CIA Lawyer Robert Eatinger Is No Stranger to Controversy
WASHINGTON — This is not Robert Eatinger’s first run through a full-blown CIA controversy. But it’s his most public ordeal.
For most of his career, few outside the world of espionage knew of Eatinger, 56, who has spent 22 years moving up the ranks to become the CIA’s top lawyer. But in a scathing speech Tuesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, accused him of trying to impede a Senate investigation into a notorious CIA detention and interrogation program that Eatinger had helped manage.
The California Democrat didn’t name him, but his identity is a matter of public record. Feinstein made clear she was furious that Eatinger had referred the conduct of Senate staffers to the FBI for a possible criminal investigation, given that he is mentioned 1,600 times — often unfavorably — in a sharply critical intelligence committee report that is at the heart of the dispute.
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“I view the acting general counsel’s referral as a potential effort to intimidate this staff, and I am not taking it lightly,” Feinstein said.