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Two former CIA officers interviewed for this article said the agency was concerned that the assistant U.S attorney leading the investigation, John Durham, would prosecute officers for following the OLC memos even though Mr. Holder said he would not, and that the investigation also undermined the CIA’s own internal process for disciplining its officers.

Mr. Durham was tasked in 2008 with investigating the CIA’s destruction of videotapes of the waterboarding of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the man widely considered the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.

“I have met with CIA folks in 10 to 12 stations in the last few months,” Mr. Hoekstra said. “For them it’s real. Why is the review taking so long? Why is Holder not saying anything? It is having a chilling effect.”

If Republicans win the majority of House seats, the two leading Republican candidates for the chairmanship of the House intelligence committee would be Reps. Mike Rogers of Michigan and William M. “Mac” Thornberry of Texas. Both have questioned the prospect of prosecuting CIA officers, but neither agreed to be interviewed for this report.