taken. The reimbursement program began in 2000.

Agency Director Michael Hayden on Monday announced that he had expanded the pool of those eligible to be reimbursed for insurance to include all employees involved in covert activities, not just those involved in counterterrorism and counterproliferation.

As the president of one of the companies that provides the insurance to CIA agents and other government officials put it, “The things that help us are any negative events related to the federal government, and there have been plenty.”