WASHINGTON -- A congressional investigation of the intelligence failures surrounding the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has been thrown off course by the sudden resignation of a former CIA official hired to lead the inquiry but criticized for being too cozy with his former employer.
L. Britt Snider, former inspector general at the CIA, resigned under pressure Friday, less than three months into a high-stakes probe designed to determine why the nation's spy agencies failed to pick up any warning of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
Snider's departure derails the inquiry at a time when investigators are already poring through piles of intelligence agency documents and planning a heavy summer schedule of congressional hearings. Snider's resignation throws that schedule into doubt, and could be followed by additional departures, congressional sources said.
Ranking members of the House and Senate Intelligence committees declined to comment on Snider's resignation, citing the confidentiality of personnel matters. Snider did not return calls to his Virginia residence.
But congressional sources confirmed that Snider was forced out amid growing concerns with his management of the investigation, ranging from the tone of his leadership to his decisions on personnel.
Several sources said Snider's resignation was sparked by troubling questions that surfaced in recent weeks about whether one or more of his hires lacked proper security clearances to view classified material.
There were also complaints about Snider's perceived reluctance to cause trouble for his former colleagues at the CIA. One aide cited "concerns over whether or not he had the aggressiveness to get this thing done."
Several members expressed hope that the disruption caused by Snider's departure would be minimal.
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